Inspiration Report

Inspiration Report

Interfaith Pioneer Rabbi Joseph Gelberman Dies at 98

By Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway


Rabbi Joseph Gelberman, pioneer of the interfaith movement, died on September 9, 2010. He left us on Rosh Hashanah, a High Holiday considered a time of rebirth and new beginnings for people of the Jewish faith.  He was 98 years young.



Ailing with kidney failure, he had been hospitalized, but was back in his home, surrounded by loved ones.



As founder of The New Seminary for Interfaith Studies and The New Synagogue, Rabbi Gelberman taught  interfaith concepts in New York over 40 years. His was the first seminary devoted to the training of ministers who can serve people of all faiths.  Also a devout Jew and modern Hassidic Rabbi, he had a deep love of Jewish traditions, mystical Judaism and was also a lifelong yoga practitioner.  He coined the expression, “Never instead of, always in addition to,” to explain his interfaith philosophy.



He continued teaching courses in Kabbalah and offering a monthly synagogue service up until very recently. Rosh Hashanah services this year were beautifully conducted by Rabbi Roger Ross and Rabbi Stuart Paris, although Rabbi Gelberman’s presence was missed by all.


Rabbi Ross, associate rabbi of The New Synagogue for more than a dozen years and director of The New Seminary for Interfaith Studies, sent a message to the congregation and to former students of the Rabbi last night.



Dear ones, a great Sage and loving human being has passed,” he wrote. ” Our beloved Co-Founder Rabbi Joseph Gelberman (Chiam ben David v’ Esther) left this earth at 7:33pm 1 Tishri 5771 (9 September 2010). His passing was gentle and painless.”


“Rabbi always said the only way to live is in Joy and he would want to be remembered with that joy rather than with sadness.”



Many of Rabbi Gelberman’s students and congregants today remembered Rabbi for his great wisdom, love and awesome sense of humor – and for the mission that imparted to so many of us.


Herewith, I’d like to share an interview I did with Rabbi Gelberman in 1999, and a profile I wrote on him, for the book, What is Sprit? It tells so much about his inspiring spirit.



Rabbi Joseph Gelberman is a passionate pioneer and teacher of the interfaith approach to Spirit and worship. Raised in the Hasidic tradition and also a master of mystical Judaism, the Kabbalah, he was led by Spirit to create a forum for interfaith teachings in the 70’s called the New Seminary in New York. Upon his recent retirement at age 87, he founded the All Faiths School for Children, a program designed for interfaith couples who want to teach their children how to appreciate their heritage and to worship God through more than one religion. He also founded The All Faiths Seminary.



The Rabbi has been on a unique mission to unite people of all faiths and to do his part to end hatred, killing, destruction, and all forms of religious persecution. A spiritual leader known for his wisdom and humor, he comes to his mission through his own profound experiences with religious persecution-as a child in Hungary, and then again as a young rabbi, when his wife and young daughter were taken to Auschwitz by Nazis, never to be seen again.



Discovering Spirit was never an issue. Spirit was with him from the very start. “I come from a Hasidic background, and you live God every moment of your life, ” he says. “God is real and necessary because it is almost what you would call a hateful environment. Anti-Semitism surrounds you. As a child we’d walk miles to a Hebrew School, and my family never knew if I would come home alive; many times I would come home with blood all over face because I would pass a church and they would throw stones. So in that environment, God is very real because the only hope we had was that God would somehow interfere and keep us safe. We know God is there because I’m still alive.”



 Rabbi Gelberman embraces the idea that although religions are different, the intention is always the same-getting closer to God. Hi likes to illustrate his interfaith philosophy in the following way for the many students he has trained: “Imagine a blackboard, and in the middle of the blackboard are the names of all religions, Over the religions is a big ‘G’, meaning God. When you look at it, you realize we’re all going to the same place. Let’s help each other get there.”



What is Spirit?  Spirit is choice and embracing joy, according to Rabbi Gelberman. “The Buddha said that suffering is part of life.  We all suffer, but I don’t pay attention to that. I rejoice because it is a sign that I am still alive. If I did not feel anything, I would be dead. It came to me after the holocaust where I lost my family, my wife, my child, everything. I had a choice. Everybody has this choice. Either you continue to mourn for the rest of your life, and you see only the dark side of life, or you say, “I cannot do anything about them anymore but I can enrich my own life. In my case I continue their life in my life. Therefore, I add as much joy as I can, and recognize that joy is the thing God wants me to live.”



Rabbi Gelberman has been a chaplain in the United States Army and had many traditional pulpits. His last was in Princeton, where he got a visit from spirit. ” I was there for three years , and I was always a good pastor.  And one day, I don’t know how it happened, but I heard my soul crying. And the cry was, “You’re fine, you’re doing well, but you’re really not doing anything for yourself. You’re serving the congregation, but you’re really not growing.’ The message was to leave the traditional pulpit and go on my own.’



He came back to New York and took and apartment, where he taught classes. Then came several small  congregations, and eventually the Little Synagogue, which was opened for the Jewish High Holy Days. It is not rare to find people many people of other faiths greeting the Sabbath with the Rabbi. All are welcome and worship is free.

Leave a tribute or share a story about Rabbi Gelberman.


  • Sandra Lee Schubert

    I first met the Rabbi in 1993 when I began to study with him at the New Seminary when he was a constant presence back then. It was my privilege to study directly with him. Despite a very long illness I never missed a class and was honored to have the Rabbi acknowledge that dedication.
    Years later I officiates at my grandniece’s baby blessing. I have down the most lovely weddings and have been an active healer for years. All of this was because the Rabbi, in his wisdom, gave people a place to learn and to be the spiritual leaders they were meant to be. Thank you, Laurie for writing a wonderful acknowledgement of the Rabbi.

  • Edie Weinstein

    I have such fond memories of this man who when my husband Michael was in seminary, welcomed me along when we went on the ‘interfaith pilgrimage’. His hardy/hearty laugh accompanied us as we traipsed through NYC. He was in his 80’s at the time and recall his stamina was extraordinary.When Michael was dying, Rabbi Gelberman called mne at the hospital and told me that it wasn’t Michael’s time just yet, since he “Had more ‘verk to do.” Clearly he did, since a few more weeks would go by, before my husband made his transition. When he did, I joined the class, finished the course work and graduated. At that point, Rabbi Gelberman was moving on to his new program. I do remember his chanting….”I am ready, I am ready, I am ready….” in encouraging us to answer the Call of Spirit. I laugh when thinking that we used to imagine he was singing instead. “I am the Rebbe, I am the Rebbe, I am the Rebbe.” in his thickly accented voice.
    I am blessed to have known him. Beautiful tribute, Laurie Sue.

  • Rev. Dr. Irene Goldberg

    Beloveds, I studied with Rebbe from 2005-2008, the last 2 years we had weekly calls together. I can see him now, being greeted by trumpeters and fireworks, singing and dancing during his ascension. I must remind myself to sing and dance his praises. His presence will be missed. He would always remind me,All Is In Divine Order! And we all know his legacy is us, his beloved students who have taken his joy and light into our own communities and ministered with his teachings. He loved with abandon and let in our love the same way. He relished teaching.
    And he had that terrific smile which made each us feel we were his true love. Thank you my darling Rebbe, Blessing to each of us as we mourn our beloved Rebbe. Laurie Sue, thanks for honoring him so.

  • Walter Ian Kaye

    I met him in the early to mid 1980s at the monthly Interfaith services in midtown Manhattan, along with the others like Jon Mundy, et al. I think I used to perform there too; I forget; I was treasurer for a while. My mom knew him too, and sent me to him for counseling, hehe.
    He was a very dear man whom everyone loved.
    My mom passed a couple of years ago, so they’re probably talking about me right now, lol.

  • Rabbi Torey Bowen

    I feel so fortunate to have spent time learning with Rabbi Gelberman. As a student at the Rabbinical Seminary International, I had the amazing opportunity to hear constant words of inspiration and joy from this special human being. Rebbe had endured so much pain and heartache in his life, yet chose to see only the positive. He taught me such wonderful lessons and for that, I will always be thankful. One of the greatest experiences of my life was receiving smicha from him.
    Rabbi Gelberman was famous for his sense of humor, which was intact even when he was under the weather. He loved to sing and dance in celebration of simply being alive. His passion for life was infectious and like nothing I have ever witnessed before.

  • Rev. Virginia Bishop

    I will miss Rebbe. As a student of All Faith’s Seminary, it was a honor and privilege to be able to stuy and learn from him. If it were not for his seminary, his widsom, his direction, and his love and joy for all, I would not have followed my journey. I am now a hospice chaplain in Florida, and this is all due to the companionship of Rebbe during my journey to find my path. Every day I sing, I am ready… I am ready…. I am ready…. and remember his contagious smile laugh, and say from the bottom of my heart, Thank You Rebbe……you have completed a job very well done…….your reward will be abundant!!!

  • Anahi Galante

    My e-mail signature is “This is the Day! That God has made for you and me, to be glad in it! Rejoice and live passionately!” This signature reflects my passion and joy for life but most importantly, bespeaks of Rabbi Gelberman’s theology and teachings: they were based in the joy of being alive. He deconstructed for us the word LIFE as Loving unconditionally, Inspiring always, Forgiving unconditionally and Eliciting reconciliation and peace. His teachings always resonated within me very deeply and my years of worshiping at The New Synagogue in addition to becoming an Interfaith Minister at the All Faith Seminary International had definitely marked the rest of my life by living with passion each moment.
    May his soul rest in peace! I rejoice on the knowledge that he is now with the communion of saints who tend to us, comforting and inspiring us to do “the good and the beautiful” as we would have asked us to do, when he posed the question “ARE YOU READY?”

  • Rev. Anahi Galante

    My e-mail signature is “This is the Day! That God has made for you and me, to be glad in it! Rejoice and live passionately!” This signature reflects my passion and joy for life but most importantly, bespeaks of Rabbi Gelberman’s theology and teachings: they were based in the joy of being alive. He deconstructed for us the word LIFE as Loving unconditionally, Inspiring always, Forgiving unconditionally and Eliciting reconciliation and peace. His teachings always resonated within me very deeply and my years of worshiping at The New Synagogue in addition to becoming an Interfaith Minister at the All Faiths Seminary International had definitely marked the rest of my life by living with passion each moment.
    May his soul rest in peace! I rejoice on the knowledge that he is now with the communion of saints who tend to us, comforting and inspiring us to do “the good and the beautiful” as we would have asked us to do, when he posed the question “ARE YOU READY?”

  • http://Correction Rev. Dyan Parker

    Rabbi Gelberman was the founder not cofounder of the Interfaith movement. He founded the seminary because he wanted to promote understanding amongst all religions of the world in an effort to abolish hate. His theory was that hate and understanding cannot coexist.
    Thank you for writing a beautiful tribute to my friend of 44 years,rabbi, teacher and sage.I would be grateful if this correction were made as soon as possible.

  • Rabbi Arthur Rosenberg

    “I have sent an angel before you to keep you on your way.” (Ex.23:20). For many of us Rabbi Gelberman was such an angel and his teachings were designed to keep us on our way.
    We are not supposed to mingle joy with sorry; joy always trumps sorrow as our tradition teaches and as R. Gelberman would say. But I can’t help feeling a sadness and a heaviness in my heart for the empty chair.
    May the One who grants peace on high welcome a great spirit and may we be comforted knowing that for a time, he walked with us and we with him. Rest in peace teacher, friend, maker of peace.

  • Rachel Gelberman Atlas

    My dear uncle Joseph
    My uncle Joseph was the great brother of my father Efraim Gelberman.
    Uncle Joseph was the last child that survive to parents David and Ester Gelberman
    It’s a great missing to hear that our uncle Joseph is not with us anymore.
    Yesterday its 1 Tishray 5771, and it is symbol day.
    Uncle Joseph was one of the great man that I know in my life. When I was in U.S.A. and when he came to Israel we talk about the life and the mining of life very much. I learn to him about the mining of this life and how can i take it. I loved him so much. I Cray that he go away and I pried after him that maybe he will bring peace on the world. I know it is a dream but I want its come thru.
    Yesterday I send to Uncle Joseph “SHANA TOVA”, it was in 7:30 pm. I hope he still was with us.
    Love Rachel Gelberman Atlas

  • Kenneth Cohen

    I graduated from the New Seminary in 1989 and had the honor to study with this great man only briefly. Yet, as Rabbi was quick to point out, spirituality is not a matter of time. I remember one of my classmates asking Rabbi, just a few days before the ordination, “Isn’t two or three years too short a period to understand the world’s religions, to understand God?” Rabbi replied, penetratingly, “And how long do you think it takes?” A lifetime is too short. A moment is too long. I did not contact Rabbi over the years. There was no need. He is a mountain I respect, but only climb if the need is there. Instead, I have tried to honor his teachings by sharing the wisdom and joy he so easily inspired. He is back with that divine mystery — YHVH — from which he never departed.

  • Ellis Adler

    I woke up this morning and while getting dressed I thought I should look up Rabbi Gelberman on the internet. I had not thought about him in a long time. Wow! It is such a affirmation of my higher power.
    I was the second graduating class of the New Seminary in 1984. Rabbi Gelberman was and still is to this day an incredible influence on my life as a person. The first class I ever had with him 26 years ago he said something that I still use everyday of my life. I call it the formula….”love+joy=the power of enthusiasm. I have read “To be fully Alive” many time in the past years.
    I am so happy to have been touched by this special “spiritual walker”
    If someone could tell me if there will be a memorial service I would love to attend.
    Blessings and Thanks

  • Shana Olen

    Rabbi Gelberman was a beloved friend, teacher, and spiritual father to me for 35 years. He was there for me as he was for thousands of others who were lost and needed direction. He was a great sage and a true light and inspiration. True to his nature may his journey be joyous. I will love him always.

  • REv. Mandara

    Rabbi Gelberman was my beloved teacher at the New Seminary. Keep on teaching in your new form Rabbi! We will aways hold you dear to our hearts!!
    Rev. Mandara

  • Rev. Tony Paterniti

    I am grateful to have known him, and continue to apply several key principles I learned from him to this day. A real high point for me was singing my song “Mercy” to begin an interfaith service he held in Queens back in 1996, and then enjoying his Kabbalah workshop that afternoon. Years later, my wife and I studied at the New Seminary (first year) and graduated and were ordained from One Spirit (second year).
    I haven’t seen him for several years, but he has never left my thoughts, loving memories and conversations. Just like Imam Feisal (who is so in the news lately, and who I first met at The New Seminary), I need only see Rabbi Gelberman’s photo and my heart smiles, remembering his deep and profound love for God.
    And as a follower of Avatar Meher Baba, I have always felt that Rabbi Gelberman was allowing himself to be used as a main vehicle for living out Baba’s words, “I will revitalize all religions and cults, and bring them together like beads on one string.”
    God bless you, Rabbi, and a Very Happy Onward Journey to You!

  • Sheila Danzig

    Rabbi Gelberman was my teacher, my inspiration and my friend. He officiated the wedding of my son and daughter in law and it was an absolute joyous occasion. Rabbi lived in the moment and loved life. He taught all who he touched how to be joyous. I will miss him.

  • Tom Spector

    Rabbi Gelberman dealt with a troublesome leg for many years. One day I saw him walking and mentioned, ‘Rabbi, you’re walking much better today’. He replied, ‘Yes, but do I walk the talk?’ No doubt, Rabbi Gelberman did walk the talk. He was his teachings in motion. His joy of life, sense of humor, love of God, and love of all people were totally contagious. I can feel him now walking the talk right up to the Source and into the hearts of all who were fortunate to have met him.

  • dpkjj

    Many years ago I went to a Passover Seder at the Little Synagogue with a friend who had converted to Christianity but kept all his Jewish traditions and beliefs. He was very influenced by Rabbi Gelberman.
    I will never forget that service. I was made to feel so welcome. The service was cool (guitars and all), and the meal held after the service was wonderful. Everyone was warm, welcoming and inclusive.
    God Bless you, Rabbi, and may you rest in peace.

  • Lauren Zinn

    When I first met Rabbi, I knew I had found my inspiration. I was soon ordained in 2002 (All Faiths Seminary). Because of him, a role model for taking Jewish practice beyond its limits, I led a congregation for intermarried jews and I still teach through my own independent hebrew school, the children from these couples. I follow the Rabbi’s example, Never Instead of, Always in Addition to, so that these children may celebrate both sides of their heritage. It does not feel like the Rabbi has left, perhaps because his message is so pervasive, and needed right now. But I miss him nonetheless.

  • Nancy Cronk

    May his beloved memory always be for a blessing.

  • Jan Gelberman

    Joseph and I were married for 32 years. My beloved and I enjoyed a beautiful life together. We shared so many experiences and joy together. I loved him so very, very much. Part of my sole has passed away with him. Joseph will always be in my thoughts til the day I die. May G-d continue to watch over him and may his spirit live on forever. G-d love you, my beloved.



  • Your NameGloria Beil-Phillips

    Rabbi Gelberman married my husband Jason and I on October 11, 1987, and just recently we were thinking of him, and asking if he could sign our anniversary Ketuba. (As we live in California, we did not know that he was ailing.) Our hearts are so saddened upon hearing of his passing. But we must remember, as we celebrate this time of Remembrance, his sweetness, loving spirit, ll his contributions, all that he had to overcome, and the joy he imparted and wanted us to have. At this time of discord, his Interfaith message, his love, and inclusiveness is needed more than ever, to be remembered. I also studied with him, Kabbalah, and his message, that ‘All paths lead to the same Truth’ resonates more than ever.
    G-d Bless his Soul, and ‘thank you G-d for the Rabbi’s life’…

  • Rev. Lorraine Blum

    I was just thinking yesterday of going to New York to visit the Rabbi. I already miss him so much. He is so dear and precious to me. I do not know how I will tell my son (Rabi did his bar Mitzvah and often visited.) Though my son has not seen him for several years he will be heartbroken. I know the Rabbi is in a very good realm and happy as usual. God Bless him and take him on the grand tour, he has much he can do there.

  • Rev. Tracey Moe

    It is my loss to never have met you this life in person ~ your great spirit lives through your beloved Rev. Diane Berke, my teacher mentor and friend, as well as the many others with whom I gain fellowship at One Spirit Interspiritual Seminary who honored you as brother Rabbi and beloved Anam Cara.
    Namaste Pace Shalom Sweet Peace

  • Carol Silverstein

    I was a congregant at the Little Synagogue on Barrow Street. I will never forget when Rabbi Gelberman blessed a newly engaged couple. She was a little plump and plain and he was a tatooed biker complete with leather vest (and nothing underneith) and chains. This was before the popularity of tatoos. “I wonder what he is going to say,” I thought. Rabbi put his arms around them and announced, “What a lovely couple!”
    And that was our beloved Rabbi, always with a peace sign around his neck and a twinkle in his eye.
    He married my husband and me twenty years later.
    I will never forget his loving embrace. How lucky we were to have him.

  • Therese Shakti

    I will never forget his words in June.” Do you know how many people who go to sleep in this world every day, and never get to wake up? Thousands, ten thousands, hundred thousands… Do you know what I say when I wake up? I AM ALIVE!!!” Rest in peace Rabbi Gelberman, your light will live and shine forever. Om namoh narayanaya.

  • nina colman

    Rabbi Gelberman came to this country with my grandparents, Moritz and Lillian Kalman from Hungary — and loved to tell stories about those first years in New York. He had his first ‘temple’ in their home in Queens and then on Park Avenue. He Bar Mitzvahed my uncle, Alex Colman in 1941 and my father, Eugene Colman in 1943. He married my parents in 1957. When I was engaged, and wanting to get married on New Year’s Eve (which was a Friday) I was told there was no one who would marry us. My mother said, call Rabbi Gelberman. No one else thought he could possibly still be alive and working. But, he was and he could not have been more pleased to hear from us and told us how without my grandparents, he would not have been in this country. He presided over my wedding on New Year’e Eve, 1993 and made everyone cry — my father was no longer with us but his memories of him as a boy brought him into the room.
    He was a wonderful man.

  • Rev. Edwin Goldberg

    Rabbi Gelberman saved the day for my family in early 1970’s. He taught my son to read Hebrew in preparation for his Bar Mitzvah when no Rabbi or teacher was available on a one to one basis, ten months before the simcha was to be held. In less than a year, my son proudly stood before his family and chanted his haftorah as though he had studied for many years in a traditional shul.
    The Bar Mitzvah ceremony was exciting and dynamic, relatives parading around the seats with Torah held close to their heart, singing a negun and rejoicing in this event of a lifetime. A few years have passed since that time, but two aunts, ages 95 & 99 vividly recall this milestone in my son’s life. Their faces light up when retelling recollections of the Gelberman shul, and the dancing and joy experienced.


    Rabbi Gelberman will forever be etched in this family’s memory. He was an important part of our lives for countless years—bar-mitzvahs, weddings, social togetherness, travel, Jewish services, and so much more. The good rabbi was our house guest. He was also responsible for getting this writer booked at the Woodstock Hotel near Times Square.
    How coincidental that I spoke of Rabbi Gelberman while conducting Rosh Hashanah services aboard the Solstice cruise ship last week.He must have been trying to reach me.
    His special qualities make him a special soul.
    May he enjoy eternal rest in the embrace of Hashem.
    Sid Kleiner

  • Rev. Barbara ‘Adeshina’ Dominick

    Rabbi Gelberman’s Angelic spirit was ever so magical. His patience, generosity, loving acceptance, sense of humor, and phenomenal wisdom was a constant source of joy and inspiration. His open heart and love for all life was infectious. As Rabbi Gelberman graciously exemplified the power of forgiveness, I’ve come to realize that this is a most powerful tool for healing. It helps us to release the things in our lives that no longer serve us, so we can be open to the freedom of living life with genuine Love and Joy; and to share that Love and Joy with the world. Studying with Rabbi Gelberman was more than a course in Interfaith Ministry. It was a loving and supportive invitation for the student to take a journey inward, to the Divine nature of our very being, and ultimately to find the unconditional love and acceptance that resides within the heart for all living beings. Studying with Rabbi Gelberman was a transformative experience, a sacred anointing that opened the heart and liberated the spirit.

  • Rukmini Diane Maria Bongiorni

    Rabbi Gelberman always electrified me whenever he spoke. I have had the privilege of hearing him speak often at the Sivananda Ashrams in New York and in the Bahamas. A very special person, full of love, and blessed by God.

  • Valerie Gomes, (kalavati)

    I met Rabbi Gelberman at the SIvananda Yoga Ashram on Paradise Island in the Bahamas many years ago. He had been part of the Christmas/ New Years Symposium celebration which honors and celebrates all faiths and all religions. He personified love, joy, enthusiasm and inclusion and always made us laugh, and feel unified with his stories and his zest for life. He was just so sweet and funny without trying to be. He cracked me up during his entire presentation last year, we were all hysterical. His joy and sense of humor were contagious, his child like excitement and enthusiasm will be missed at the Ashram this year, but I know his playful spirit and smile will live on in everyone who knew him. I will always remember his beautiful warm loving smile and the little twinkle in his eyes. God bless you Rabbi Gelberman.

  • grayson

    I took Kabbalah classes w/ Rabbi Gelberman when he wintered in Florida: at the end of each class we would dance. I just found out about his death via a Rabbi on Twitter. I most remember the unfailing energy of compassion joy and lovingkindness that the Rabbi exuded. We learned facts about Kabbalah but we experienced a model of spiritual being through being in his presence. When I think of his dying on Rosh Hashanah – I think how appropriate — he wished the world good tidings and blessings for the coming year — always –
    I feel so privileged to have met and known him for the short time that I did. I am fortunate to live in Southeast Florida – I am so thankful our climate lured him here to be with us! He gave all of us who knew him a lesson in being!

  • Gill

    I have and always will have fond memories of Rabbi Gelberman. He officiated at my wedding and offered a wonderful and meaningful ceremony for my wife and I. His presence and being was a tremendous blessing for all of us as his message was always very uplifting and focused on joy and appreciation. Rabbi Gelberman’s light, life, and teachings will live on forever in our memories.
    Rabbi Gelberman, you are now one of HaShem’s angels, spreading your light in the heavens above. May your light also shine down upon us here on Earth, as you are also our guardian angel, our angel of peace and joy.
    May your memory be for a blessing.

  • Sheila Kurtz

    I have the fondest memories of Rabbi Gelberman. He taught my son for his B Mitzvah. He didnt want to have one but at the time my father was dying and he did it to honor him/ The ceremony was over a tool shop in the west 20s. He did healing and brought my father into the room spiritually. They had never met. after the service was over we could not find the Rabbi. Turned out he found out what hospital my father was in. he went over and introduced himself and gave my father a healing service. My father Sam walked for the first time in weeks. They turned out to be very similar in nature and became fast friends. He officiated at his funeral

  • Rev. Joan Wolensky, DD, MSC, RM

    In gratitude to Rabbi Joseph Gelberman and in celebration of his Ministry of Light, it is a privilege to have been ordained by this Interfaith Pioneer. Many of his lessons took the form of puzzling questions–“So, why are you so quiet, why are you so sad? What is your answer to someone in this place?”–As students, we sat dumbfounded, contemplating his questions. “It is a time for you to sing, do you have a song? It is a time for you to dance. It is time for you to thank God-start the music,dance!!”–he stated as his laughter resounded throughout the room. Without thinking, we were on our feet, singing and dancing– joining him, holding hands and celebrating out Oneness. His teachings “Look at the sameness in everyone, there are many paths back Home to one God.– Never instead of, always in addition to.– I am ready”….at all times and without thinking his light became ours. During Ordination at St.John Divine Cathedral in NYC, we sang, danced, drummed and celebrated our sameness–that God chose us, we said Yes!! We were all in the cathedral, all faiths dancing and singing under one roof and no one was fighting–celebrating our Oneness–a message for the whole world –what an extraordinary privilege to have known such a man with a vision and a heart to live his dream. He taught–” We dance and are surrounded by angels at all times, we are never alone”–Beloved Rabbi Gleberman, thank you and may you celebrate God’s Light and Love, singing and dancing with His Holy Angels. Rest in peace my teacher. We will meet again. “Sorrow is Not forever, LOVE IS”.

  • Louis McKenzie

    Rabbi Gelberman
    Now what? Do you know I remember my time with you just like it was yesterday. It is not a wonder that you decided to go at this time. SO MANY GREAT PEOPLE have gone the schools that are deing formed are really going to be fantastic. I see it Rabbi I am very excited about it, I believe you are one of the great minds of Kabala I am certain you will be teaching the people to be Kabala….
    Baruch atah Adonai Elohenu Melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvohtav vetzi vonu l’chad leek ner, shel Shabbat. Amayn.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Naniwea Disgonihi

    I was a follower of Don Cardinal(Cree Medicine Man),a good friend of Rabbi Gelberman’ (Ihad attended the New Seminary back in the 80’s.It is with great sadness that I learned of his death,Don Cardinal passed away approx.two years ago in Canada.Once again two very special,and beatiful spirits are reunited in the hereafter. To hi,Naniwea

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Nouhad

    I wish there are more like him in this world then there would be less suffering and less hatred. I never met him or even heard of him before but after reading about his just now, it makes me wonder why there isn’t more out there that feel what he felt. That after all religion does not matter if we are all working towards one goal to know God. That is all I wanted to share.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Rev, Vera DeCicco

    I had the joy of attending the New seminary in 1983-84 with Rabbi Gelberman. It changed my life and saved my life. I am eternally grateful for his insight, joy and love. A man whose vision is a model for many interfaith organizations today. You live in our hearts always.
    Rev. Vera

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Eva Har-Even

    I have heard about Rabbi Gelberman in 1990 at just the right time in my life and knew immediately that he was my teacher. I have studied with him at the New Seminary and will remember him and the revelations he has brought to me and to my fellow students forever. We became friends by virtue of his beautiful spirit and the Hungarian background we share as Jews who lost close family in the war and were inspired by evil to be loving and kind, forgiving and joyful. The other choice would have been unthinkable, no “eye for an eye” belief system was possible for us. Somehow, I have not heard about his passing until a few days ago. He will continue to stay in my memories as a beloved teacher and a kind hearted human being. When I think of him, I look up with a joyful smile on my face.

  • DBD, PhD

    Find and Hold On to that Truth before your day comes… It’s awesome to know there is hope for even me! This book is definitely worth the reading if you are seeking some truth and joy for your life.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jeff Kaplan

    I am thinking of you today, my rabbi. you’re teachings are in my soul – every day (even if I fall short on most occasions!).

  • Louis Lamontagne

    Great man that I met in Val Morin, Quebec at a Sivananda Ashram in 2005 or around that time.


    a very great man, im his brothers grand grand son & met once 7 years ago,
    id realy like to get more info about him.

  • Susan

    Rabbi Gelberman performed our wedding ceremony June 1990. I first met him in 1976. I had a great deal of respect for him.

Previous Posts

Poem: In The End
Today’s guest blogger is poet Tara Sophia Mohr Learn more about Tara’s poetry ...

posted 4:30:02pm Oct. 24, 2012 | read full post »

A Quote to Live By
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." Henry David Thoreau Whatever you were put on this earth to do, do it today. Don't delay. Don't look back. Run like crazy towards your passion and watch God ...

posted 9:22:40am Aug. 01, 2012 | read full post »

People Who Do Good: A Cake that Makes a Difference
Our "People Who Do Good" series has been a blast and I've enjoyed highlighting the stories and lives of everyday heroes. This one comes to us from writer Rebecca Brittingham who traveled to Florida to find a cake-maker with a heart for the less ...

posted 12:10:27am Jul. 30, 2012 | read full post »

The Problem with Pain
I’ve heard people say, “How do I get over something if it still hurts?” And yes, forgiveness is key, whether it’s aimed towards yourself or someone else. However, it’s not really the main issue. What people really want to know is, ...

posted 11:06:30am Jul. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Oprah and Marianne Williamson on Super Soul Sunday
Photo Credit: OWN / George Burns We have a number of bloggers and writers here who have been inspired  by the writings of Marianne Williamson. Her debut book, A Return to Love, reflected A Course in Miracles for a new generation. She first ...

posted 4:53:44pm Jul. 26, 2012 | read full post »


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