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Bizarre rise of Manhattan prep school gangster turned into enigmatic West Bank rabbi

Yair Naparstek

In reporting this story, my partner repeatedly remarked that she feared she was about to join a cult.

In his defense, the ingredients were there. First, there’s me: a neurotic and impulsive, bisexual, 35-year-old Jew who feels lost in a world that no longer makes sense and is looking for something eternal and powerful that can give him support and direction.

Then there’s the person I’m writing about: a learned, intelligent and charismatic mystic who sings a compelling tune over the intertwining of soul and body politic and in so doing has built a “movement” of followers. loosely organized – most of them even younger than me – who praise his idiosyncratic ideas to heaven. And there were days when I really felt like I could give up everything and come back to my subject to embrace all that is numinous and revolutionary in the human experience.

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