Friday, July 04, 2008

Case Rabbi Gershon Winkler

Case Rabbi Gershon Winkler

Thousand Oak, CA
Walking Stick Foundation - Cuba, New Mexico

The Awareness Center wants to stress -- to the best of our knowledge there have never been any allegations made against Rabbi Gershon Winkler of molesting children or sexually abusing or assaulting any adult women. Rabbi Gershon Winkler is being posted on our web page under the category of "Other" and also "Enablers of Sex Offenders.

July 8, 2008 -- JTA published the article " Rabbi fights sexual allegations", which is about "defrocked" rabbi, Mordechai Gafni's most recent attempt at becoming a "spiritual leader". In the article Gershon Winkler "acknowledged that he fathered a child with a student, carried on several "intimate relationships" with students over the years and said he is currently in a relationship with two women."

Winkler went on to tell "JTA that he believes it is wrong to insist on an "across-the-board" ban on sexual relationships involving rabbis and followers, teachers and students, and counselors and patients."

According to the ethical codes of every rabbinical organization and also clergy of all major religions, it is considered unethical to have sexual relations with an individual in which there is an imbalance of power. The same can be said about the eithical codes of teachers, medical and mental health professionals.

Gershon Winkler has been accused of cult like practices.


Disclaimer: Inclusion in this website does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement. Individuals must decide for themselves if the resources meet their own personal needs.

Table of Contents:

Background on Rabbi Gershon Winkler
  1. Walking Stick Foundation
  2. Rabbi Gershon Winkler with Gafni follower - Rabbi Ezra Ohad (07/04/2008)
  3. Breach of Professional Trust: Sexual and Financial Ethicis (07/10/2008)

  1. Cowboy Rabbi  (05/29/1999) 
  2. Overcoming Walls You Never Built  (Summer -2000) 
  3. Rabbi Arthur Waskow on Gershon Winkler and the case of Rabbi Mordechai Gafni  (07/04/2008) 
  4. Rabbi fights sexual allegations (07/08/2008) 
  5. Cancelled - Rabbi Gershon and Miriam Winkler (07/11/2008) 

Also see:  
  1. Case of Rabbi Marc Gafni (AKA: Mordechai Gafni, Mordechai Winiarz)
  2. Case of Rabbi Michael Ozair
  3. Other Related Cases
  4. Alleged Enablers of Sex Offenders in Jewish Communities


Walking Stick Foundation: Jewish and Navie American Spirituality  - July 10, 2008

Walking Stick Foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt educational organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of aboriginal Jewish spirituality, occasionally sharing events with teachers indigenous to Native American and other earth-honoring traditions.

Gershon Winkler is a widely recognized scholar in the fields of Jewish law, lore, theology, and mysticism. A descendant of a scion of rabbis originating in Judea, Rabbi Winkler has devoted much of the past two decades to writing and teaching about the lesser-promulgated wisdoms of Judaism and to Hebraic scriptural interpretation. He has published fourteen books since 1980, four of which have seen several printings. His most recent works include: The Judeo-Christian Fiction, Kabbalah 365: Daily Fruit from the Tree of Life, and Magic of the Ordinary: Recovering the Shamanic in Judaism.

Gershon was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, and educated in Orthodox Jewish communities both in the United States and Israel. Ordained in Jerusalem by the late Rabbi Eliezer Benseon, Founder and Dean of Yeshivat Bet Yosef-Novoredok, Rabbi Winkler considers himself non-denominational and is a charismatic teacher whose lifestyle is as unconventional as is his mindset. His non-mainstream exploits have won him media recognition, including a Front Page feature in the Wall Street Journal, a segment on the PBS TV series Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, and detailed coverage in Israel's Ha'aretz, Chayyim Acherim Magazine, as well as The Jerusalem Post. A widely-sought teacher, he has lectured and served as Scholar-in-Residence at colleges and universities, and for ecumenical and Jewish retreats across North and Central America, Europe, and Israel. An expert interpreter of ancient and early-medieval Hebraic and Aramaic texts, Rabbi Winkler has been a guest teacher at Marywood University, Naropa University, Chochmat HaLev Center for Jewish Meditation, The New York Open Center, Rowe Conference Center, Elat Chayyim Jewish Spiritual Center, SEED Graduate Institute, Washington and Lee University, Limmud (UK and LA), State University of New York at Oneonta, Esalen Institute, and HaMakom Center for Jewish Spirituality in the Judean Desert, Israel.

Rabbi Winkler is also the founder and Executive Director of Walking Stick Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to the recovery of aboriginal Judaism. For eight years he served as the rabbi for Congregation Har Shalom in Missoula, Montana, and for just as long as itinerant rabbi for four Jewish communities across West Virginia, including the Hillel Foundation at West Virginia University and two federal prison camps, including the now-famous "Camp Cupcake" in Alderson, West Virginia. A father of four and grandfather of seven, Gershon has for more than 25 years balanced his public life as a renowned teacher with an anonymous home life nestled deep in remote wilderness regions across the U.S.


Rabbi Gershon Winkler with Gafni follower - Rabbi Ezra Ohad


LEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renwal Policy and Procedure regarding
Breach of Professional Trust: Sexual And Financial Ethics
ALEPH - (as of July 10, 2008)

Jewish clergy are called to be spiritual leaders and are expected to embody the highest ethical standards in both professional and personal lives. It is imperative that spiritual leaders, whether ordained or not, conduct themselves with honesty, morality, and integrity in all dealings with those whose lives they touch. While there are differences between the roles of lay leaders and ordained rabbis, between those who receive fees for their spiritual leadership and those who volunteer, between those who act as sole leader of a community and those who are part of a cadre of volunteers, certain basic ethical principles apply. Therefore, all spiritual leaders of ALEPH communities are expected to make a commitment to ethical professional conduct. Those who belong to OhaLaH are subject to its policies and procedures, on which this document is based. Other spiritual leaders — both those who are not ordained and ordained leaders who are not members of OhaLaH — who fail to maintain these standards will be subject to rebuke and revocation of individual ALEPH membership.

In areas of conduct where a particular behavior may not on its face be unethical yet may raise serious concerns, this policy requires caution and care. While those sections of the policy do not explicitly prohibit such behaviors, all leaders, lay and ordained, are asked to exhibit the same level of caution and care.

Ethical Guidelines
1. All spiritual leaders of ALEPH communities shall abide by the ALEPH Code of Ethics and 18 Principles, with special emphasis on creating safe environments in our synagogues, institutions, and Jewish communities ensuring the equality of men and women in all aspects of communal Jewish life.

2. All spiritual leaders of ALEPH communities shall be scrupulous in their financial dealings and shall be held fully accountable for all monies, other than their own private resources, over which they have access to and/or control as a rabbi, cantor or spiritual leader, in accordance with the highest values of Jewish ethical teachings.

3. Grounds for removal from ALEPH membership include: misuse of the spiritual and educational power of the rabbinate, cantorate or other spiritual leadership positions for illicit sexual, financial, or other personal advantage; conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude; fraudulent misrepresentation of professional credentials; or failure to fulfill contractual obligations in the absence of mitigating circumstances.

4. Members shall conduct their interpersonal relations in accordance with the Torah's teachings regarding kevod haberiyot, lashon hara, hasagat gevul, ladun lekhaf zechut, and teshuvah. In the clearest words, our Torah directs us: "You shall not steal; you shall not deal deceitfully or falsely with one another . . . Do not pervert justice. Do not give special consideration to the poor nor show respect to the great . . .You must love your neighbor as (you love) yourself." [Lev. 19:11,15,18]

1. All spiritual leaders of ALEPH communities must commit to act in an ethical manner consistent with the highest principles of Judaism, particularly towards their congregations, congregants, and colleagues. Consistent with that commitment, spiritual leaders of ALEPH communities must adhere to these principles and procedures to guide leaders, congregations and congregants who might confront ethical issues within the scope of this resolution.

2. The ethical principles contained in this resolution are intended: (1) to protect against abuse of rabbinic authority as well as abuse of authority of other spiritual leadership, and to prevent the appearance of such abuse; and (2) to preserve the integrity of the clergy-congregant relationship.

3. Abuse of Rabbinic or Other Spiritual Authority. By virtue of their titles and positions, clergy are invested with authority that entails a concomitant responsibility to avoid using such authority for personal gain -- financial or otherwise. Clergy's primary consideration at all times must be the interest of the congregant/constituent, congregation, agency, or institution engaging his/her services. This responsibility is part of a sacred covenant between God and the Jewish people. The exploitation of this spiritual authority for self-interest constitutes a breach of the trust implied in relations with congregants and other constituents.

4. Preservation of Clergy-Congregant Relationship. The spiritual leader-congregant relationship depends upon a mutual expectation that the relationship will remain primarily professional and pastoral. Effective spiritual leadership of necessity involves conveying empathy, connection, and warmth to congregants, which can sometimes blur clergy-congregant boundaries. We recognize the humanity of clergy and congregants, and the existence of unavoidable and difficult dilemmas in negotiating the relationship between spiritual leaders and congregants. Nonetheless, spiritual leaders are primarily responsible for establishing and preserving appropriate boundaries that ensure the integrity of the clergy-congregant relationship.

1. In this resolution, "congregation" may also refer to a havurah, school, Jewish organization, or other institution served professionally by a spiritual leader.

2. In this resolution, "congregant" may also include a student, counselee or layperson.

3. In this resolution, "married" also includes one in a partnered or committed relationship.

4. In this resolution, "clergy" includes rabbis, cantors, and other spiritual leaders.

1. The purpose of ethics procedures under this resolution is to determine whether a member acted unethically in his/her professional role. If so, what steps should be taken to respond to the situation?

2. These procedures are based on a concern with fairness and with the protection of the clergy person, the complainant, the congregation, and ALEPH and its members. Respect for all parties shall be shown.

3. Hearings and investigations are not criminal proceedings. They shall operate on principles of fairness, but are not bound by rules of criminal or civil courts, and not by halacha. They may be decided on the basis of the preponderance of evidence.

4. The confidentiality of all parties shall be preserved throughout the process unless they request otherwise except as specifically provided below.

5. The Chair of the Ethics Committee shall see that written records are kept at all stages of the proceedings.

6. Since the inquiry concerns the ethical and professional integrity of a spiritual leader and by implication ALEPH, proceedings shall not be vacated on the basis of the a spiritual leader resigning his/her position, reaching a financial settlement, or resignation from ALEPH.

7. No member of the Ethics Committee or the Board of Directors of ALEPH on appeal shall participate in any case in which she/he has a close relationship to one of the parties or other potential conflict of interest.

8. If the spiritual leader against whom a complaint has been brought refuses to respond or cooperate, the Hearing Committee appointed by the Ethics Committee will still proceed, bearing in mind the presumption of innocence and the other general principles in this section.

9. ALEPH undertakes to bear the costs of investigating a complaint, including those associated with the Hearing Committee visiting the affected community to gather information.

1. It is unethical to use funds of the congregation for personal financial gain without the knowledge and consent of the congregation. It is unethical to exploit a spiritual leader's relationship with a congregant, staff member, or colleague for personal financial gain.

2. It is unethical to misrepresent one's professional education, experience, or credentials.

3. As suggested by Section A, there can be other breaches of professional trust that are not enumerated in this resolution.

1. Spiritual leaders' behavior toward congregants that is intended to communicate caring can, on occasion, be misinterpreted by congregants as inappropriate blurring of clergy-congregant boundaries. Such behavior can significantly impair spiritual leaders-congregant relations and should be avoided where possible. Spiritual leaders are obliged to be especially sensitive to the danger of such misperception and to avoid behavior that could reasonably be misconstrued by a congregant. In particular, spiritual leaders should be sensitive to appropriate locations and hours for meetings, as well as appropriate and inappropriate physical contact and comments.

2. In the event that a congregant misinterprets a spiritual leader's concern as a romantic or sexual interest, it is the spiritual leader's responsibility to state unequivocally that such a relationship is not appropriate. In such a situation, the spiritual leaders is strongly urged to seek advice from colleagues and/or other professionals.

1. Sexual Harassment. It is unethical to engage in sexual or other harassment of a congregant, staff member, student, colleague or other person with whom a spiritual leader deals professionally. Sexual harassment is defined as, but not limited to, deliberate or repeated seductive speech, sexual comments, gestures, physical contacts, and inappropriate visual attention such as leering. It may include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

2. Unethical Sexual Activity. It is unethical for a spiritual leader to engage in, or attempt to engage in, sexual activity with a minor, an unwilling adult, a married or partnered congregant, or a congregant or other person whom a spiritual leader is counseling or aiding in life cycle events, conversion, or other pastoral situations. It is also unethical for a spiritual leader to engage in, or attempt to engage in, sexual activity with anyone who is similarly dependent on the spiritual leader. Such sexual relationships are unethical even if suggested or welcomed by the congregant. It is the responsibility of spiritual leaders to maintain appropriate boundaries. Sexual activity may include intimate or unwanted physical contact as well as intercourse.

3. Single Spiritual Leaders and Congregants. Although not automatically unethical, any sexual relationship between a single spiritual leader and a single congregant is fraught with risks for both parties and is illegal in some states. These risks include ambiguities about the perceived power of the clergy, the spiritual leader's ability to provide future pastoral care for the congregant, and the future of both parties in the congregation. A sexual relationship effectively ends the clergy-congregant or clergy-constituent relationship between the parties, and the spiritual leader is responsible in assisting the congregant/constituent in obtaining rabbinic or other spiritual leadership support elsewhere if necessary. Spiritual leaders in small or isolated communities should be especially aware that a problematic relationship may make it difficult for the congregant to stay in the synagogue and result in the congregant's loss of a significant Jewish connection. A sexual relationship between a single spiritual leader and a single congregant is potentially an ethical violation, and to be avoided where possible. Spiritual leaders are strongly urged to seek guidance from colleagues or other professionals before beginning such a relationship.

4. It is unethical to engage in sexual activity with an adult that is prohibited in paragraph F.2 within one year of the termination of a pastoral or other professional clerical relationship. There must be a full termination of relationship to help break the power imbalance and thus allow the potential of a healthy, mutual relationship to grow. This does not mean that any relationship after one year is automatically ethical, but that it will be assessed on a case-by- case basis. Some states and professional organizations prohibit relationships for longer periods following the termination of a professional relationship.

1. The Chair of ALEPH's Ethics Committee is the central person to receive complaints or initiate action under this resolution. The Chair of ALEPH's Board shall designate a vice-Chair or an alternate in case the Chair of the Ethics Committee is unavailable, or excuses him/herself due to conflict of interest or other extenuating circumstances.

2. The Ethics Committee may receive complaints from a congregant, congregational officer, rabbinic or cantorial association, affected party, other layperson, or colleague. Any member of the Ethics Committee may file a complaint, stating the reasonable grounds for further inquiry.

3. To be accepted by the Ethics Committee for investigation, a complaint must contain specific information about the approximate dates, location, and type of alleged misconduct. It is the responsibility of the Chair of the Ethics Committee to inform the complainant of the procedures and that the accused clergy person will be informed of the substance of the complaint.

4. The Chair of the Ethics Committee will assist any potential complainant in filing a complaint promptly. While there is no explicit time limit, the interests of fairness are better served when a complaint is presented within six months of an alleged violation.

5. The Chair, after consultation with at least one member of the Ethics Committee, will submit to the committee, in writing, his/her consideration whether there is a sufficient cause to investigate the complaint in more detail. This shall be submitted within two weeks of the complaint (paragraphs G.2). If the Chair determines that the case does not merit an inquiry, the other committee members will have two weeks to agree with this determination by a simple majority or if there is a majority disagreement, the committee shall proceed with a formal inquiry of the complaint. If it is determined that there is not sufficient cause the complainant shall be notified in writing.

6. In any case involving alleged abuse of a minor, the Chair shall immediately report the matter to the appropriate legal authorities.

7. If there is sufficient cause to investigate the complaint in more detail, within one month of the decision to investigate, the Chair of the Ethics Committee shall appoint a Hearing Committee of at least three to hear the allegation in person. At least one member of the committee shall be an ALEPH Board member. In allegations of sexual misconduct, at least one member shall be of each gender.

8. The Chair of the Ethics Committee shall offer to assist in finding a friend (chaver) or mentor to help the person and/or institution understand the procedure and offer support through the process. These friends (chavarim) or mentors should be made available to the alleged victim(s), congregation/institution, and support staff. A chaver or mentor may not be a member of the Ethics Committee or a member of ALEPH's Board of Directors. It is not intended that the chaver or mentor play an active role in the proceedings. In order to preclude this from occurring, the chaver or mentor will be asked not to speak during the proceedings.

9. As soon as possible, and no later than the appointment of a Hearing Committee, the accused spiritual leader shall be notified by certified mail of the complaint and asked to submit a written reply to the allegation. If the spiritual leader fails to respond within thirty days, the investigation will still continue.

10. Subsequent to notifying the accused spiritual leader, but before convening a hearing, the Chair of the Ethics Committee shall notify the President or another appropriate officer of the congregation (or other institution where the accused serves as spiritual leader or is otherwise employed) of the allegations, without revealing names given in confidence. With the spiritual leader's consent, the substance of his/her written response will also be shared. The Ethics Committee Chair shall share information with the President on Ethics Committee time lines and procedures, including a copy of this document. The Ethics Chair shall also share information on resources available to the congregation for dealing with this matter. The accused spiritual leader shall be informed of this notification. The Ethics Chair will emphasize to the President the desirability of confidentiality, when appropriate.

11. Placement. ALEPH does not have a placement service or a staff person to provide assistance with spiritual leaders' placement. Members of OHALAH are invited to post public service announcements on OHALAH's general e-mail list regarding job opportunities they believe may be of interest to fellow OHALAH members. At the time that the Chair of the Ethics Committee notifies the accused of the complaint, he/she shall ask the President of OHALAH to suspend the subscription of the accused to the general e-mail list until the resolution of the ethics complaint.

12. Communication Regarding a Pending Complaint. Immediately upon receipt of an ethics complaint, the Chair of the Ethics Committee shall inform the Chair of the ALEPH Board of the name of the accused. The Chair shall immediately inform the full Board of Directors that an ethics complaint has been received and shall invite all of ALEPH's divisions and constituent organizations to discuss with the Chair of ALEPH the names of any candidates it or its constituents may be intending to hire. Without providing any substantive information regarding the ethics investigation, the Chair shall advise such persons if an investigation is underway.

13. Suspension With Pay. Depending on the nature of the complaint, following appointment of a Hearing Committee and notification of the congregational or institutional President or other officer, the Chair of the Ethics Committee, in consultation with the ALEPH Chair and the Rabbinic Director of ALEPH in his/her capacity as a member of the Board of Governors of OHALAH, may recommend to the congregation temporary suspension of the spiritual leader with pay and benefits, until the Hearing Committee meets and the Ethics Committee can make a decision. It is understood that suspension with pay may be of mutual benefit in a difficult situation, without prejudice to a particular outcome. It is understood that the Ethics Committee decision will be given within three months of the written complaint.

14. Congregational Officer Leave of Absence. Depending on the nature of the complaint, the Ethics Committee Chair may recommend that any complainant in a position of authority in the congregation whose work involves the spiritual leader (e.g. congregational officer, committee Chair) take a leave of absence until the matter is resolved.

15. Hearing Committee:
a. Depending on the nature of the complaint, the Ethics Committee Chair may recommend that the Hearing Committee meet with the complainant and hear the details of her/his complaint. Then the committee will inform the complainant of the substance of the written response of the accused. The complainant may recommend other individuals to be interviewed by the committee. 
b. The Hearing Committee will meet with the accused spiritual leader and present the complaint, and hear further details of her/his response. The spiritual leader may recommend other individuals to be interviewed by the committee.

c. The Hearing Committee may hold a number of sessions. In consultation with the Chair of the Ethics Committee, they may solicit testimony from others who have direct knowledge or professional expertise relevant to the complaint.
d. The Hearing Committee may recommend that the accused spiritual leader meet with a mental health professional with experience in this field, chosen by the Ethics Committee for a professional assessment to be communicated to the committee. 
e. Within five weeks of appointment (seven weeks from the filing of a written complaint) the Hearing Committee shall present a written report to the Ethics Committee, with findings of fact regarding the merit of the complaint.

16. The Ethics Committee shall meet within four weeks of the written report (eleven weeks from the written complaint). A quorum of three members who were not part of the Hearing Committee is necessary for this meeting that may be held electronically. In addition to the report of the Hearing Committee, the Ethics Committee (or subcommittee) may receive additional written statements from the complainant, the accused or their advocates.

17. Ethics Committee Actions. The Ethics Committee may recommend a number of actions, including but not limited to:
a. No Cause for Action 
b. Advisory. This is an educational message to the spiritual leader for an inadvertent or minor violation. It may include recommendations. 
c. Reprimand. This action is a significant reproof or rebuke of a spiritual leader. It is based upon an assessment that the reprimand is adequate to ensure that the unethical or inappropriate actions will not recur and where the committee feels that the individual can continue to function as a spiritual leader. A reprimand may include probation. 
d. Suspension from OHALAH. (This paragraph refers only to OHaLaH members and is included here for informational purposes.) This is subject to approval of the OHALAH Board of Governors. This shall mean a discontinuation of membership privileges in OHALAH for a fixed period of time. This action is taken in a case where there is a major ethics violation and the continued functioning of the spiritual leader may be threatening to the well-being of the spiritual leader or others, but where a period of therapy or other treatment may result in his/her future return to active work. The person under suspension may not take any active role in ALEPH. Suspension from the organization will be communicated to ALEPH members. It is automatically combined with probation (defined below in section 19). 
e. Expulsion from ALEPH. This is subject to approval of ALEPH's Board of Directors. This step is recommended when in the judgment of the Ethics Committee, the spiritual leader cannot continue to function as a member of ALEPH. It may also be taken based on a criminal conviction (felony involving moral turpitude or serious misdemeanor involving moral turpitude) in a court of law, related to a member's functioning as a spiritual leader. The accused spiritual leader facing expulsion has the right to present testimony to the Board of Directors. Expulsion from the organization will be communicated to ALEPH members.
18. Probation:
a. Probation may be required in case of reprimand and will be required in case of suspension. The Ethics Committee shall monitor compliance. The Ethics Committee may require financial restitution, apology, or psychological treatment (in-patient or out-patient) or limitations on employment settings as conditions of probation. 
b. The key criterion for ending probation will be the Ethics Committee's assessment that it is reasonably sure that the violation will not recur, and that the member's continued service as spiritual leader does not pose a threat to the well-being of the spiritual leader or others. 
c. The length of the probation may be extended if deemed appropriate by the Ethics Committee. Likewise, at any time during the probationary period the Ethics Committee may require a different action based on new information, a new understanding of previous information, non-compliance with the terms of probation or non-cooperation with the Ethics Committee. 
d. Probation may not extend beyond three years without a review by the Ethics Committee. Probation, an extension of probation, or its conditions, may be appealed by the clergy person under probation to the ALEPH Board of Directors.

19. The final decision of the Ethics Committee will be simultaneously shared with personal letters to the complainant, the accused, and the congregational or institutional President or other officer. The Chair of the ALEPH Board and the Rabbinic Director of ALEPH shall also receive written notice of final decisions. An advisory or reprimand shall not be publicized to ALEPH membership or to the Board of Directors of ALEPH by name, although the general circumstances may be described in the Ethics Committee's annual report. It is at the accused spiritual leader's option as to whether a finding of no cause for action will be publicized to the membership of ALEPH and/or the Board of Directors of ALEPH. Suspension or expulsion shall be communicated by name to any rabbinic, cantorial and professional organizations of which the clergy person is a member, and the Board of Directors of ALEPH, which shall convey this information to its divisions and constituents. The Chair of ALEPH may also share information regarding suspension or expulsion with the congregational or institutional organization with which the spiritual leader's congregation is affiliated.

20. Appeal. Any decision of the Ethics Committee may be appealed by the accused or the complainant to the ALEPH Board of Directors within thirty days of the decision. The Board will render a final decision by a majority vote within two months of the appeal.

21. Appeal of Suspension or Expulsion. In the case of an appeal of suspension or expulsion approved by the Board of Directors, the Board will appoint an appeal committee consisting of at least three people who previously have not heard the case to consider the appeal. This appeal committee shall deliver a recommendation to the Board of Directors that will render a final decision by majority vote within two months of the appeal.

22. Consultation. The Chair of the Board of Directors and the Chair of the Ethics Committee may seek advice at any stage from professionals and others who have expert knowledge useful in the particular case at hand.

23. Variation in Timetable. The timetable above is to provide a prompt and fair inquiry. The Ethics Committee Chair may extend a deadline above if necessary. Any delay or change in the timetable will be communicated in writing by the Ethics Committee to all the affected parties.

24. Inquiries. Confidentiality is crucial. However, when it is deemed to be in the best interest of protecting the public, ALEPH, and its divisions and constituents, the Chair of the Ethics Committee may respond to inquiries about allegations regarding a specific ALEPH member. The Chairperson may reveal: a) that an investigation of the alleged violation is underway; b) that the investigation has been resolved but is confidential; or c) that the member has been suspended or expelled. No other details are to be revealed.

H. FOLLOW-UP - Support for ALEPH members
1. ALEPH undertakes a particular responsibility to a spiritual leader who is the victim of unsubstantiated rumors, and will do everything possible to provide support to the victimized spiritual leader and assist in the healing of the affected community.

2. If there is a finding of unethical behavior by a spiritual leader, ALEPH recognizes an obligation to offer continuing concern, spiritual advice and support to the victim, the congregation, and support staff even after the conclusion of formal proceedings.

The Chair of ALEPH should consult with the Chair of the Ethics Committee, the Hearing Committee, and the victim's advocate on appropriate ways of offering continued contact and moral support.


Cowboy Rabbi
PBS (Religion and Ethics) - May 28, 1999, Episode no. 239

Out for an afternoon horseback ride on his land in Cuba, New Mexico, Rabbi Gershon Winkler is a long way from the Orthodox close-knit community he left behind in Brooklyn, New York. In Brooklyn there were cars; now there are cattle. Then there were synagogues and crowded streets; now there are vistas and isolation.

Rabbi GERSHON WINKLER: I was hired by two yeshivas whose focus was to educate un-Orthodox Jewish adults, mostly who were really interested in becoming Orthodox, learning about Orthodoxy.

BUNYAN: However, it wasn't long before he began to question traditional interpretations of Jewish law, kalacha, the teachings he was supposed to pass on.

Rabbi WINKLER: Everything that I had been raised with in terms of how to live and how to believe and how to think and the kind of community that I was raised in, was becoming less and less in harmony with who I was evolving [into] and what was evolving inside of me. So, yes, it was scary, and I guess the scary part was the question that kept gnawing at me day and night was, "Maybe they're right."

Rabbi MEIR FUND (Brooklyn, New York): I think that people have the right to change their beliefs. I think the major objection that the community he used to be part of had to him was that he was trying to sort of keep the best of both worlds. He wanted to somehow be considered in good standing in the community he left and betrayed, even while he was out there having a good time breaking every kalacha he could get his hands on.

BUNYAN: So Rabbi Winkler expressed his new feelings in a book, a fictional children's book based on fact, he said. But to outraged critics in his community, a traitorous antikalachic tract.

Rabbi FUND: THEY CALLED HER REBBE, Rabbi Gershon Winkler's masterpiece, is, in my opinion and the opinion of many people here, the ultimate chutzpah. And, I would add, it's a pristine example of consumer fraud. What I object to and what many of us object to is the deceptiveness of Gershon Winkler in using the guise of being a writer of Jewish books, of Judaica for young Jewish children, and slipping into the pages of that book beliefs and attitudes that are totally antithetical to what these Jewish children would expect to find in such a book -- and their parents. Using the Maiden of Ludmir as his spokesperson to voice all of his anger and his wishes to downgrade the authority of rabbinic Judaism.

BUNYAN: His life in chaos, Rabbi Winkler left Brooklyn and headed west.

How is it that you were able to adjust so easily and so comfortably to this kind of environment?
Rabbi WINKLER: I guess this was always in my blood. I just didn't know it until I had my classical midlife crisis and went out to the woods to meditate on my life and realized, wow, being in the woods, living in the wilderness is my life. This felt at home, this felt comfortable, this felt me. So I stayed forever.

BUNYAN: Rabbi Winkler eventually remarried and moved to New Mexico with his wife and daughter. And here in this wilderness, he says he is discovering alternative interpretations of Jewish law and Judaism's ancient connections to the land.

Rabbi WINKLER: We lived in ghettos because we were forced to by the culture that we lived in. The only thing that held us connected to anything that had to do with the land was our liturgy; our prayers were expressive of our yearning to return to the land there at Israel.

BUNYAN: Rabbi Winkler and his wife discovered parallels between Jewish and Native American earth-based rituals. The two of them created the Walking Stick Foundation to bring together Jews and Native Americans to learn about each other's cultures.

Rabbi WINKLER: Every time I watched the medicine man do something, you know, I said, "Wow, this is what -- the whole Book of Leviticus is about this, spreading the meal to the right, to the left, north, south, east, chanting. Oh, my God, you know, what a -- been so blind to this, my own tradition." And so I wanted to share it with other people, not just Jews, but people in general. They should come and learn from these great teachers that I became friendly with.

Mr. HAROLD LITTLEBIRD: We are all storytellers, we all come from stories. There really isn't a difference there if you look back into your own traditions, tracing them back as far as you can. We all come from that same place and we come from stories, we come from legend, we come from myth, we come from meditation and prayer. And we have that in common with one another. And so it was a -- it was just a very unique way of bridging those two worlds together.

BUNYAN: So the rabbi from Brooklyn has made a new pulpit for himself in the Southwest. His former community remains cautious about his work.

Rabbi FUND: Back to nature, in my mind, has nothing to do with consumer fraud. Back to nature has absolutely nothing to do with trashing kalachic observance. So I hesitate to even give him any credit for the good things he does, because in the person of Gershon Winkler, they are so intertwined, it's such a package deal, that I'm not sure I know how to unravel all the pieces.

BUNYAN: If you were to meet your creator tomorrow, what would you say in defense of your work?

Rabbi WINKLER: I'm not afraid to face my maker. I think that the decision that I made and the way I've just chosen to live feels, for me, truth, and I believe very, very strongly that that's what the creator wants each of us to discover for ourselves -- not what other people think you should be doing, but what you think you should be doing, to be the fullest self that you can possibly be.

BUNYAN: Rabbi Gershon Winkler in Cuba, New Mexico


Summer Camp Activity Descriptions
Overcoming Walls You Never Built - August 10, 2000

Gershon Winkler is a teacher and practitioner of ancient Jewish shamanism, and has been described as an "all-around coyote and renegade rabbi". His presentation focuses on discovering the "real us", who and what are we beyond and in spite of the givens and definitions that family, culture, religion, and community have established for us. In this session, we will engage and explore three major factors that sabotage our deep personal unfolding.

Overcoming Walls You Never Built with Gershon Winkler all-around coyote and renegade rabbi.

Deep inside each of us lies all of us. The great challenge in life and the primary source of most of our emotional upsets is trying to access the real us. Who and what are we beyond and in spite of the givens and definitions that family, culture, religion, and community have established for us? In this session, we will engage and explore three major factors that sabotage our deep personal unfolding: the Nudnik, the Critic, and the Dybbuk.

Nudnik: old tapes that tell us we should be more than what we are comfortable with being.
Critic: voices from without and from within that tell us we can't make it.

Dybbuk: our adoption of other people's personas for lack of a handle on accessing our own uniqueness.

Brief Bio
Gershon Winkler is a teacher and practitioner of ancient Jewish shamanism and lives in the wilds of northwestern New Mexico where he farms, writes, husbands, hikes, meditates, and co-parents. He also serves as a circuit-riding rabbi, regularly visiting Jewish communities across southwest Colorado and western Montana. Author of ten books on Jewish philosophy, folklore, and mysticism, Gershon travels often across the US and Israel to share the more aboriginal wisdom of the Jewish tradition with audiences ranging from the learned and the curious to the skeptical and the estranged. His books include The Way of the Boundary Crosser, The Place Where You Are Standing is Holy, Sacred Secrets, The Soul of the Matter, Dybbuk, The Golem of Prague, The Sacred Stones, They Called Her Rebbe, and Secret of Sambatyon.

Originally ordained in the ultra-Orthodox tradition by the late kabbalist Rabbi Eliezer Benseon in Jerusalem, Gershon brings to his teachings a refreshing wisdom gleaned from 18 years of wilderness living combined with an erudite knowledge of the original Hebraic and Aramaic texts. His bold writings have appeared in publications ranging from Moment Magazine to Lovingmore.

What they say about this guy..."Irreverent, funny, and provocative...Resembles the famed brazen trickster of folklore...A mischievous maverick of modern Judaism...Down-to-earth, warm, and gregarious..."  -- Intermountain Jewish News, Denver, Colorado (February 19, 1999)
"Gershon Winkler peppers his workshops with a healthy dose of storytelling, chanting, and humor,creating the impression that we're attending the lecture of our favorite college professor or a performance by the likes of monologist Spalding Gray."  -- Missoula Independent, Missoula, Montana (September 1998) 
"Travels an unusual path and ruffles feathers." -- The Wall Street Journal (July 20, 1992)

"A unique blend of Lenny Bruce and the Baal Shem Tov" -- The Center Post Rowe, Massachusetts (Vol. 11, No. 2) 
"His knowledge is a universe away from the glib superficiality of pop mysticism and mass market 'spirituality.'" -- Bernie Kling in The Jewish Community Update, Sedona, Arizona (December 1999) 
"Gershon is a true coyote if I ever met one, always scratching behind his ears while drooling at the sight of a passing roadrunner." -- David Carson, co-author of Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow on the Case of Rabbi Mordechai Gafni
Jewschool Blog - July 7, 2008

Dear chevra,

The greatest damage in the present situation has been created by two public letters from Gershon Winkler. Winkler has done some good intellectual work in the past, especially on minority views concerning sexuality in Jewish law and practice (e..g the non-marital, egalitarian possibilities of the pilegesh relationship). But in this case I think his writing is profoundly slanderous ¬タモ in the way he attacks women for telling the truth about their relationships with Marc Gafni and attacks "leaders of Jewish renewal" for taking these women seriously.

It would take a close examination of the history to disentangle the origins of Winkler's decision not only to leap to Gafni's defense but to traduce those who spoke out about Gafni's abusiveness, from Winkler's previous intellectual work and from his own life-path in the world. But now his attacks must stand on their own, as an action separate from the other strands. Whether Winkler's attacks are so deeply slanderous, what the tradition calls rechilut, as to constitute behavior so unethical as to make Winkler not acceptable as a teacher, must be for those to decide who have treated him as a teacher in the past.

I had originally restricted my comments on these matters to a listserve on which Winkler's second message appeared, because I did not want his slanderous remarks to be given even wider currency in the process of refuting them. But the matter has now become widespread enough that I think I need to address it more publicly.

These are the offensive aspects of Winkler's messages:

1. As Winkler's own words in his second letter make clear, it was after being challenged by his own readers and students that he issued a "clarification." But his "clarification" was only a restatement of his attacks on the women who accused Gafni and on those leaders of Jewish renewal who took them seriously, studied the accusations, and decided to bar Gafni from teaching in Jewish-renewal milieux. The "clarification" was different only in that Winkler did not repeat the extraordinarily offensive words "slander" and "malignant" from his first letter. What he should have issued was a profound and abject apology for his slanderous accusations in the first letter. It is offensive that he did not.

2. Winkler says, "Unlike most, I did not jump to conclusions and blindly accept as absolute truth the accusations launched against him in the press and on the internet."

This is hazerei and balderdash, not to use the stronger Anglo-Saxon that would be accurate. It is not merely the expression of a different assessment of the facts, but a slanderous attack on the method and behavior of the Jewish-renewal leaders who took action concerning Gafni's violation of all ethical standards of behavior of teachers toward students and bosses toward employees.

The boards of Gafni's own organization, Bayit Chadash, of ALEPH, and of Elat Chayyim (and I as editor of The Shalom Report) did not "jump to conclusions ... blindly .." but in fact met with several of the women who charged Gafni with sexual abuse. The board of Bayit Chadash was created and named by Gafni, and had every reason to want to trust and support him until they heard directly from the lips of the women what he had done to them. They looked and listened, with open ears and eyes. All of them made their decisions to bar Gafni from teaching not in schadenfreude (rejoicing at the misfortune of others) but with great sadness and reluctance.

3. In fact, Winkler himself has never met with the women and himself has simply accepted Gafni's version of the events and Gafni's "reconstruction" of the "documentation" on which he depends. If anyone has blindly leaped to conclusions, it is Winkler himself. Indeed, Winkler asserts that he "reached out" to Gafni as soon as the accusations became public. If he had been interested in seeking the truth rather than leaping to defend Gafni, why did he not also "reach out" to the women who charged Gafni with sexual abuse?

*** 4. The central issue is that Winkler claims that the sexual relationships Gafni had with his students and employees were "consensual." This ignores the clear definition of ethics by ALEPH , Ohalah, Elat Chayyim, The Shalom Center, and other religious and spiritual organizations, Jewish and otherwise, that ¬タヤ given the great power imbalance between a teacher or spiritual leader or boss and his/her students, followers, or employees ¬タヤ true consent to sex is all but impossible as long as the dominant-receptive relationship continues. The rules under which teachers agree to work, including those applied to and known by Gafni, forbid such relationships for that reason.

5. Winkler's assertion that the behavior of the women is a kind of coward's feminism that defines women as victims whereas he celebrates a kind of brave feminism that celebrates the strength of women ignores and perverts what happened. These women ceased to be victims, became strong women, precisely by telling the truth of their experience.

6. Winkler resorts to the explanation that these events reflect an archetypal tale of the creative, transformative teacher being brought low by false accusations that mistake his charisma for abuse. Perhaps there have been some such false criticisms. But in the overwhelming number of such accusations, the charges have been accurate. The "archetypal" tale of the charismatic leader who becomes addicted and besotted by his own power into becoming a sexual abuser is far more prevalent in real life. The issue is not one "tale" against another, but the facts in each case.

7. Winkler's assertion that Gafni was noble and forgiving in refusing to sue the women for the slander he alleges they committed against him and in fleeing Israel posthaste instead of facing the criminal charges filed against him are made nonsense by the fact that Gafni has now attacked the women through interviews with Catalyst magazine and by posting Winkler's own charges on his website. Winkler became Gafni's mouthpiece for saying what Gafni wanted to say, and Gafni then justified himself by quoting Winkler. This is a second stage of Gafni's abuse of these women, abetted by Winkler.

I can imagine posts from Winkler in which he might have said that he had examined various pieces of evidence and, even taking into account that he had not met with the women who claimed abuse and even taking into account the definition of sexual ethics required of teachers by Bayit Chadash , ALEPH, and Elat Chayyim concerning power imbalances between teachers and students, bosses and employees, that nevertheless he has doubts about the decisions made two years ago and that while respecting the efforts of those who decided then, he thinks they may have been incorrect. That might have been a responsible and even perhaps valuable contribution to the renewal of Judaism, worthy of further discussion.

What he did was not.

Shalom, Rabbi Arthur Waskow

–– Rabbi Arthur Waskow ᅡᄋ July 7th, 2008 at 7:16 am


Rabbi fights sexual allegations
By Ben Harris
JTA - July 8, 2008

Marc Gafni, left, visits with author Luke Ford in
Salt Lake City on July 3, 2008
A disgraced American rabbi with a tangled history of alleged sexual misdeeds is relaunching his career as a spiritual mentor and backtracking from an apparent confession he signed two years ago

NEW YORK (JTA) -- A disgraced American rabbi with a tangled history of alleged sexual misdeeds is relaunching his career as a spiritual mentor and backtracking from an apparent confession he signed two years ago.

Rabbi Mordechai Gafni acknowledged his "sickness" in 2006 after several students at his Israeli institute claimed they were lured into sexual liaisons through deception and psychological manipulation. For decades Gafni had been dogged by claims he engaged in improper sexual activities, including allegations that he molested two teenage girls.

Now Gafni is back with a new Web site that directly challenges the claims against him.

Based in Salt Lake City, Gafni, now known as Marc, is a practitioner of a Kabbalah-inspired philosophy called evolutionary spirituality.

In a statement on the controversy posted to his Web site, Gafni said the relationships he engaged in while in Israel were all "mutual and consensual," broke no laws and did not involve an abuse of authority.

He said the letter he wrote was misunderstood to be a confession that he acted improperly.
"I believed that writing the letter would, in some measure, end the attacks, and give me time to heal and think things through," Gafni wrote on his site,

Gafni did not respond to requests for an interview.

A former Orthodox rabbi and later a leading figure in the Jewish Renewal movement, Gafni first gained attention in 2004 when The New York Jewish Week reported on longstanding accusations against him.

Gafni told the newspaper that one of the girls was troubled and had made up the story, but he did acknowledge a sexual relationship with the other girl when he was a 19-year-old rabbinical student.

"I was a stupid kid and we were in love," Gafni told The Jewish Week. "She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her."

In response to The Jewish Week's reporting, several prominent rabbis -- including Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Arthur Green, Joseph Telushkin, Saul Berman, Tirzah Firestone and Arthur Waskow -- rallied to Gafni's defense, saying the evidence of impropriety was not convincing.

Two years later, after the news broke in Israel, several of those same rabbis backtracked, arguing that the new accusations were different from the old ones.

Waskow recently told JTA that he has reviewed the material on Gafni's Web site and still sees "nothing whatsoever to change my mind about the wisdom of the decision that several organizations made two years ago that he should not continue to teach under their auspices."

A section of Gafni's new site dedicated to the controversy includes letters on his behalf from several spiritual leaders, attorneys and counselors, as well as the report of a forensic psychologist who administered a polygraph test.

Several references to e-mails and instant messages between Gafni and the Israeli women that supposedly prove the nature of their relationships were not exploitative. The correspondence is not available on the site.

"In each of these relationships, as is usually the case between men and women, there were complex power dynamics in which each side had power and vulnerability," Gafni wrote regarding the Israel controversy. "While I never promised exclusivity to any, in retrospect I see I did fail to recognize two things. First, that my non-exclusivity might in itself be experienced as hurtful. Secondly, that these involvements themselves, and particularly the lack of transparency around them, might be experienced as painful or problematic."

Gafni's Web site is filled with allusions to his problems and explanations.

"Marc Gafni struggled with the question of whether to teach conventional spiritual wisdom in a conventional spiritual context, or to follow a more post-conventional style of teaching and living," his biography says. "This tension brought great dynamism to his work, but also caused some dissonance."

Now the biography says that Gafni will focus on "intense inner spiritual and psychological reflection on the course of his life" and "partnering with social activist leaders to create a new, grass-roots human rights movement."

"While Marc Gafni will continue teaching, he wishes to do so as a spiritual `artist' rather than as a rabbi, guru, or formal teacher," the Web site says.

One of Gafni's defenders is Rabbi Gershon Winkler, a New Mexico rabbi who runs Walking Stick, an organization that combines Jewish teachings with Native American wisdom.

"Do I believe that the women here experienced pain? Yes I do," Winkler wrote in a letter posted on Gafni's site. "Do I know that this is not a story of abuse of sexual harassment as it was reported in public forums? I am sure it is not. Do I believe that the pain caused by all of us to Rabbi Gafni far exceeds the pain that anyone else can claim to have experienced? Absolutely."

In the letter, Winkler acknowledged that he fathered a child with a student, carried on several "intimate relationships" with students over the years and said he is currently in a relationship with two women.

Many in the Jewish Renewal leadership, he asserted, have engaged in similar sexual behavior, including some who are now critics of Gafni.

Waskow, one of the leading figures in the Renewal movement, rejected that line of argument.

"If there were, years and years ago, people in this or any other movement who did behave in ways that we would now find ethically prohibited, it was precisely because of the experience of the pain and emotional disasters and spiritual disasters created by that kind of behavior that we adopted the ethical rules that now apply," Waskow said.

"Maybe some of that did take place, but we grew enough to decide this was not a good idea," he said. "What he's describing as hypocrisy is a shift over a 25-year period of time in which our movement and people in our movement grew considerably."

Winkler told JTA that he believes it is wrong to insist on an "across-the-board" ban on sexual relationships involving rabbis and followers, teachers and students, and counselors and patients.

Gafni, he added, is a victim of sexual McCarthyism.

"I think it's extreme," Winkler said. "I think it's a sexual ethic that's made out of paranoia."


Cancelled - Rabbi Gershon and Miriam Winkler
Mailing from Rabbi Gershon Winkler - July 11, 2008

Sent: 7/11/2008 8:21:04 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time

Our "end of times" with Elat Chayyim has arrived due to Elat Chayyim's decision to cancel our upcoming retreat there on account of our differing perspectives. Consequently, Gershon and Miriam will no longer be teaching at future events sponsored by Elat Chayyim.


Please understand, we are under a lot of pressure in order to secure the retreat site and lodging, pressure of deadlines given to us for hefty deposits and info on the number of participants. We need your cooperation, so please RSVP immediately!

The final session of the two-year, four week Jewish Shamanic Learning program with Rabbi Gershon Winkler and Ravi Miriam Maron will be held at the 3,000-acre wilderness retreat site of the Brandeis-Bardin Institute in Simi Valley, California, (approximately 40 miles north of Los Angeles)

Sunday evening July 27 - Friday noon, August 1, 2008.

Double Occupancy: $1125
Single Occupancy: $1250
(Payable to Walking Stick Foundation)

Cost includes spacious, carpeted, air-conditioned rooms, each with private bath/showers Glatt Kosher Meals (vegetarian option available), 24-hour coffee room with snacks including fruit, cookies, water, coffee tea. Extensive Judaica library.

"Live" Music!



Shamanic Healing in Jewish and Native American Traditions A Workshop for Healers of Self and Others With Carl Hammerschlag, M.D. Author of "Dancing With Healers," "Theft of the Spirit," and "Healing Ceremonies"

Ravi Miriam Maron, R.N., M.A.
Spiritual Teacher, Healer, Mentor, Singer/Songwriter Shawn Price
Traditional Dineh Medicine Keeper; Founder and Director of the Dinehtah Navajo Dancers Rabbi Gershon Winkler
Author of "Magic of the Ordinary: Recovering the Shamanic in Judaism"

Thursday evening September 11, 2008 through Monday morning September 15, 2008
At La Casa de Maria, a scenic, lush green and peaceful retreat center near Santa Barbara, California.

$950 Double-Occupancy with private bath
$1200 Single Occupancy with private bath
$665 For local commuters (meals and tuition only)

Discover the gifts of Jewish and Native American mystery wisdom for contemporary living and healing. This three-day intensive, the third in a series, features modern scientific as well as aboriginal teachings about how people get sick and how they get well. From contemporary research in psychoneuro-immunology, to ancient and early-medieval Hebraic and Aramaic oral traditions

and source texts, to Native American wisdom and ceremony, participants will be introduced to eye-opening, challenging, and self-empowering life lessons. Spiced with drumming, chanting, story-telling, humor, entrancing movement and sacred rituals, this workshop will immerse you in the magical as well as the pragmatic realms. Please contact Ravi Miriam directly for any private healing

session requests during, before, or after this retreat, at:, or if you don't have internet access

Please contact Shawn Price direct to arrange private blessing, healing, or mentoring sessions with him. Email him


September 19-20, 2008

Rabbi Gershon will be teaching in Missoula, Montana, the weekend of September 19-20, 2008, a Shabbat filled with deep learning, spirited chant, and lots of humor in the process.

For information and to register, contact Marlene Hutchins
At Chochmat HaLev Fall-Winter-Spring 2008...

Sefer Yetzirah: The Series

A bold venture into one of the oldest and most cryptic codes of ancient Jewish mystery wisdom.

Sefer Yetzirah is the earliest known source for what later became known as the Kabbalah. It is replete with aboriginal Jewish knowledge around sorcery, angelic forces, earth spirits, astrology, numerology, the four directions, and the mysteries of Creation. It is a unique body of ancient wisdom that defies linear thinking and challenges ordinary givens and definitions,

yet is uncannily congruent with contemporary scientific thought. With his unique blend of humor, story, chant and text, Gershon will help us access this long-lost dimension of Jewish mystery wisdom that is at the same time esoteric and pragmatic, as well as nurturing to the human consciousness and our quest for deepening our relationship with life.

Workshop Series Schedule -- 2008:
Sundays 10:30- 5:30. October 26, November 23, January 18, February 22, March 22, April 19, and May 24

Drop ins $55/$75 per class
Full class tuition: $375/$475 nonmembers

PRE-REGISTRATION SPECIAL! Those pre-registering for this special workshop series will receive FREE admission to all of Rabbi Gershon's Saturday evening talks occurring the evening before his classes.

Chochmat HaLev is located in Berkeley,

March 1-8, 2009

"Wheel of the Four Winds" An Introduction to Jewish Shamanism and "Purim: Ancient Lessons About Existence and What You Can't Do About It"
Cost: $1425

Includes tuition, 2 meals a day, ferry, and lodging (one night in Puerto Vallarta, six nights in Yelapa (limited premium rooms available for additional cost; limited discounted rooms available as well – i.e., non-private bathroom two flights up). Airfare not included.

A Weeklong Retreat of Kabbalistic Wisdom for Biding Your Time on Earth
A rousing experience of learning, contemplation, and laughter.

Join us for this wild ride of ancient chants, empowering experientials, deep-belly humor, and lesser known teachings of Jewish mystery wisdom covering a broad spectrum of themes from ancient Jewish teachings and practices around the Wheel of the Four Winds to the mystery of Purim. Aboriginal in nature, and pragmatic in content, these teachings introduce us to a whole other dimension of Judaism that is largely unknown to contemporary mainstream Jewish tradition.

Drawing from ancient and early-medieval Hebraic and Aramaic sources, Gershon and Miriam will both humor us and deepen us with illuminating tales, shamanic journeys, spirited chants, entrancing movement and breathtaking teachings. Together, we will explore classical Jewish teachings about the animals, colors, powers, spirits, elements and attributes of the four directions, and how to incorporate them into the varying situations of our personal life journey. Drawing not from contemporary "progressive" theology but rather from ancient "primitive" theology, these two daring mavericks of Judaica will introduce us to whole new horizons of understanding about Judaism as a "Flexidoxic", earth-conscious and thoroughly Shamanic spirit path. Purim, we will discover, is a festival during which we are challenged to integrate all opposites, all paradoxes and contradictions, into the one root they all share; into the single wheel of the four opposite directions.

To register for this awesome event, contact Tammy Lianu , or call her.

Please do not hit "Reply" or we will not receive your e-mail. If you wish to e-mail us, write to us

To see all of WalkingStick's upcoming events, go to our News/Calendar page 



Some of the information on The Awareness Center's web pages may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.

I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

For more information go to: . If you wish to use copyrighted material from this update for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." –– Margaret Mead


No comments: