For over three decades I have been a LECTURER AND WORKSHOP LEADER teaching on death, dying, bereavement, afterlife and the spirituality of end-of-life concerns. As author of JEWISH VIEWS OF THE AFTERLIFE, I ground my teaching in spiritual teachings on the afterlife journey of the soul. And as a psychotherapist and Rabbinic Pastor, the focus of my teaching always comes back to how we can respond in healthy and functional ways to the various dimensions of end-of-life issues.
I have taught at Conservative, Reconstructionist, Reform and Renewal congregations, and at universities and Jewish community centers in North America, England and Israel. Individual programs on various aspects of JUDAISM AND THE MYSTERIES OF LIFE, DEATH AND THE WORLD BEYOND can be arranged according to community needs.
Afterlife Journey of the Soul in Jewish Mysticism
Does Judaism believe in the afterlife? Unequivocally, the answer is yes! However, today many are unaware of traditional Jewish wisdom on life after death. This presentation explores Judaism’s afterlife teachings, particularly in Jewish mysticism. We endeavor to understand the relevance of these teachings in dealing with the human encounter with death.
Afterlife and the Renewal of Jewish Death Rituals
In this presentation we explore Judaism’s rituals of death and mourning, from a spiritual perspective which takes as a given that human consciousness survives bodily death. By integrating Jewish ideas of life after death into contemporary life, how do we transform our rituals of burial, mourning and memorialization into “soul-guiding” practices?
Twilight Between the Worlds: Tales of Ghosts, Wandering Spirits and Reincarnating Souls
Many people are unaware of Judaism’s rich tradition of life after death. In the story-telling telling traditions of Jewish folk religion and mysticism are to be found extensive teachings on the afterlife journey of the soul. Through an evening of animated story-telling and open discussion, we shall learn about Jewish views of the afterlife by entering the invisible worlds populated by ghosts, lost souls, haunting spirits, dybbukim, and heavenly angelic guides.This is a family-friendly program.
Joseph’s Bones and the Jewish Tradition of Memory
This presentation explores the importance of bringing Joseph’s bones out of Egypt, and the Jewish tradition of memory. We shall discover how a sense of connection between the world of the living and the world of the dead has been part of the Jewish experience throughout the ages.
An exploration of texts and traditions on the death moment and the stages of the post-mortem journey as found in both Jewish mysticism and Tibetan Buddhism.
Jewish Views of Reincarnation and Past Lives
From the 14th century onwards, teachings on reincarnation of the soul were an accepted part of Jewish tradition. This presentation explores Judaism’s teachings on reincarnation of souls and their meaning in our times.
Afterlife and Immortality, Resurrection and Reincarnation: A Traveler’s Guide to the World Beyond
Within Judaism there exists a rich tapestry of teachings on life after death, with various ideas often contradictory and confusing to our modern sensibility. This presentation explores a collage of diverse Jewish views of post-survival. Through our study of texts and traditions, we shall discover the applications and implications of Jewish views of the afterlife for contemporary life.
Going to Kaddish College: Guidelines for the Orphaned Adult
This presentation explores the traditional background of saying Kaddish, and the psychological and emotional dynamics involved when one loses a parent as an adult. We shall discover the inherent wisdom Judaism provides in responding to the death of a parent.
Yizkor – From Mourning of Mega-Death to Soul-Guiding
Yizkor is a practice offering memorial prayers on behalf of deceased family members. Today we see this ritual serving a psychological function for healing grief, however, originally prayers were offered to redeem the soul of the deceased. This presentation examines the history of Yizkor traditions, and offers contemporary ways of seeing Yizkor as a way of connecting spiritually with deceased family members.
From Mourning to Meaning; From Longing to Legacy: Judaism and the Bereavement Journey
In this presentation we explore the psychological function of Jewish rituals of mourning, discovering ways these rituals correspond with stages of the process of healing the pain of grief.
Understanding Jewish Hospice
Hospice is increasingly becoming a part of the landscape of medical care in North America. In this presentation we shall explore the Jewish values inherent to hospice care.
“Do Not Go Gentle Into the Night”: Moses’ Death in Torah and Midrash
Through an exploration of Moses’ response to his immanent death in Torah and Midrash we see that Moses did not “go gentle into the night” but did “rage, rage against the dying of the light”. In seeing how Moses argued and bargained with G!d, – going through the stages of dying, depicted by Dr. Kubler- Ross – we shall discover guidelines for helping others go through the process of wrestling with dying honestly and with qualities spiritual wisdom.
Jacob’s Deathbed Finale: Family Drama and Trauma at the End-of-Life
The deathbed story of Jacob, at the end Genesis, offers us wisdom for encountering the reality of death and loss. From Jacob’s story we learn to deal with death and the complex family dynamics surrounding dying and mourning with integrity and equanimity.
Deathbed Wisdom in Genesis: Guidelines for Living a Meaningful Life
In the Book of Genesis Isaac declares: “I am old now, and I do not know how soon I will die”. This is a thought which so many human beings have and never articulate so clearly. We find in this statement, and elsewhere in the Book of Genesis an honest, open attitude towards life’s finality. Through study and discussion we shall discover simple and clear guidelines for a healthy attitude of honesty in responding to the reality of death and mortality. Isaac and our other Biblical ancestors become teachers who can help us live a life of meaning in our times.
Transcending Trauma: Mythic Dimensions of the Book of Ruth
Today, in this precarious age, we are all trauma survivors, trying to find our way and learning to hear the deeper calling of our lives. Through study, discussion and reflective meditation we will explore the book of Ruth. Through Ruth’s story we shall see how we too can transcend trauma and loss in our lives, deal with life’s transitions and hear our own calling towards deeper fulfillment.
To Everything There Is A Season: Wisdom From Ecclesiastes on Conscious Living, Conscious Dying
The Book of Ecclesiastes is a unique sacred text of wisdom communicating a stark but realistic view that death is inherently part of the human condition. We also find a fascinating collage of teachings about the connection between life, death and the world beyond. Through studying the wisdom of Ecclesiastes, also known by the Hebrew name Kohelet, we shall discover rich wisdom to inspire spiritual meaning in our lives today.
End-of-Life Wisdom and Soul-Guiding in Hasidic Deathbed Stories
In the worldview of Hasidism, death was seen as a transition, as a time of ascent of the soul. In this presentation we shall study Hasidic texts on the deathbed experiences of Hasidic Rebbes and extract from these stories a spiritually-based approach to death and dying in our times.
Writing Ethical Wills
An ethical will (Hebrew “Zevaoth”) – left as a written legacy to be shared with loved one’s after one’s death – is a document designed to pass on ethical values from one generation to the next. In this workshop we learn about the ancient Jewish practice of creating ethical wills, and begin creating an ethical will as a way of sharing values, blessings and life’s lessons with family, friends, and community
Mini Course –
Ancestors & Ghosts, Reincarnating Souls & Spirit Guides: Jewish Afterlife Traditions throughout the Ages
A three-part mini-series exploring Jewish afterlife texts spanning over 3000 years of Jewish history. Traveling through time, we enter the worlds of Torah, Talmud, Midrash, Zohar and Hasidic tales investigating how Jews have understood the mystery and enigma of death and the world beyond. Through study and discussion we shall discover contemporary meaning and spiritual guidelines for our own responses to the human encounter with death.
* Afterlife in Biblical Tradition: Jacob’s Burial Cave and Samuel’s Presence in Sheol
* Afterlife in Rabbinic Tradition: Olam Haba and the Angel of Death
* Afterlife in Kabbalah: Journey of the Soul