Teachers & Leaders
Rabbi Jonathan Omer-Man
Before arriving in Southern California, Jonathan Omer-Man, founder and now Rabbi Emeritus at Metivta, spent 26 years in Jerusalem, where he worked and studied with some of the foremost scholars and practitioners of Jewish mysticism, all the while earning his livelihood in publishing. In 1981, he was invited to Los Angeles by leaders of the Jewish community, who were concerned with what they perceived as a serious problem of Jews joining cults; after a few months, he convinced his employers that the true challenge was to respond to the fact that many Jews, having experienced some kind of awakening, felt alienated from the Jewish religious institutions that they found to be empty and non-pertinent. From then on, he focused his energy on two planes: on the counseling and teaching of individuals and groups, and on sensitizing the Jewish establishment to issues of spirituality and training rabbis. All of these activities merged in Metivta, the first meditation school in the U.S., and from which a number of fine teachers have emerged.
Now retired, he lives in Berkeley with his wife Nan and is devoting much more time to the cultivation of new friendships. He has added Classical Arabic and Sufism to a still rigorous regimen of study, has joined a Conservative synagogue—where he delights in praying from the back row and not leading from the front—but has drastically cut back on his teaching. After a hiatus of many years, he has returned to his old passion of writing and is in the process of publishing Perpetual Pilgrim, a collection of 25+ years' worth of his teachings, funded exclusively through public donations (click here to donate).
For more information on Rabbi Omer-Man, please visit his Perpetual Pilgrim blog.
Rabbi Ivan Ickovits
Rabbi Ivan Ickovits is a teacher of Jewish spiritual practice. Originally trained as a physicist, Ivan worked for more than twenty five years in aerospace and continues in his love of research by exploring ancient spiritual texts. He combines the insights of modern physics with those of the spiritual practices found in these texts, providing a living connection with Jewish tradition relevant in today’s dynamic modern environment.
Cantor Joel Stern
Paul Wolff, Maggid