Sunday, November 26, 2006

Kabalove - Is This Judaism? A cult?

A friend of mine made me aware of this group some time ago. I've been watching it on and off ever since. There have never been any complaints of sexual misconduct, yet their web page concerns me. I've heard rumors that it's founder "rabbi" Ohad Ezrahi is a disciple of "rabbi" Mordechai Gafni.

Below you will find the bio of the founder and the most recent e-mail. Let me know if you think this group represents Judaism?




Bio on the Founder of "Kabalove"
Ohad Ezrahi: was born in 1965, a father of three kids. Entered into the Hasidic world when he was 18 years old, after spending most of his youth in the Negev desert of Israel, studying ecology and dedicating his time for Buddhism and meditation. In the Yeshiva world he had learned Talmud, Halacha, Midrash, Hasidism and Kabalah. He was sent by one of the most important hasidic leaders of today to learn Lurianic Kabala in the traditional Kabalist-Yeshiva "SHa'ar Hashamayim" (= "The Gate of Heaven"). Ohad thought Torah for several years within the yeshiva world. He was a Rabbi and a teacher of Kabalah and Hasidism in the most progressive and advanced institutes of the modern orthodox movement in Israel. Ohad was a close student of the Kabalist Rabbi Yitshak Ginzburg, and together with his fellow students he was part of the pioneer group that had established the community of Bat-Ayin in 89, where he had lived with his family for 12 years, making his living mainly from computer graphics and animation, while taking courses in the Hebrew University in Jewish Philosophy, Kabalah, literature, comparative religions and general philosophy.

At the end of the 90's he graduated from orthodoxy. He spent a semester as a fellow scholar in the Rockefeller fellowship "Science, Gender and the Sacred" in the University of Oregon in Eugene. In 2000 he opened HAMAKOM as a new spiritual community, that is dedicated to the renewal of spirit in Judaism. Hamakom had its first Yeshiva-Ashram in the Judean desert, where thousands of people from Israel and from all over the world came to study, spend time in a spiritual community and take workshops.


Here's the latest e-mail from the group that was forward to me:

Shalom dear friends
Two short and exiting things:
1. in Hanukah we will host our Shaman friend Itzhak Beery from NYC, in a workshop (Hebrew-English) dedicated to the work of NINA - the Sacred Inner Fire. See details below.
2. in March and a bit of April we (dawn and I) plan on being in America. Our teaching tour will take us to NYC, New Mexico, and California. (maybe even more west than that - to Hawaii : we have a feeling we need to go there and will be happy for contacts for visiting and teaching KabaLove there...).
We will send more details soon, and update our website with the new info.
please visit us at www.kabalove.net
hope to see you all soon, here, there and everywhere
Ohad

Nina- The Sacred Fire

A special Hanukah Shamanic gathering

with Itzhak Beery and Rabbi Ohad Ezrahi

Rosh Pina - December 22-23

In Quechua, the Inca language, the Sacred Fire is called Nina. It resides in the lower part of our body and is associated with the giving of life, internal power, passion, and sexual energy. There is no word for sex in Quechua. Instead, two people who are engaged in the act of sharing the Nina are merging the two most powerful universal energy sources of Father Sun, and that of Mother Earth’s magma core.

As winter days grow shorter and nights grow longer and darker, so do our thoughts, energy and moods. We start to look deeper into our own shadows and fears. In this workshop we will get in touch with our dark side by igniting Nina, the spark that reside in our own body and soul. We will uncover and remember the light within us. We will celebrate the joy and happiness with a release from darkness into the magic of light.

Throughout Friday and Saturday we will celebrate the power of Nina. Using ancient shamanic techniques we will journey to connect to Nina’s soul and power. We will engage in rituals, give her offerings and sacrifices in a fire ceremony. We will move and dance in order to free ourselves from obstacles and integrate her power into our lives.

Early Saturday morning we will invoke and welcome the power of the Sun with a special Inti Raymi (sunrise) ceremony and ancient body exercises.

Come join us at Rosh-Pina to meet your Nina and live with passion.

For registration contact Rabbi Ohad Ezrahi

077-427-7773 cel. O52-610-9713

e-mail: kabalove@013.net

Or contact Itzhak: ibeery@yahoo.com

2 Comments:

Anonymous Gafni and Ezrahi - The New Sabbateans said...

The New Sabbateans
By Yair Sheleg
Haaretz - May 30, 2006
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/721493.html


At first glance, the police complaints lodged against Rabbi Mordechai Gafni constitute one more case of sexual exploitation. Once not so long ago, it was enough for a rabbi to be accused of a fraction of the number of the suspicions raised against Gafni for the walls to tremble. In our present era of progress, statements by two dozen victims can be airily dismissed until the legal system steps in ?(because a few of the women finally dared to complain?) before the community leaders realize that they will not be able to continue enjoying the rabbi's "spiritual abundance."

At first glance this is an individual case, and the fact that a rabbi is involved is merely coincidental. Or not: Gafni has a friend, the co-writer of two of his books, named Rabbi Ohad Ezrahi. Ezrahi is a newly observant Jew who was once secretary to the extreme right-wing Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg. A few years ago he left his previous pursuits and established a commune based on the study of love and sex "in the spirit of the ancient myths" ?(including kabbala?.) And within the rather small community of teachers of "Jewish Renaissance" ?(the revolution of non-observant Jews studying Judaism?) in Israel, there are at least two other prominent teachers who had extensive extramarital relationships that caused a storm in their communities.

But surely each case should be judged on its own merits and is connected to the personality of each teacher. Still, perhaps these coincidences point to a common denominator. It does not take much effort to find one: The aspiration toward spirituality that characterizes the "new religiosity" ?(in its secular version, too?) is a very emotional aspiration that can involve primal instincts and urges, and in any event it automatically rejects "bourgeois" baggage ? at first that of halakha and Jewish law, and later those of basic human morality. That is how the New Age version of the "ubermensch" is created, the one who is "above" the common morality of the common man.

Yes, Jewish history has seen this phenomenon before; it is called Sabbateanism. Its prophet, Shabbatai Zevi, believed that spiritual elevation and the desire for redemption released him from the mitzvot, and particularly from the sexual prohibitions. Ohad Ezrahi speaks explicitly about Shabbatai Zevi and his follower Yaacov Frank as a model. But apparently the others are also persuaded to follow this course, even without explicitly championing it. In truth, all those who ignore moral distortion in the name of spiritual exaltation are active partners in this worldview.

In one sense, it is apparently an inseparable part of the affair that Western culture, including Judaism, is having with Eastern religion. The story of Gafni and Ezrahi are very reminiscent of a few prominent Eastern gurus who ran sex communes, and the line of admiring female students in their bedrooms was an integral part of their "spiritual" activities. The conclusion: The romance with the East has some unsavory characteristics. The "liberation" that it provides is too great ? this liberation first brings moral liberation from the need to deal with the material hardships we face, while focusing in a self-centered manner on "spiritual elevation" and then on the "liberation" from moral norms.

Many of us, whose spiritual world is defined by the boundaries of Judaism, occasionally complain about the nature of the bonds of halakha. Now it turns out that even if the very detailed character of the prohibitions is sometimes infuriating, there is deep justice in the principle that seeks to bind life in general, and spiritual ambitions in particular, within the bounds of moral and religious rules. It is precisely because spirituality is so enchanting, so groundbreaking, that great danger can arise if it is not anchored with a few ironclad moral principles. Therefore it is precisely because the "Jewish Renaissance" movement is so important that it must not take on a New Age tone that focuses on emotional spirituality, and it must be clearly identified with moral responsibility toward the surrounding community as well as toward the lifestyle of its leaders.

November 26, 2006 6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear Mr.
this is Rabbi Ohad Ezrahi hear.
you can think what ever you want about the teachings i give of Love in Kabala, yet - i would request that you will take me off your site, as for two facts:
1. i am NOT and NEVER WAS a student of Gafni! i was his Hevruta and working partner between 97-99 but then i had cut off from working with him, refused even to lead services with him or cooperate in any way. The fact that unresponsible people - like Yair Sheleg - connect me with him is horrible. i AM one of his victoms! not sexualy, thanks G-D, but in many other ways. Would you blame the women that were abused too?

Second - as you wrote yourself - there is no connection between my school of KabaLove and any kind of abuse!!! Not every person who dares to speak about Love and God is corrupted my dear sir!

we are SO sensitive to those issues in our school, and Respect is a key word for our work in the world.
so - i am expecting your appology for making the mistake of conecting me, who clearly cut off all relationships with Gafni years BEFORE his crims were known, with those horrible deeds, even by a hint.
sincerely
Ohad

May 15, 2007 3:06 PM  

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