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.
This Spring 3/28-5/16, Spiritual traditions around the world find times, often at periods coinciding with cycles of the planet, to come together as a community and deepen their practice. Muslims intensify practice during Ramadan, Zen Buddhists practice at Ango, the rainy season. Jewish people for millennia have come together during Sefirat Ha’omer, Hebrew for the Counting of the Harvest, the 49 days starting on the evening following Passover eve. Join a 7-week (8 sessions) series with Lab/Shul’s community weaving contemplative practices of meditation, music, prayer, art, teachings, and presence-based sharing. Jewish, multi-religious space and open to all.
Peacemaking, healing and bearing witness to the ancestral bond, and trauma, of the people of 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.
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Online private, live one-on-one training & coaching available.
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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.
“…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
The Territory is My Body: On the Indigenous Leaders Workshop in Colombia
Zen Peacemakers Blog, January 2018
- Devotion To The FogLate-Stage Pandemic Is Not Messing With Your Brain, It Is Showing You The Nature of The SelfLate-Stage Pandemic Is […]
- Reflection on the One World Bearing Witness 2020 Vigil, Personal Lineages, and Planetary Ancestral PeacemakingPainted at Machu Picchu, Peru, May […]
- Dr. Ahmad Jaber, I sat next to you in an interfaith dialog circle for several years. “Brother Rami, you are […]
VIDEOS, GUIDED MEDITATION & TALKS
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