Cover image for New Age Judaism : ancient wisdom for the modern world
New Age Judaism : ancient wisdom for the modern world
Ribner, Melinda.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Deerfield Beach, Fla. : Simcha Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xxviii, 216 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm

Format :


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BM723 .R53 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Many people will be surprised to find that Judaism is fundamentally aligned with what we think of as the New Age. Many of the things we associated with the New Age are not new but are part of Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical tradition. New Age Judaism is not about Judaism modified to meet the needs of the moment, but rather it makes age-old Judaism, traditional and kabbalistic teachings accessible to the modern person in a new way.

New Age Judaism is a very practical guidebook to Jewish spirituality drawn from the insights and personal observations of the author, a well-known meditation teacher and psychotherapist. Melinda Ribner has taught Jewish meditation and meditative kabbalah for over 16 years and incorporates many of these exercises into her book. In 1989 she formed The Jewish Meditation Circle which meets weekly in Manhattan. Her work draws on the teachings and practices of the Musar, Chassidic, and Kabbalistic schools within Judaism.

"Jewish meditation is not just a way to be centered of balanced. It is so much deeper. Mindy (Melinda) is one of the special human beings who never forgets there is one God. She has the privilege of bringing the deep teachings of the holy rebbes. So much holiness. Her meditations go straight to the heart of every person. It is a privilege to learn with her."
- Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach of Blessed Memory

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Part meditation manual, part exhortation, part explanation and part autobiography, this primer asserts a close linkage between New Age spirituality and Kabbalistic teachings. Originally educated as a social worker, author Ribner is now a psychotherapist in private practice who works as a "holistic and spiritual healer" using "meditation therapy." She also teaches her clients deep breathing, reviews their diets, urges them to exercise and to drink "lots of pure water." She frequently cites her favorite mentor, the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, who awarded her "nonrabbinical ordination to teach Jewish meditation." For example, unable to find a satisfactory response to the issue of human suffering and, particularly, to the suffering of Jews in the Holocaust, Ribner quotes Carlebach: "Some questions do not have answers." But Ribner offers definitive answers to several issues. She believes in angels and in reincarnation; she advocates vegetarianism, religious observance, alternative medicine and holistic healing. Other topics she examines include self-help, repentance, love and sexual relations. Her explorations are preceded by a detailed review of Kabbalistic principles, and conclude with an insistent plea that Jews prepare for the coming of the Messiah through spiritual growth on "the path to God." This comprehensive guidebook may appeal to those who believe that the New Age is upon us. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Chapter OneWho, What And Where Is God?Many people wonder and question "Where is God?" There is a natural yearning within each of us for God, for a taste of eternity. We search in many places and in many ways for the transcendent experience. Yet the deepest truth is that everything we are looking for is available within us. God is within us. We have each been given a pure and holy soul. This soul is our true essence and is actually a part of God. It is elevating but not necessary that we travel to holy places to find God. A person can stand at one of the holiest sites in the world and feel absolutely nothing. It is possible to not feel anything wherever you are if your heart is closed. One can be in one's own home and feel the Divine Presence in a powerfully intense way. The Baal Shem Tov said that people are where their thoughts are. If a person is in Jerusalem with a mind not filled with holiness, he is not really in Jerusalem. His body may be there, but he is not. Similarly, if a person is in New York and he's pining for God, he really is in God's holy city. I recently returned from conducting a weeklong retreat at a Jewish Renewal center, during which a young woman gave a moving testimony about her experience. Before she took the workshop, she explained, when asked where she davened, where she prayed, she would be embarrassed to tell people "nowhere." She was ashamed that she did not have a personal connection to God and was uncomfortable attending any synagogue. During the workshop she opened to a very deep and personal connection to God. She proudly announced that henceforth when asked where she davens she will respond "everywhere." At every moment, in every place, in every activity, there is an opportunity to connect directly with God. God is wherever we open to Him, so close to us we cannot see Him. Sometimes we wish that God were physical, so we could feel and touch Him, but then God would be separate from us. If God were physical, He would be limited to time and space, would occupy one space and therefore not be in another space. There can never be a total merger between things that are physical, because each one occupies its own space. God can be so close to us because God is not physical. God is everywhere, but to experience God, we need to let God into our lives. Meditation, prayer and doing good deeds to connect with God's Will create the channels to spiritually open, purify and expand our consciousness. If I am full of myself, I will not be open to the experience of God. I need to empty myself and allow God to be in me and with me. If we are open, we will feel God's presence within us for we are a part of God. We live in the midst of God. Because God is not physical and does not occupy space and time in the way that we do, it is not surprising that many may question God's existence. Even fervent God-believers are sometimes troubled with doubts and lapses in faith. Duties of the Heart, the wonderful classic book of Jewis Excerpted from New Age Judaism: Ancient Wisdom for the Modern World by Melinda Ribner All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.