Rabbi Jack Bemporad has been Director of the Center for Inter-religious Understanding since its inception in 1992. He is also Director of the John Paul II Center and Professor of Inter-religious Studies at the Vatican’s Angelicum University in Rome.
Promoting inter-faith dialogue for more than 30 years, the Rabbi is recognized internationally for his diplomatic skill and leadership in matters of religious understanding and reconciliation. He has met with world religious leaders from Pope John Paul II to the Dalai Lama, and former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami.
Among his many accomplishments, is a landmark public declaration by Muslim leadership, condemning any attempts to deny the historical reality of the Holocaust, and to “… declare such denials or any justification of this tragedy as against the Islamic code of ethics,” as well as decrying any form of anti-semitism.
Specializes in integrating meditative techniques with experimental practice, spiritual experience and academic research. Dr. Ophir received his MA and PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he served as Rabbi of the campus from 1982-1998. He graduated Yeshiva University in 1974 and studied 7 years at yeshivat Mercaz Harav Kook, where he received Rabbinical Ordination from the Chief Rabbi of Israel. He is the founder of the Jewish Meditation Institute Jerusalem and has published widely about coparative meditative techniques in light of neuropsychology.
Rabbi Cousins attended Columbia Physicians and Surgeons Medical School in NYC and has practiced psychiatry and holistic, integrative medicine for over 40 years, both abroad and at his holistic, organic-veganic farming, eco-kosher, spiritual Tree of Life Center US in Patagonia, AZ. As part of his humanitarian work, his Tree of Life Foundation has established diabetes prevention programs throughout the world. He is rabbi of Congregation (Kehilat) Etz Chaim, located on Tree of Life Foundation grounds. A student of the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, for whom he also acted as personal physician, Rabbi Cousens began and completed his studies for the rabbinate under the tutelage of Rabbi Gershon Winkler. He is the author of 11 books including Torah as a Guide to Enlightenment.