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Something very odd happens to me when I lead workshops. For a small window of time — perhaps the duration of a weekend gathering — I am temporarily “okay” in a way I don’t quite experience in my daily life. Ordinarily, like many of us, I am usually embroiled with what George Bernard Shaw called “this bundle of grievances and ailments.” Yet somehow the gift of leadership that a group bestows allows me to set my own story aside and focus all of my attention on what others need. And trust me, that is no small achievement for someone like me who tends to gravitate more in the direction of introversion and self-obsession. With gratitude to the Great Mystery that does the work, I must confess that the results of my groups are always, without fail, incredibly magical and healing, and generate a tender love bath for both participants and myself.


I met Rabbi David and Shoshana Cooper at the Lama Foundation in 1987, and have been close friends and colleagues ever since. Twice a year for two decades, the three of us co-led 7-Day Silent Meditation Retreats, conducted in a Jewish context while drawing heavily on Buddhist teachings and meditation practices. My role was primarily to serve as the musician for our daily contemplative chanting service each morning. I also taught a daily afternoon class in the 5Rhythms™ movement practice as developed by Gabrielle Roth, and offered at least one evening of songs, stories, stand-up comedy and prayer. The retreats were a very precious time, and we literally had dozens of people who kept coming back year after year to dip once again into the holy cleansing waters of silence and sitting, singing and dancing, and to reconnect with their innermost Self. Sadly, our final retreat together took place in June of 2017, and Reb David left this world several years later.