RAMI AVRAHAM EFAL

Meditation & Ritual / Presence-Based Communication
Bearing Witness & Peacemaking / Creativity
& Imagination

RAMI AVRAHAM EFAL, Israel-born, is a dharma holder in the Zen Peacemakers Lineage and student of the late Zen Buddhist teacher Bernie Glassman. Avraham has been practicing meditation since 2005 and has lived and trained for four years at Zen Mountain Monastery and the Zen Center of New York City. He is the former executive director of Zen Peacemakers International and has organized and co-led the Bearing Witness retreats in Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Native American Bearing Witness programs. Today, Avraham is the Rabbinic Fellow at Lab/Shul, an artist-driven Jewish ritual community, and offers secular, Jewish and Buddhist spirituality with cross-cultural peace-building practices, nonviolent communication, art-making, and contemplative creativity in New York City & internationally. He is a contributing associate at Justlabs, a global think-tank re-envisioning human rights, and a board member at Greyston Foundation for thriving communities and dismantling obstacles for employment in southwest Yonkers, New York. He currently undergoes rabbinic and cantorial training with the Aleph Ordination Program.

Join Rami’s online practice group for meditation, musical Jewish prayer (in Hebrew & English,) and learning opportunities.

Use the contact form on the bottom of this page.

Recently Completed

The Hebrew vocabulary holds nearly twenty words for yearning. Just like water seeks outlet, so do humans, yearn – for something immediate, intimate, creative, and loving, which spiritual seekers have explored for millennia. Craving and desire are often framed as something to transcend or discard. What if one can follow yearning in body and consciousness into the very spacious, loving, and Presence that one seeks, and gain insight into the nature of the Self, itself? This 4-week series, through meditation, art practice, facilitated sharing, and musical prayer, explored twelve of these nuanced words and the experiences they describe, their paths into embodied presence, and their unique insights into nature of the self.

Additional themes: *Weaving devotion with awareness practices *Weaving mindfulness with mysticism *Personal & ancestral trauma *Relationship to Buddhist models of craving *Relevance to needs-based communication modalities i.e. nonviolent communication *The universality of yearning, relevance to world suffering & conflict * Zen Peacemakers Three Tenets: Not Knowing, Bearing Witness and Taking action

More Offerings

Photo by Cira Crowell 2015 (c)

HEBREW PEACEMAKER

In the spirit of the Peacemakers movement founded by Rami’s Zen teacher Roshi Bernie Tetsugen Glassman, Hebrew Peacemaker follows the principles of Not Knowing, Bearing Witness and Taking Action. Hebrew Peacemaker responds to Social Justice, Climate and Humanitarian needs of our planet acknowledging the cultural, political and power complexity and multi-faceted richness of present-day Jewish people & ancestry.

THE ZEHAVA FUND

Proceeds from Rami’s offerings are gifted regularly in the name of his mother Zehava Efal’s, as charitable donations to organizations serving in the field of ecology, human rights, humanitarian aid, peace-building, reparations and spirituality. Zehava z”l was a beloved wife, daughter, mother, and counselor of youth, who died at the age of 46.

Peacemaking in Palestine and Israel is central to Rami’s mission. He has worked for the Dialogue Project in NYC, volunteered with Breaking The Silence, advocated with American Friends of Combatants for Peace, was featured on NPR and at UN headquarters. Rami is available to present and facilitate tough & honest conversations in communities, especially in the diaspora Jewish world and in multi-faith spaces.

Private Online one-on-one training & coaching available, in meditation, spiritual direction, ritual leading and creativity. Informed by trauma-informed mindfulness, nonviolent communication (NVC), Way of Council, cross-cultural peace-building and art modalities.

Purchase Original Artwork by Rami, or reproductions printed on premium products.

Disclaimer on Buddhist Practice and Cultural Humility

I acknowledge with gratitude and humility that I have inherited transformative Buddhist Dharma teachings and practices from mostly male and some female ancestors from culturally Buddhist countries such as Japan, China, Korea, Burma, India and more. I acknowledge that I and many others joined Buddhist communities as adults. I was not born into a family that practiced Buddhism in a way that was embedded within a broader regional or national culture. My dharma ancestors adapted expressions of the dharma according to their cultures & eras. Buddhism changed when it passed from Indian to China, and on and on. As I bear witness to the Buddhadharma continuing its 2500-year unfolding around the planet, I continue that tradition of adaptation. I and other buddhist leaders will change customs that were specific to other times and places.

This turn of the dharma wheel is different in that modern western white-dominated powers have inflicted war and suffering on Buddhist and Asian nations, and that the transmission of the buddha dharma between nations and cultures for 2000 years now has in it a unique power dynamic, and trauma.

Therefore, I aim to practice cultural humility in honoring the Buddhist teachings’ origins, today’s descendants of those who stewarded them to me, the power dynamics at play, and to be in a continuous honest relationship with a variety of Buddhist cultures and experiences.”

Whom will one forgive if not one’s enemies? On Obon, the Japanese Day of the Dead, it is believed that the spirits of ancestors visit the homes of their families, and the living set paper lanterns on river waters to illuminate their path back to the netherworld. This year, in the midst of a bloody and decades long clan war, the festivities halt as the Okumura troops return from battle, carrying along with their wounded and fallen, the captive daugthers of their enemy. For samurai Oda and his two children, Ryoan and Kaimen, this homecoming begins a chain of events both intimate and violent, revealing harsh truths about themselves and their war, that will change each one of them forever.

Original graphic novel, 6″x9″ 192 pp, black and white, $18 (+shipping), ISBN 978-0-578-07662-1

“…Acknowledging that man-made horrors exist, and will continue to exist, but that each of us still holds the ability to choose not to let these horrors define us. Stunning and dynamic, demonstrating a keen sense of composition, cinematography and lighting… Efal takes the narrative equivalent of a deep, cleansing breath… one of the most impressive, thoughtful debut graphic novels.“ – The Comics Journal


WRITING AND MEDIA

Passover in Piraeus
A series of reflections from a week in a refugee camp in Greece, April 2016

On Bearing Witness in Auschwitz Birkenau
Jewish Ancestral Healing Podcast September 2020

Read on Stepping in as Rabbinic Fellow
Lab/Shul, December 2020

The Territory is My Body: On the Indigenous Leaders Workshop in Colombia
Zen Peacemakers Blog, January 2018

CONTACT

CONTACT with comments, questions, or inquiries about private secular, Buddhist and/or Jewish Meditation and Presence-Based Communication Coaching.

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