Jis 1215 bojw rabbit olivier benhaim f1yewj

Image: Briana Ashby

Spotlight on Rabbi Olivier BenHaim

Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue

Two events led Olivier BenHaim to seek a higher understanding of his spiritual beliefs and, eventually, to the bima as the rabbi at Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue. The first was the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 following BenHaim’s enlistment in the IDF. “My Zionist ideals were shattered when we lost a great man,” he says. “The loss of Rabin made me question my beliefs and pushed me to explore spirituality for answers.”

He followed his future wife back to the United States. The newlyweds settled in Seattle, where the French-born BenHaim studied Buddhism, Zen, yoga, Tai Chi, and meditation.The second event took place in Fremont when he saw a poster promoting a workshop on a Jewish-Buddhist dialogue. “The session helped me realize that I could come home to Judaism and my own spiritual lineage, and didn’t have to become Buddhist after all,” he says. “There is a universal message that transcends 3,000 years of Judaism and centuries of Eastern religion. We are all amazing spiritual beings with lineages that bond us all as human spirits. Our work is about expanding awareness, breathing beyond the constriction of our too-busy world.”

Readers' Picks


Cantor/Hazzan

1st Place

Runners-Up

Synagogue

1st Place

Runners-Up

Adult Education

1st Place

Runners-Up

Hebrew School

1st Place

Runners-Up

Rabbi

1st Place

Runners-Up

Filed under
Show Comments