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After-Kiddush Learning with Rabbi Moshe Halfon: The “Real Orange is the New Black” - A Rabbi’s Thoughts on Breaking Into and Out of Prison  

Saturday, January 18, 2020 21 Tevet 5780

1:00 PM - 2:00 PMSocial Hall

The “Real Orange is the New Black”  
A Rabbi’s Thoughts on Breaking Into and Out of Prison  

Rabbi Moshe Raphael Halfon from CIW will speak about his work as a Chaplain at the California Institution for Women, a state prison in Corona, California.  Since his arrival in 2006, he has built a “shul” called B’not Or (Women of Light) of about forty active members.  They include born Jews, Jewish-identified inmates, and others who just enjoy being part of an accepting community.   Inmates celebrate Shabbat and holidays, and many keep a kosher diet, which the Rabbi oversees.  He supervises over 20 community volunteers who lead programs on Torah, Talmud, yoga, music, Jewish 12-step, recovery from abuse, and counsel the inmates.  The “shul” made history in 2009 with the first adult Bat Mitzvah in a prison, and has since held seven more.  The Jewish inmates support each other amid a diverse population of over 2100, where prejudice and evangelical proselytizing are rampant.  “Egypt” is a state of mind which is not only found in prison.  Rabbi Halfon will share tools to help anyone in hospital, depression, or other prisons of the soul, and show how helping others “get free on the inside” can free our own minds, hearts and souls. 

Biographical Information:

Rabbi Moshe Raphael Halfon M.Ed., D.D. has been in the vanguard of spiritual and musical exploration for thirty years.  He is Jewish Chaplain at the California Institution for Women in Corona, California, where he leads a “B’not Or” - Women of Light.”  He has been a hospice chaplain, pulpit rabbi, cantor, Hillel director, and psychiatric chaplain in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, as well as a special education teacher.   He directs Am Or Olam, a spiritual center that now makes prison outreach part of its mission.  Rabbi Moshe teaches and performs Jewish and world music throughout North America, Brazil and Israel, and his album of Jewish healing chants "Let There Be Light” is used by communities worldwide. 

Rabbi Moshe was ordained in 1986 by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia, and completed a Masters in Educational Psychology at Temple University.  He studied with Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l, and accompanied his rabbi on many teaching retreats.  He was rabbi of Temple Ami-Shalon in West Covina, and Associate Rabbi of Temple Israel in Long Beach.  He completed a Bachelors in Jewish Studies at UCLA, where he also studied dance, Yiddish, and Hebrew literature, founded the Westwood Bayit co-op, edited Ha'Am student newspaper, and co-founded UCLA’s first Jewish Arts Festival.

Moshe says, “I enjoy fusing past traditions with contemporary moods and music to create healing.  People who gather in common spiritual purpose, can heal the imagined rifts between Soul, Heart, Mind and Body; tradition and creativity, male and female, Divine and human, intellect and intuition.  This is part of my task in this life."

To learn more about Rabbi Halfon and the CIW, please click here. Free program. No RSVP required.

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Sat, June 6 2020 14 Sivan 5780