I’ve always had a massive vision for my life, and from a young age wanted to make the biggest positive impact in people’s lives possible.
I have changed just about everything about me over the course of my life. Having grown up as a reform Jew, I decided in college to become Orthodox.
I suffered emotionally and physically from the fact that I was always over weight. I have lost over 100lbs and have shed the pain of feeling really uncomfortable in my skin.
Having grown up in a home where my parents got divorced, I made it a mission to raise a happy family, and be the husband to my wife, and father to my children that I never saw modeled growing up. Thank G-d, my wife and I have been married over ten years, and we have four beautiful and wild children.
Despite all the changes I have gone through in my life, my vision never died. I have been fueled to have the greatest reach I could, and to make the world a better place in my unique way. Finding my unique voice, however, hasn’t been easy.
I was blessed at a young age to be hired to serve as the Rabbi of the Jewish Awareness Movement, a Jewish outreach program at the prestigious University of California, Los Angeles. There I found tremendous meaning in the interactions I had with students, being involved in their growth and helping them learn more about their amazing heritage. My wife would cook for oftentimes close to 100 people over the course of a Shabbat, which we would host in our home.
As our family grew, however, the writing was on the wall. It was too hard for us to remain on campus and we had to find the next step in our journey. As two California natives, my wife and I opted to remain on the West Coast and move to beautiful San Diego.
In the process of leaving UCLA and getting set up in San Diego, I noticed that my drive for contribution wasn’t being fully nourished. Over the course of a few years, I entered this twilight zone of self distrust and misunderstanding where I had lost my roadmap of how I could be serve my mission.
Despite successfully navigating many changes over my life, I got lost. I didn’t know who I was or where I was going. I felt hurt, betrayed, and trapped. I had four children I needed to provide for and no idea how to do it. I had experienced the intoxication of a career that profoundly fulfilled me, and now it was over. I thought at the ripe age of not yet thirty, I was a has been.
In addition, because I had made myself a public figure, I felt I had to keep up appearances. I couldn’t find the right guidance, and started to feel like everything I had worked so hard to become wasn’t anywhere good enough. I was lost, washed up, and couldn’t be the man I wanted to be for my wife, or the father I wanted to be for my children.
In addition, I really felt let down by Judaism. I had flourished from the time I had first been exposed to the Torah in a real way as a college student. I had found so much meaning and clarity. I could answer all the questions. I felt so sure. And I knew that somewhere there, there was truth, reality, and the path to my highest calling.
But it was locked for me. I had no idea. And, because I cared so much about what others thought, I couldn’t voice it. Or tell anyone. I had read just about every English Torah book out there. I was bored going to Jewish bookstores because I had and had read everything. Having long suffered from an inability to grasp languages, I felt like a phony and locked out from the Aramaic and Hebrew.
So I turned to self development from the outside world. I immersed myself in it, and read hundreds of books. I learned about marketing, business, goal setting, sales, finding happiness, peace, focus, and meaning. And to my amazement, I found that so many of these ideas were concepts I had known about in Torah, but had never really understood before.
I panicked! We DID have all the answers. We just need to know how to package the Truth. I looked at the world that I lived in and saw there are a lot of people suffering. Not in the classic sense of suffering, but in a way something even worse. Good people, good parents, who work hard, try their best, but feel deep down like they aren’t enough.
So many of the friends in my life felt disconnected from the inspiration and spirituality that had once embraced. They suffered in their most intimate relationships, their health, their mindset. And what I realized was this is my chance. My opportunity. I had to write, I had to coach, I had to speak. And I had to help the youth.
I was blessed with a position to help the teens of San Diego, as a teacher, and as the director of San Diego NCSY. Jewish teens from both religious and secular backgrounds allowed me the honor of inspiring, and showing them that you can be an individual within the scope of Judaism.
I started speaking with adults as well, helping them get healthier, more connected, more passionate. I started to write columns and started to see the next block in my mission.
Here’s the deal. I am who I am. I long to be the best version of myself, and fulfill my purpose, just like my forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And I need to be me. Vulnerable. Honest. I love fitness, I love business, I love speaking, and I love taking timeless Jewish wisdom and show that thousands of years after the Torah was given, it is still the best advice to helping people live out their highest calling.
Please join me for the journey.