would have thought a knock on the head would guide me to my life's
work? It is true! My parents of blessed memory are
Hungarian Shoah survivors. They wanted their children to be part
of Judaism's chain of transmission, so I attended Yeshivah as a
child. The school's philosophy required adhesion to rigid,
patriarchal, and ethnocentric rules. We were taught that
deviations from the school's rules would anger an intolerant and stern
G-d resulting in punishment. I released this Judaism at an early
age wishing never to return.
The shadow of the Shoah
impacted every facet of my life. I worked diligently and
tirelessly when as young woman and becoame an electronics engineer trying
to prove myself worthy. I expected financial security would mitigate
the feargnawing in my belly. Shabbos, that is a cessation from
work, was not in my consciousness a bit. I was "wed" to
work. My life was fully scheduled and programmed.
On what turned out to be Shabbat Tisha B'Av
5755/1995, on mile 49 of a 50 mile bike ride I fell and sustained a
serious head injury. My friend, Linda Eaton, rescued me from
physical danger. She even flew home with me, since I was unable to care
for myself at tht juncture. Four months of focused rehabilitation
were required to heal.
As my health
improved my schedule had some space in it, for the first time in
a very long time.- I had been curious about studying mysticism. My
brother, Rabbi Ivan Ickovits, shared that Rabbi Jonathan Omer-Man was
offering a Kabbalah class on Sefer Yetzirah with Yoseph the Long's
commentary. I found time to learn.
A big wow!
It was so delicious! This text taught me to recognize the
breadcrumb trail, as it were, Spirit leaves. The Holy One
wants to be seen! I had never before encountered this depth
anywhere, and certainly did not expect to find it in Judaism. And
here it was in my own tradition. The spark within was
ignited. I wanted to know more.
me to Reb Zalman - a Rebbe deep, wise, steeped in tradition and a
twinkle in his eye. Reb Zalman comes from the old country and
he appreciates diversity and teaches an egalitarian, universal
and Torah based Judaism. He helped me integrate these two sides
that seemed to fragemented at that time.
It was an epiphany! It continues. I yearn to learn more and help others become aware of this approach to Judaism.
am called to follow in Reb Zalman's footsteps and work the
boundary conditions and help others integrate an egalitarian,
universal, and evolving Judaism into their life. I am passionate
about text study as a spiritual practice. I experience the wisdom
from Hassidic and Kabbalistic traditionsorganic integration within the
context of Gaia's cycles. Today, I love to lead prayer and
ritual, and have the privilege to serve a Mashpia Ruhanee- Spiritual Guide.
I am grateful for this lfe and privilege.
I am deeply grateful to my family; My beloved parents, Andy and Eva Ickovits, of blessed memory. You made sure Yiddishkeit was implanted in my being. Thank you for your generosity, bountiful gifts on so many levels, and for teaching me to be a deep thinker. Rabbi Ivan Sandor Raqib Ickovits, my dear brother, beloved hevrutah, and brilliant Kabbalist, thank you for the thousands of hours we shared engaged in the sublime mystery of Holy text study.
Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z"l thank
you, for revitalizing Judaism with a universal, egalitarian, earth-aware, open, and
joyful perspective that makes me proud and eager to be Jew. Rabbi
Daniel Siegel; my program director, you are a wise and kind Rebbe.
Thank you for taking me under your wing and generously guiding me with
your knowledge and insights. Rabbi Marcia Prager, thank you
for your tireless dedication to the sacred task of developing a new
paradigm of leaders for Yisrael. You taught me to
confidently and competently lead prayer with joy and vitality. Thank you, Emilie
Conrad for guiding me to mysteries hidden within the tissue of my
Thank you to my teachers; Rabbi Victor Gross,
Rabbi Shaya Eisenberg, Dr. Moshe Idel, Rabbi Jonathan Omer-man, Rabbi
Shlomo "Schwartzie" Schwartz, Rabbi Shohama Weiner, and my teachers
from the Morei Derech program: Rabbi Amy Eilberg, Linda Thal, Anne
Brener and Alan Moranis.
There are more teachers and
friends who have guided me on this path than can be named here.
Sometimes a simple passing comment has made a big impact. Most of
all, thank you, Ribbono shel Olam for Your Presence in my life.
Holistic Jew - Light from The Source
A Home for Holistic Kabbalah
Holistic Jew is a community in Santa Monica. We delight in the
ongoing process of renewing Judaism as a means of drawing spiritual and
ethical vitality into our lives. We receive significant spiritual
inspiration from the legacies of Masters of Kabbalah, Hassidic
traditions and through the wisdom of the calendar's natural cycles. We
honor the continuum of holy days in a variety of ways including prayer,
the study of Kabbalah and Hassidic sources, meditation, chanting,
music, and movement to enhance both individual and communal experience.
We embrace a global vision of the role of all peoples and spiritual
paths in the healing transformation of life on planet Earth.