By Tobi Rubinstein
At first glance, one might think that Gedale Fenster is the subject of a GQ Magazine editorial. His confident demeanor and appearance are contrary to any image you may have of someone who is truly knowledgeable of Breslov teaching. You are quickly adjusted after listening to his passionate messages and commanded to pay attention to what he has to say. His relatable, personal and Torah rich shiurim have taken off since his modest start just a few short years ago.
What began as a small WhatsApp group has grown to tens of thousands of followers with inspiring and life changing results. His very popular daily classes from the The Breslov Center in Miami are useful sessions with realistic and strengthening messages based on Rebbe Nachman’s timeless wisdom. Wednesday evening’s classes live from The Lighthouse Project is viewed by a global audience that appreciates the valuable lessons he discusses with urgency, humor, and passion. All of his teachings are based on the writings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, but also drawn from self-help masters like Tony Robbins, Viktor Frankl, Brené Brown, and others. He offers a Jewish approach to personal growth that is not often addressed in conventional Jewish education.
His speaking engagements have been met by standing room only crowds that are left with a great sense of renewed purpose. The enormous growth of his audiences are due to their appreciation of his authenticity. He is the owner of drug rehab facilities in Florida, therefore his teachings are based from his experience in the field of addictions. Combined with methods he used in his personal journey, he allows the listener or follower to be equipped with new ways of facing everyday problems with the wisdom of the Torah. The unique combination of addressing real life struggles with 200 plus years old Breslov methods is a powerful tool to capture the attention of the unaffiliated Jew lost in a world of secular madness.
Sadly, 90 percent of Jews in America are disconnected to their faith, yet many yearn for Jewish connection with meaning and purpose. Reaching out to that audience is crucial to the survival of the next generation of Jews. Gedale’s goal is to educate and enlighten as many of them as he can using G-d’s sacred blueprint — the Torah.
As Gedale Fenster continues to lecture throughout various nationwide Jewish communities, he is addressing each area with their own needs for improvement. Just like the original 12 tribes of Israel, each sect of Judaism has its own tikun to tackle. Some face issues of drug addiction, others have dangerous levels of intermarriage. Anxiety and communal peer pressure affect some communities while misguided power and status issues can be found.
On February 12, 7 – 10 p.m., at the Chabad of Great Neck (400 East Shore Road), his mission is to teach a different path of prayer, redirecting our relationship with G-d from the traditional Siddur to include a personal conversation, known as Hitbodedut. Gedale continues to think outside the box, this time outside the everyday prayer book. His mission is to help us understand the importance of a one on one relationship with G-d, the most important relationship we have as Jews. Hitbodedut meditation method is a different path to handle life’s difficulties that has yielded tremendous transformational results for Gedale himself and his tens of thousands of followers.
The event will include social activity, light dinner, dessert, and drinks with an hour long lecture. Tickets are $20, available on Eventbrite.