Who is Yonassan Gershom?
Yonassan Gershom is a Rabbi and writer who was ordained in the Jewish Renewal movement during the 1980s and is now a follower of Breslov Hasidism. He was associated with the early days of the B'nai Or movement, a forerunner of Jewish Renewal, in which he was ordained by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi in 1986, although he is not in agreement with the direction that the movement has taken in more recent years
Gershom lives on a farm in rural Minnesota, where he writes and conducts himself as a "cyber-rabbi" on the Internet. In 1997 he made a pilgrimage to the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in Uman, Ukraine, a trip that has strongly influenced his later writings. Until this point, "he wasn't aware how much the rural experience shaped Hasidism. It gave him a deeper understanding of Hasidic stories and the Torah." He serves on the Advisory Board of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America and is active in the vegetarian and animal welfare movements. In 2013 he was widely quoted as opposing the use of live chickens for Kapparot ceremonies.
Gershom is best known for having written several books on the topic of the Holocaust and reincarnation. Beyond the Ashes and From Ashes to Healing recount stories of people who claim to have died in the Holocaust and are now reincarnated, while Jewish Tales of Reincarnation deals with Jewish accounts of reincarnation, including a few from the Holocaust but mostly others from classical Jewish texts and oral tradition.
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