Jewish Renewal movement

Affirming Life, Right To The End

The founder of the Jewish Renewal movement (with the help of a ‘skeptical’ author) offers a spiritual roadmap for facing mortality.

Culture Editor

The late Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, who died earlier this month just short of his 90th birthday, said that he’d been training himself since he was young for the moment he would die. As a yeshiva student, he’d ride the subway to Brooklyn and would imagine that he was ready to depart from life, and would tell himself that he’d be gone from life by the next station. Then he would repeat the “Shema” to himself several times, so that he would be saying the ancient prayers with his last breath.

Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, with author Sara Davidson

The Healing Of Reb Zalman

For founder of Jewish Renewal, no successor but ‘a community of successors.’

Associate Editor

For most of the 20th century, liberal Judaism, proud of its rational, academic underpinnings, had distanced itself  from — sometimes even disparaging — the mystical, fanciful chasidim of Eastern Europe. And yet, by the 1960s and increasingly with every decade since, Rabbi Zalman Schachter — or Reb Zalman as he preferred — mystical and fanciful, became the rebbe of the disconnected.

Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, third from left, with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama in 2004.

‘His Love Outsized His Fear’

Remembering Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, founder of the Jewish Renewal movement.

Special To The Jewish Week

He was my friend, teacher, purveyor of love and joy, and literary collaborator.

We published “The December Project: An Extraordinary Rabbi and a Skeptical Seeker Confront Life’s Greatest Mystery” (HarperOne 2014) in March. Three months later, on July 3, at the age of 89, Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi died — and he was ready.

The author and Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. Carl Studna

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi Dies at 89

Father of the Jewish Renewal movement and legendary spiritual leader.

Staff Writer

Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, father of the Jewish Renewal movement and a Holocaust survivor, died today at age 89 in Boulder, Colo. The news was announced by his wife, Eve Ilsen, on the online journal she used to chart his health complications.

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
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