At the upcoming CCAR Convention, we will honor the class of 1965, those who have been CCAR members and served our movement for 50 years. In the weeks leading up to convention, we will share and celebrate the rabbinic visions and wisdom of these members of the class of 1965 and their 50 years in the rabbinate.
Upon ordination in 1965, I went to live in an ashram for two years where I studied, dreams, meditation and yoga. From there I went to Winnipeg where I became the founding rabbi of Temple Shalom. While in Winnipeg, to make ends meet, I had three jobs in addition to Temple Shalom – I taught classes at the Universities of Manitoba and North Dakota and worked as a prison chaplain for the various levels of correctional services. From Winnipeg I went to work for three years with the Government of Canada in Ottawa as a consultant in yoga, meditation and altered states of consciousness. From there I opened a practice in psychotherapy in Toronto, specializing in dreams, past-life regression and psychogenic illness. During my time in Toronto I began to write, mostly books and poetry I also took a part-time position with a small congregation, B’nai Shalom V’Tikvah where I continue to serve as their rabbi. I have recently become engaged to a beautiful woman.
In looking back over fifty years of joy and pain, I can’t help but feel like four lifetimes have been lived during these years. I have stumbled, I have grown and I like to think I have learned from my mistakes – not that this will keep me from making more, but hopefully they will be different. I still struggle, given a scientific background, to make a shidduch between science and religion in such a way that God is taken out of the abstract and made more concrete in the every day and in the every night. I like to think that Kabbalah has given me an answer by expressing God in terms of levels of consciousness and that it is my sacred task to expand my awareness into these dimensions. Upon reflection, it seems to me that I have been working on this most of my life and I see the end of my life as the beginning of a new phase.
I’m physically active, swimming, bicycling and curling (that northern sport). It’s an interfaith curling league and my rabbinical and cantorial colleagues are known as “The Frozen Chosen”.