American metaphysical Judaism draws on traditional Jewish practices and texts as well as the American metaphysical religious tradition. This article challenges the relegation of American metaphysical Judaism to the category “New Age Judaism” and opens the door to exploring this area of religious expression in its historical and current forms. Drawing on my fieldwork with, and the writings of, rabbi and shaman Gershon Winkler, I offer an ethnographic exploration of Winkler’s life and religious practice as an example of American metaphysical Judaism. Winkler reads Hebrew scriptures through his “shamanic” lens, looking for what he claims has been lost, overlooked or misinterpreted in traditional Jewish interpretations; focuses on healing through manipulation of energy and “flow;” and incorporates (his construction of) Native American religious practice and insight. I argue that metaphysical Judaism should be understood as a product of American values, metaphysical spirituality and Jewish history and thought.
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Research Article| November 01 2013
American Metaphysical Judaism: Rabbi and Shaman Gershon Winkler
Nova Religio (2013) 17 (2): 24–39.
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Celia E. Rothenberg; American Metaphysical Judaism: Rabbi and Shaman Gershon Winkler. Nova Religio 1 November 2013; 17 (2): 24–39. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nr.2013.17.2.24
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