The Daily Beast

The Bizarre Rise of the Manhattan Prep School Gangster Turned Enigmatic West Bank Rabbi

Yair Naparstek

While reporting this story, my partner repeatedly noted her worry that I was on the verge of joining a cult.

In her 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 any sense and is searching for something eternal and powerful that can provide support and direction.

Then there’s the person I’m writing about: an erudite, intelligent, and charismatic mystic who croons a compelling tune about the interweavings of the soul and the body politic and, in doing so, has built up a loosely organized “movement” of followers—most of them even younger than me—who praise his idiosyncratic ideas to high heaven. And there were days when it really did feel like I might give it all up and join my subject in embracing all that is numinous and revolutionary in the human experience.

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