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Monday, 15 Iyyar, 5779
  |  May 20, 2019

    “Call of the Shofar is a Cult”

    Rabbi Shea Hecht, a long-time counselor and cultbuster, says the Call of the Shofar uses mind-controlling techniques. Full Story

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    beast
    Guest
    beast

    The man is talking truth

    Scepticle
    Guest
    Scepticle

    I can’t believe he calls it a cult because the program dos not want you to have distractions. its like saying yeshivas should allow cell phones in zal or else there a cult.

    Ron
    Guest
    Ron

    just because they use cult techniques doesnt make them a cult

    Good finally a true approach coming from an open minded educated rabbi!
    Guest
    Good finally a true approach coming from an open minded educated rabbi!

    This is so soothing! I was having plans of joining shofar and got really confused with all the comments and I wasn’t sure how to go about. Thank you Rabbi Hecht for busting this cult and saving my neshama! Thank GD someone knowledgable spoke up an gave an educated answer to this shofar thing!

    I'm in a quagmire
    Guest
    I'm in a quagmire

    If I say you’re right that it’s a cult so I’m giving into something I don’t believe is true. On the other hand if I say it’s not true, it’s not a cult people will just say I’m so deep into the cult I just don’t realize! Grrrrrrr I’m feeling very frustrated

    Party over
    Guest
    Party over

    That was fun, we can all go home now.

    Educated in eastern spirituality
    Guest
    Educated in eastern spirituality

    I’m a Baal tshuva and I spent 15 years in Tibet and India studying eastern spirituality and religion. I was once interested in shofar and checked out their website. What I saw shocked me they had ideas that came right out of avoda Zara mamash and I made the wise decision to stay away. Lately I was approached by someone which told me he searched the site and couldn’t find a trace of avoda zara and I was confused thinking maybe I was dreaming when I read that on their site. Now Boruch Hashem I see I’m right and Rabbi… Read more »

    what are  you talking about
    Guest
    what are you talking about

    You must not know the Program

    a big yasher koyach!
    Guest
    a big yasher koyach!

    for posting this letter! Unfortunately, lately with the darkness of exile some people get confused. and that even on basic stuff. we’re chsidim! we’re proud of it. this is our path. chasidus is the remedy for all sickness. yes this is the truth. I know that some people want to weaken this point, but let’s be honest this isn’t coming from too much knowledge of chasidus or so. chevre, we’re all brothers and sisters! we already have our stuff and this is the best that you won’t be able to find anywhere. so let’s get focused. let add in our… Read more »

    I went I shofar and this is sooo true!
    Guest
    I went I shofar and this is sooo true!

    I was in shofar and felt all the “wonderful” experiences but it all felt weird. Now it all makes sence, I was in a cult and I was brainwashed! Thank GD rabbi Hecht came out with a response and will save many lives.

    bh this article will save lives!
    Guest
    bh this article will save lives!

    I’ve been saying it since this cult came out just like comment 42 said in r simchas article it’s klipah mamesh and heipesh chasidus

    1st comment
    Guest
    1st comment

    lol

    thank you
    Guest
    thank you

    thank you for the clarity and I feel that those who have used their positions in the community to promote this organization should remember the words in the Ethics of our Fathers, Chachamim hizharu bidivraichem

    The red rabbi hits the nail on the head!
    Guest
    The red rabbi hits the nail on the head!

    Wow! Shea does it again. Truth as it is in its fullest. Here is someone which is a professional cult buster and has gone to shofar and he is letting us know the truth. Finally!

    End the COTS
    Guest
    End the COTS

    Wow, finally someone powerful in the fruma velt is standing up and stating his opinion on the matter. If someone so knowledgable in the area of cults and brainwashing feels this way about shofar, it should serve as a red flag for everyone else. Hopefully this will cause the mashpiim and mechanchim to reconsider their thoughts on this “wonderful and life chaging” program.

    Shea encouraged many pple to go
    Guest
    Shea encouraged many pple to go

    I know as a fact Shea Hecht sponsored many people to atend the call of the shofar workshops.

    Flawed Premise
    Guest
    Flawed Premise

    With all due respect to Rabbi Hecht: The Rebbes letter mentioned speaks of (transcendental) meditation wich is “mind altering”. At no point of the work shop was I subject to a mind altering meditation or hypnosis.

    While I do trust your expertise in the topic of “cults”, Your saying that some people will be “ruined by therapy” would be a lot more credible if I’d feel you understood the subtleties of mental health.

    PS Anything that may be sourced in AZ is “separated from AZ” as you quoted the Rebbe to say.

    Thank you
    Guest
    Thank you

    Thank you Rabbi Hecht for ridding this Tumah from our midst. This is the beginning of the downfall of ‘call of the shofar’, and I’m glad about that, its been plaguing our community for much to long.
    May this bring to ‘ואת רוח הטומאה אעביר מן הארץ’ together with Moshiach now!

    um...
    Guest
    um...

    I’ve been saying it’s a cult all along…. I’m glad someone like rabbi hecht, an authority on these things took a firm stand.. Shkoack! #TakingAwayWatches #cult #Sternberg

    Awesome
    Guest
    Awesome

    Couldn’t agree more with what he said and I like the Shabbas stuff that he said

    Yungerman
    Guest
    Yungerman

    BH someone is not embaresed to srand for the truth!! Thanks Rabbi HrchtB

    All we have are the words of the Rebbe
    Guest
    All we have are the words of the Rebbe

    Those words are 10000% true! Finally someone normal with brains gives an educated chasidishe response.

    yeshiva bochur
    Guest
    yeshiva bochur

    Some Yeshivas take away phones and block off communications to the outside world in certain aspects.They also forbid you from learning certain materials does that classify it as a cult acc2 u??

    To Oholei Torah
    Guest
    To Oholei Torah

    How can you have a shlomo sterinberg if he tells bochurim to go to this (myself included)?

    looks dangerous
    Guest
    looks dangerous

    I am not a posek
    But this call of shofar sounds dangerous

    there is a boss
    Guest
    there is a boss

    very proud that Rabbi Hecht is coming out clearly in this issue a real show of leadsership!

    difference
    Guest
    difference

    If a cult’s characteristics are mind-controlling techniques such as keeping a person completely isolated from the outside world, how would that be different than any ultra-orthodox culture, including lubavitch?

    Joshk613@gmail.com
    Guest
    Joshk613@gmail.com

    People lived without cellphones for years.
    Every classroom environment discourages conversation.

    The workshop is about getting in touch with yourself and feelings. Cell phones, petty conversation, and always having to have a handle on the time, all diffuse and confuse that.

    Is shabbos cultish?
    To be honest- perhaps somewhat! Is that WRONG?
    No.
    Rabbi Hecht, please rethink your statement.

    *Been to two COTS workshops.

    joshk613@gmail.com

    To add
    Guest
    To add

    I know some of the speakers at the shofar, they have serious issues in their life, I really feel bad for all those who went to get advise and help from such disturbed people, very sad.

    Thank you rabbi Hecht

    wow
    Guest
    wow

    The shliach in the community went to the call shofar and loved it He endorsed them and they sent emails with his recommendation for people to go I am Baal Teshuvah and when they described what they did, I could not beleived that the rabbi was ok with this Avoda zara I didn”t want to say anything not to contradict the rabbi, of course I am not a posek but I was 100% sure that is AZ kind it was a brainwashed this is a copy oth the goyshe program, ( if you see the reviews of the goyshe program… Read more »

    So what if it's a cult?
    Guest
    So what if it's a cult?

    If it strengthens people in yiddishkeit and their relationship Ben adom l’chaveiro I don’t see the issue here….

    Not Impressed
    Guest
    Not Impressed

    Rabbi Shea’s examples of mind control are pretty weak (turning off cell phones), and he doesn’t really give any specific examples of how these seminars are avoda zara.

    There are some very big mashpiim that have attended these seminars and haven’t come to the same conclusions to my knowledge. They have a lot less yeshus as well. Why don’t you ask them first as they represent Daas Torah much more so than Rabbi Shea.

    Disclaimer: I never went to Shofar, and I love Rabbi Shea. I just don’t think he is making a clear argument here.

    to 30#
    Guest
    to 30#

    You don’t see the issue because most probably you are brainwashed

    hipnosis tecnique on front page of their website
    Guest
    hipnosis tecnique on front page of their website

    The front page of the call of the shofar website has a picture of the guy that slowly changes. anyone who knows a bit about hypnosis knows that looking at something that changes slowly and steadily is hypnotic. don’t believe me? try looking at it for 30 seconds. youl see

    To #32
    Guest
    To #32

    I wouldn’t want to shame anyone, but the two mashpiim that went and advocate this program (hint: they work in the same moisad) are known to have mental issues and depression.

    Mashpiim by definition are people of emotion. What we need here is people of the brain. A clear halachic stance from a brave posek who will investigate this and come out whether it is assur or mutar.

    so true
    Guest
    so true

    #34 has a point although i know 00000 about hypnosis. i think if he uses hypnosis and mind control (which many counselors do) he should be upfront about it and get people who are comfortable with using such techniques (which many people are especially if they are “sick”)

    REMINDER!!!
    Guest
    REMINDER!!!

    Rabbi Hecht is a BIG PRO on all these stuff!

    I trust whatever he says about cults

    To #14
    Guest
    To #14

    And everyone else: Shea Hecht never claimed to have gone to Shofar. He said that he attended a meeting with simcha. Everything else is based on hearsay’

    CHADASH ASUR MIN HATORAH
    Guest
    CHADASH ASUR MIN HATORAH

    it may be good may be bad but i will NOT!!! be the guinea pig

    the blind leading the blind
    Guest
    the blind leading the blind

    thats what comes to mind after reading this poorly argued op-ed and the comments.

    35?!
    Guest
    35?!

    So after bashing an organization

    You’re speaking loshon hara on two mashpiim and hinting who they are? How dare you?!

    dear shia
    Guest
    dear shia

    chapter and vs please re meditation

    clearly ur words r in conflict w the Rebbe’s letter

    What is a yeshiva??
    Guest
    What is a yeshiva??

    FRom R hecht i take it that Yeshiva is a cult. perhaps a positive one, a cult nevertheless.
    The Rosh yshiva/mashpia a guru.

    Please show original sources
    Guest
    Please show original sources

    And concrete tuma az examples

    Such strong accusations need transparent igros and sichos to back it up

    For all to be able to scrutinize

    Berry Schwartz
    Guest
    Berry Schwartz

    I did not want to do this but as Shea Hecht has decided to publicly speak out against Shofar, I feel I have a responsibility to write this. Shea Hecht called me yesterday evening (Sunday evening). I was shocked at the way he conducted himself. He had never gone to Shofar and when I asked him how he knew about it he said he spoke to a few bochurim. It seemed like he didn’t care to do much research. Right from the start, he was chaotic and disorganized. He went on a long ramble about Chabad these days and yeshivas… Read more »

    Why R Shea Hecht is WRONG
    Guest
    Why R Shea Hecht is WRONG

    Lets take it point by point. Fact: I went to one COTS weekend, appreciated it and I think it helped me in many ways. – The “no contact with outer world”. Basically optional and makes a lot of sense, it’s simple: They want you to concentrate in what you are doing. And btw, there is a time to make a phone call erev shabbos and sunday. The no-watch thing also makes sense for same reason. – “If it was simply knowledge that they were sharing with you, they would not need to put you into a mind-altered state in order… Read more »

    Tuma
    Guest
    Tuma

    These “mashpim” should lose their title of mashpiim
    They are overwhelmed because it’s something “different” ,persuasive,brainwashing, but for we BTs we know that this is tuma disguised with Torah values that only can contaminate our minds and neshamos
    BH we have chassidus,nigla farbrengens ,

    Whats needed now
    Guest
    Whats needed now

    Whats needed now is a chabad alternative and a rav, who gives a written psak, inc ‘heichan dantuni’ specifics

    Otherwise this is a cheap jealous shot

    To 35
    Guest
    To 35

    What kind of mashpiim are these?
    Mental issues and being appointed to influence ,guide and be role models for us?
    What’s going on?
    Are we all crazy?
    Please come on

    dangerous!
    Guest
    dangerous!

    My son went to this program. His friend talked him into going with him. He was a happy, normal bochur. After the first weekend he came back totally changed. Angry and bitter.Whereas he was always very giving, he became selfish and for lack of a better word, meanspirited. . seeing everyone and everything in a bad light. Thinking he had to be totally open he would deeply hurt those
    closest to him. He went twice.This was about a year ago. B”H he is back to
    his old self.
    Thank you Rabbi Hecht for this letter. You validated all my
    misgivings.

    The Jewish/Lubavitch system
    Guest
    The Jewish/Lubavitch system

    If someone came from outside of our sect and analysed our indoctrination process about the nature of reality/history/undeniable truths/pressure to conform/looking different/feeling chosen and better/locked away from any new knowledge of the modern world/holding on to our strict customs and rituals/ looking down on someone who doubts the established truths of the group-at times excommunicating them when they develop enough emotional/mental strength to not fall prey to the social/family/community pressure to stay quiet and remain a good soldier of our leader the messiah and redeemer who never died and is with us either physically or in a spiritual way….always watching… Read more »

    ITS NEEDED   unfortunately there are no in house alternatives
    Guest
    ITS NEEDED unfortunately there are no in house alternatives

    the main value they offer is 1. Brotherhood and belonging, by a strong and loyal bond, reminiscent of the chasidim of yesteryear 2. Deep and intense introspection and self awareness, reminiscent of the Ch.H”N of chasidim of yesteryear 3. Self improvement, Goals to work towards, in the areas of Middos, Family duties, Avoda im hazulas etc ALL OF THE ABOVE ARE LEGITIMATE NEEDS, AND VERY MUCH ESSENTIAL TO AUTHENTIC CHABAD PHILOSOPHY AND VALUES. I hope that the right people come together to do this right, since theres obviousely a great need and benefit for our (poen-minded) community members. just imagine… Read more »

    anyone smell who i smell?
    Guest
    anyone smell who i smell?

    …In fact, my 1985 book, Confessions of a Jewish Cultbuster, was recently revised and reprinted. …

    😉

    '''I will begin by saying that I believe that the Call of the Shofar is a cult. Having said that, I stress that it is possible to have a pareve cult which has intrinsic value.''
    Guest
    '''I will begin by saying that I believe that the Call of the Shofar is a cult. Having said that, I stress that it is possible to have a pareve cult which has intrinsic value.''

    so is it against HALACHA?

    Shlomo Sternberg
    Guest
    Shlomo Sternberg

    How can Oholei Torah let him teach when he encourages all of his Talmidim to go to a cult?!

    Oholei Torah, you must stand up! He is teaching Kfirah to our children!

    A worried parent

    WOOOPS
    Guest
    WOOOPS

    No cult in the world isolates its victim for only 3 days a year

    Wasent the rebbe against, tv, news papers, mingling socializing w outsiders?

    Isent temporary isolation a useful tool to maximize gain?

    Thank you Rabbi Hecht for taking a stand
    Guest
    Thank you Rabbi Hecht for taking a stand

    would be interesting to know if Rabbi Leibel wolf from Melbourne has an opinion, he is big on meditation and may have received some guidance from the Rebbe on these matters.

     היכן ההורים???
    Guest
    היכן ההורים???

    כולם יודעים מי המשפיע
    שמקרר עבודת השם
    מכניס גוקים לבחורים
    של עבודה זרה ממש
    לבחורים צעירים באיצטלא
    של קדושה ואין פוצה פה

    ועתה זה סכנה ייתר לבחורים כי
    הקליפה תשותללל

    Chaim S
    Guest
    Chaim S

    I have, worked for Rabbi Hecht for a long time now, he is also a close friend of mine, and i have discussed my own (negative) experience with him. Whoever disagrees with Rabbi Hecht who has helped many people get out of cults! read the book he wrote! who else in chabad wrote a book, and has a degree in cult busting?! If you think Rabbi Twersky PhD knows better than Rabbi Hecht, thats a sign that you have already been brainwashed! To accuse Rabbi Hecht of promoting his book, or profile oh pohleez! thats absurd! why would he! bottom-line… Read more »

    Clarification
    Guest
    Clarification

    Let’s clarify something R’ Shea wrote here – and how the title portrays this:

    R’ Shea said COTS is indeed a cult and uses mind-controlling techniques. But he did not say they are using it for the bad or destroying people’s lives. For all we know, they are helping people who need the help.

    What he is warning is that since they are using a cult method, the founder or any “master” might one day decide to use his influence on others for the bad, the followers will gladly comply and then we have a huge problem at our doorstep.

    turning off cell phone is the ONLY example?!
    Guest
    turning off cell phone is the ONLY example?!

    cmon! cant you bring any other examples of A”Z?! Real cults force you to abstain from contact longterm!!! not on a focussed weekend which starts on Friday after noon and ends Sunday afternoon! sounds like Shea Has some other agenda here, Dearest Shea, You will need to find some actual experts who have degrees in the field to save your face! go for it, lets see what you can come up with. re the A”Z attack, the Rebbe (u misquoted) was specifically referring to Transcendental Meditation, the Rebbe in many letters specifically aloows, and encourages (no tracedental) Meditation as beneficial!!!!!… Read more »

    The CAT/COTS is out of the bag
    Guest
    The CAT/COTS is out of the bag

    This comment was posted on the first article and I think it’s very telling: 258 A COTS alumni – Shimon Seringersky I am a COTS alumni and I’m part of the Crown Heights Shofar group. I just received an email which caused me to be nauseated with the whole shofar thing and it made me realize how it’s all a fake. I got an email from a master (staff) at shofar, M. L. Which stated the following: “Please go to colive.com and set the record straight about Call of the Shofar. Moshe.” This got me to realize how we are… Read more »

    Didnt he Rebbe's letter specifically encourage a Kosher/Shomer shabbos program be offered?
    Guest
    Didnt he Rebbe's letter specifically encourage a Kosher/Shomer shabbos program be offered?

    Rabbi Hecht, please address all the letters from the Rebbe promoting a retreat which does not include the worship of the sun and moon.

    i heard the entire audio, read the letters, the Rebbe was ONLY negating:
    1. specifically TM (not regular meditation)
    2. the worship of objects of nature (sun, moon etc).

    it is grossly disingenuous of you to claim the Rebbe was categorically against any retreat using meditation! the exact opposite is true! READ the letters!

    to 34 and 36
    Guest
    to 34 and 36

    your right i went on the website
    and it made me really dizzy
    its just crazy
    and anyone who dosent agree with rabbi hecht is probably brainwashed himself!

    REAL lubavichers are seeing through the PHONIES in the (phony nepotistic aspects) of the "System"
    Guest
    REAL lubavichers are seeing through the PHONIES in the (phony nepotistic aspects) of the "System"

    There is a difference between “Authentic Chabad” which is very life enhancing, VS. some elements in the “System” who are entrenched with little merit to keep those positions. I agree with Berry “conscientious and thoughtful lubavitchers are going elsewhere to attain a joyous, empowered life” “elswhere” not to the “IN-AUTHENTIC” pseudo chabad pretenders, REAL CHABAD, is not the same as what passes today for most “farbrengens, most farbrengens today are a FAR CRY, from the REAL CHABAD, our rich heritage and teachings demand! notice, those most threatened are the Entrenched, Nepotistic types, those for it are the REAL mashpiyim, Mechanchim… Read more »

    I agree that it feels like a cult
    Guest
    I agree that it feels like a cult

    Here is my opinion: I week after a friend of mine went to one of the Call of the Shofar gatherings, he sends me an email saying I MUST GO, i asked him why should i go and he started using all these high vocabulary words to describe it. He wouldnt share what he did there, or anything with detail, just high vocabulary words to try and convince me to go. I immediately called a mutual friend of ours and asked him, if well our friend went off the deep end. And he also agreed that somthing is really weird,… Read more »

    re "Avoid cell phone use" i didnt and i regret it
    Guest
    re "Avoid cell phone use" i didnt and i regret it

    i was busted using my cell phone a few times, each time i was spotted, a staff memebr waited till i was done then later approached me and expalined to me that i should avoid emai, and ohone calls as much as possible, in order to be able to gain the most from the self awareness, (via Hisbodedus) that can best be gained via, Focussing inward, rather than distracted by say to day “inbox and voicmail tasks” i stil encourage ppl to go, since i did gain much in the area of realizing how powerful my every move is towards… Read more »

    I know someone who went It doesnt help it just convinces them
    Guest
    I know someone who went It doesnt help it just convinces them

    One of them was molested as a child and only came
    Out and spoke about it at the age of 65

    it feels like a cult, TRUE
    Guest
    it feels like a cult, TRUE

    i felt the same when i first came to chabad! as Rabbi Hecht himself admitted, Cult like, does not in and of itself, render a movement or program, Asur, or Counter productive. Labeling something cult like, is Ok with me, since Chabad, according to most Cult experts, has many cult like elements. The opperative question has to be, Do they worship a central figure? On the retreat i took part in, Simcha was in Australia! i have never obsessed about him, i knda think, the Value from the weekend has little todo with Simcha, his name was not even mentioned… Read more »

    ViHaMayvin Yovin
    Guest
    ViHaMayvin Yovin

    Der Aidem iz a shkik schver. Both are bitter resentful individuals. Absolutely no Ahavas Yisroel except if it scores them points. Proof of the pudding is in the eating. Yodayim yedei Esau. ViHamayvin Yovin.

    Respectful rebuttal to Rabbi Hecht
    Guest
    Respectful rebuttal to Rabbi Hecht

    Your op-ed, is big on accusation, and short on specificity!

    Please provide the public with a clear and direct response to HOW IS IT THAT THE REBBE SPECIFICALLY ENCOURAGED MEDITATION RETREATS BE DEVELOPED WHICH DONT USE TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION, BUT INSTEAD ONLY USE HALACHACLY KOSHER ALTERNATIVES?

    to: 59 Chaim S. REALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?
    Guest
    to: 59 Chaim S. REALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?

    i cant tell if your being sarcastic or seriouse! are you by any chance the Chaim S. who was hurt by a staff member on the May 6, 2013, weekend in morristown? if so, it all makes sense now, you went to your employer Rabbi Hecht and vilified the program to him bec you had a negative experience, FYI: the Staff memeber who mistreated you in public later aditted it to everyone behind your back after you stompped out. we all felt bad, it was disgusting of him, and an abuse of his role and responsibility! Know this, what you… Read more »

    A Chabad Kosher Alternative
    Guest
    A Chabad Kosher Alternative

    My conclusion:

    Keep the REAL FARBY aspect of it!

    GET REID OF ANY SPOOKY SHTICK which scares off the feeble and insecure amongst us!

    We all need this type of REAL farbrenegns!

    if the dropping the shtick allows more ppl to attend, then lets “reform” and adapt.

    Didnt the Rebbe’s letter specifically recommend ONGOING MODIFICATION AND ADAPTATION to maximize the number of participants.

    Dovid Meshchaninov
    Guest
    Dovid Meshchaninov

    With all due respect, Rabbi Hecht’s points don’t make any sense to me. He has lost all credibility in my eyes for so carelessly throwing around such a word like “cult” and justifying it with points that don’t hold water at all. 1) The entire point that “it should be used only for the sick” does not make any sense. The program is designed to help foster more self awareness and understanding. What is wrong with that? Is he suggesting that everyone wait until they are sick before trying to understand themselves and their inner life struggles better? 2) The… Read more »

    i know the author of #7 he's ffb (and an Oholei T.nik t boot)!
    Guest
    i know the author of #7 he's ffb (and an Oholei T.nik t boot)!

    Just examine his diction: …”by someone which told me he searched” some WHICH told you???

    cmon

    if u want to tarnish a good cause, do so with more class and substance, pointing to A”Z then saying actually, its not on the site but trust me i saw it, cmon!

    btw:

    for the benefit of the public you wish to protect:
    What A”Z did you see, on the site, which you claim was since removed?

    looking forward to your direct answer (w/o skirting the issue)

    Thank u!

    #62 YOU ARE RIGHT!!! COTS IS CONTROLLING
    Guest
    #62 YOU ARE RIGHT!!! COTS IS CONTROLLING

    BRAVO!!!!
    If all the comments till yours were not clear…your story sheds the light on the RAT. Their “terms and conditions’ at the end of your comment EXPOSE the cultish style of HIDING THINGS UNDER THE CARPET. Anyone who has read about cults knows this…

    This is an open distinction with, LEHAVDIL, Lubavitcher Yeshivas where there are NO SECRETS in the lessons, and all is natural. B”H Shea Hecht has exposed them!

    a cult about Hashem, (and being a better father, husband etc) is a good cult.
    Guest
    a cult about Hashem, (and being a better father, husband etc) is a good cult.

    Chabad, is a good cult!

    I challenge Rabbi Hecht to present a single trained expert (not a self appointed expert) who examined cots and determined that-it is a bad cult or in anyway against Torah or the many letters of the Rebbe (promoting Kosher retreats involving meditation).

    Mordy #2
    Guest
    Mordy #2

    I can only share what I’ve seen, which is that a number of local anash have gone and changed for the better; no negative effects that I can see. While they speak very highly of it, no one has pressured me to attend. I think Shea THE AMAZING CULT-BUSTER is way off here.

    As for #62, sending an email saying “if we’ve helped you, please give us a good review without breaking confidentiality” is good business practice. “YOU WILL BURN unless you give us a review” is cult-ish. Learn the difference.

    to 53...
    Guest
    to 53...

    This “game” with posts about this topic started on your looney tune leader’s end with his interview where he can’t stop looking away from the camera, can’t stop smirking and can’t stop lying. He was so happy to do the interview with one of his followers because he saw the money symbols in his eyes. So this important response from Rabbi Shea Hect is in no way a sales pitch for his book. And you know that. But you feel you have to go down kicking defending the honor of your hairless leader. It’s ok nothing will happen and the… Read more »

    59 made baseless claims re Shea's success and cridentials visavi Cultbusting
    Guest
    59 made baseless claims re Shea's success and cridentials visavi Cultbusting

    1. In all the years he spent as an expert cultbuster, how many people has he supposedly saved? If you read (carefully)his op-ed, you’ll notice the answer… 2. Credentials, Professional degree, Professional training? THAT’S RIGHT! NON! 3. Oh, yes, he did right a book which he opportunisticly promotes, how convinant? To work that into the narrative of his oped, no no! No ulterior motives here, no shameless plugging of his “revised” book. Does he really think the public is soo naive? As to not notice his obvious agenda (he is guilty of exactly what he accuses simcha of) $$$, That’s… Read more »

    according to the Rebbe's letter
    Guest
    according to the Rebbe's letter

    The retreat must be open to adapt and modify, in order to improve and maximize the number of people it can benefit and attract.

    It’s false to say the Rebbe is against any meditation or spirituality retreat! Just ask Rabbi Wolf from Melbourne

    REAL CHABAD VS THE SYSTEM
    Guest
    REAL CHABAD VS THE SYSTEM

    Real charade is an ideology, a way of life, defined and elucidate by its Rebbeyim who had Reach Hakodesh. What is very dangerous and UNchabad, is to make decisions without following the system the Rebbe implored us to follow,ie Ash Lecha Rav. For the Ray to have Sayaata Dshmaya, he must be agenda free. Ie not promoting his book etc etc He must be a Yedid UMavin too, The three questions to inequality a Rav (says the Rebbe) is 1. Is he a Anav, 2. Is he a Rachman, 3. Is he a Gomel Chasdan Each of the above must… Read more »

    i looove 61's clarity
    Guest
    i looove 61's clarity

    Dearest Rabbi Shea…

    Please include inside your next “damage control piece”
    1. CLEAR SOURCES
    2. SPECIFIC EXAMPLES OF A”Z
    3. SPECIFIC EXAMPLES OF TUMA
    4. SPECIFIC HALACHOS VIOLATED
    5. SPECIFIC IGROS/SICHOS VIOLATED

    Thank you!

    "Al Yoivesh Mipnei Hamaligim"
    Guest
    "Al Yoivesh Mipnei Hamaligim"

    Those who anonymously mock COTS, If u mean well, why dont u just encourage those ur concerened about to consult their “ALR” (aseh lecha Rav). isent that the guaranteed way, the Rebbeh says to discover HIS answer, HIS hadracha, haskama, and bracha? my Rav, did research, and concluded, using the test of “outcome” he told me to go for it, since his research revealed that the “outcome” was very productive for those who he knew personally attended, for me, it only strengthened my ability to Have Ahavas Hashem, Ahavas Hatorah and Ahavas Yisroel. i know many dozens who went, ONLY… Read more »

    Dont drink the kool-aid!
    Guest
    Dont drink the kool-aid!

    I was just reading up on Jim Jones the other day and now this pops up, hashgacha protis? Just kidding I am an alumni of oholei torah shiur daled (sternberg etc) and can honestly say that on the surface r’ sternberg looks like an erliche yid, davens and learns like a chossid should. But him as a teacher/mashpia is a completely different story. Period. If my friends had “issues” (v”dal”) they wouldnt even begin to think of approaching r’ sternberg about them because of the name which r’ sternberg has made for himself in the yeshiva world (his chosen area… Read more »

    from a fan of COTS concept (not necessarily a fan of COTS staff/directors)
    Guest
    from a fan of COTS concept (not necessarily a fan of COTS staff/directors)

    truth be told, i gained much from the Chasidisheh components of the weekend, namely, the Old fashioned REAL farbrengen, between a circle of truly caring friends. having said that, i do wish to address a very thoughtful and poignant questioned raised by Berry Schwartz (Post#45) he asked: Does Chasidus really claim to address and solve ALL types of problems? Answer: There is always a Torah-based (incl Chasidus) response to any given situation a jew may encounter! let me explain, albeit extremely briefly. 1. Most day to day routine situations are addressed by Halacha directly 2. Where there is an a… Read more »

    You wanna save lives?? The women in CH need this more urgently than the men!
    Guest
    You wanna save lives?? The women in CH need this more urgently than the men!

    the number of girls and women in crown heights who are clearly suffering inside from low self esteem etc is truly very troubling and sad to see. instead of rebuking them (as, jeopardizing their family’s well-being and protection against harm etc) we need to offer them such programs, to help them heal (and get over their resentment at a system which has drifted away from its AUTHENTIC chabad teachings and practices). If our schools were run more as a meritocracy, and not nepotism, then the Teachers, Staff and Administrators would be that much more qualified, and genuinely worthy of being… Read more »

    From someone who knows. A few facts
    Guest
    From someone who knows. A few facts

    Every true professional who runs such a program would; 1. Strongly discourage anyone for talking to anyone about his experience within 30 days of attending. It is considerd very destructive. 2. Would not only now encourage but not allow participants to meet each other in groups. 3. Would never use the peer marketing tactics used. There is a good reason why by using those tactics he would lose his license from any professional credential. This is besides for the problem that he got his training from very questionable places and is not at the caliber of others who were able… Read more »

    Simcha
    Guest
    Simcha

    So a few of you have mentioned how he took his teachings tuma. How about him being in a mental institution? I’m not c”v knocking him and wish a refua shleima! but his program aint gona be my mashpia.

    It's all about the money!!!!!
    Guest
    It's all about the money!!!!!

    People have to realize this whole thing is ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. No matter if it helps people or not, these guys only care about the next dollar bill.

    900 bucks to save my soul?
    Guest
    900 bucks to save my soul?

    If I have to pay 900 bucks for a class on how to live its a cult. The website looks like a cult.

    To Berry:
    Guest
    To Berry:

    From everything I hear you are a well meaning guy. If you think that simcha is more coherent than Shea you are really caught up bad. Any rov or mashpia who mistakenly endorsed this needs to get the word out that they changed their minds. I personally know two respected people who went there and yelled out to the whole works how great it is and now landed and really regrets it. It’s hard to say so publicly. I am not commenting on the cult issue, but they have some extremely irresponsible practices (including getting someone to a raw state… Read more »

    Wow
    Guest
    Wow

    This is the most rediculous post I have ever read .

    Open minded and did research.
    Guest
    Open minded and did research.

    The consensus that I heard from anyone with professional experience, is that IF this placr is good for anyone, it would be for someone who is already seeing a professional for mental health and has gone a long period without having a breakthrough. This program seems to create such a breakthrough. However having a breakthrough without professional health is either meaningless or destructive. I am not commenting and religion or cult issues.

    To #66
    Guest
    To #66

    I had the exact same experience! A good friend of mine went and came back very weird. He wouldn’t do the same things he had enjoyed doing, including giving a shiur for some men in our shul! There were many other changes and strange behaviors that I do not wish to disclose. Now our only interaction is about how I MUST GO. He has become a recruiter for them, constantly pressuring people. I am so thankful that Rabbi Hecht has clarified things a bit. There can definetly be good effects from therapy, but only for those who need it. There… Read more »

    a very revealing email circulating to members of COTS
    Guest
    a very revealing email circulating to members of COTS

    Bs”d GM! Agree with R M F. Getting hung up on the approval of others -who are scared/bitter/envious- accomplishes little, and subtracts from what we each should be focusing our energy on, -in my case, i should focus on my own well-being and that of my family-. Remember, to those of us who are merely concerned about setting the record straight for the sake of those who have not yet benefited… keep in mind, most people are not stupid, and can easily see through the flimsy attacks geared at stigmatizing COTS. If someone is the type to be open to… Read more »

    BTDT
    Guest
    BTDT

    I don’t know this group B”H but I DO know cults. I was suckered in to one with a promise of a certain change & it definitely did work. I was told if I followed their program (based on 12 steps) XY&Z would happen. It did, but I also went a bit cuckoo & it definitely affected my family life. I did everything according to what the group said and my family suffered. They weren’t the most important thing anymore in my life, it was all about doing what the group said. I’ve been reading about this group & I… Read more »

    Meditation
    Guest
    Meditation

    Then what is “hizboinanus ” supposed to be?

    lol
    Guest
    lol

    Anything “shofar” as in shofar all year long or “Jews” who have them all year round, is a cult. Shorfars are for the high holidays for traditional Jews who think these cults need to define themselves as non Jews. Thanks.

    agree
    Guest
    agree

    I don’t always agree with Shea Hecht but I have said this foe over a year. My husband spent $650 to go for shabbos & although he loved it, it was a total waste of money. for $650 we could have both went to a nice hotel for shabbos all inclusive & we would have both enjoyed it

    teachers
    Guest
    teachers

    as a parent of children in yeshiva I feel that any teacher that was part of this cult has no business being in chinuch. We will have to find out which teachers are part of it and make them known

    G-D's so called give to humanity
    Guest
    G-D's so called give to humanity

    There it goes poof! Gone! All those fantasizing about shofar and its magical effect on people, it’s a cult, it’s avoda Zara.

    Disappointed in Reb Shea's sloppy and sweeping generalizations
    Guest
    Disappointed in Reb Shea's sloppy and sweeping generalizations

    seems a bit, sloppy at best. and jealouse or self promying at worst,

    Whats his real motive?

    i dont see, how he streached the Rebbe’s words to taint All of the legitiate kosher options the Rebbe himself encouraged?

    please explain

    Maybe Rabbi Wolf in Australia can shed some light, as he has received much guidance re Kosher Meditation, as apposed to Rabbi Hecht

    Please explain yeshiva
    Guest
    Please explain yeshiva

    How is this any different than yeshiva where cell phone and Internet is forbidden. yeshiva is for years not just a few days. Not to mention the mind altered state of farbrengens etc

    old timer
    Guest
    old timer

    anyone remember EST?
    the Call of the Shofar uses much of the same technique, although it is “an iron fist clothed in a velvet glove”
    if you live long enough, you see that things never change…..the yetzer Harah is a clever chap who recycles his ideas into newer and fancier clothing…..

    Living with a chassidishe hartz and seeing the world with chassidishe oigen is the only way to live a happy and fulfilling life

    What a letter
    Guest
    What a letter

    With such a letter all those giving negative comments MUST be from this cult and are commanded to set records straight by their cult leaders. I am a COTS alumni – Shimon Seringersky I am a COTS alumni and I’m part of the Crown Heights Shofar group. I just received an email which caused me to be nauseated with the whole shofar thing and it made me realize how it’s all a fake. I got an email from a master (staff) at shofar, M. L. Which stated the following: “Please go to colive.com and set the record straight about Call… Read more »

    Oholei Torah
    Guest
    Oholei Torah

    Is it appropriate for a Mashpia to talk about COTS with bachurim in ZAL????

    I am so disturbed:
    Guest
    I am so disturbed:

    The relish and delight with which fellow Jews and Chassidim are deriding their brothers; gleefully swooping down. Whatever the program may be, we need to treat each other with respect. The vast majority of the people attending this program, do so from a desire to grow and be in more loving relationships. There is nothing evil happening here. There is no need for a crusade.

    The first article!!
    Guest
    The first article!!

    The first article was BRIMMING with positive comments about COTS, and all of a sudden 100 comments against it FINNALY surface. Can you really convince me that the 200+ individuals in the first article are ALL brainwashed???? So what if you have 100 comments against it- 200+ are for it, and it’s a long shot to say all those people are messed up. The comments on this article isn’t any better than the positive comments of the first article.

    Chayim Yaakov sholomon
    Guest
    Chayim Yaakov sholomon

    I’m a Baal tshuvah and shliach and I went to shofar With my pre-frum experience and being a Buddhist and a person involved with eastern spirituality, I found it shocking and horrible that so many ideas and exercises from shofar are directly from eastern religions and spirituality which stems from klipah and Avoda Zarah R”l. Shofar is clearly inspired by non pure sources the man behind shofar works for an organization which purifies people with a fusion of eastern spirituality and western psychology. The organization is called emclear you can search them on google. The man behind shofar is actually… Read more »

    more info please
    Guest
    more info please

    bsd Dear rabbi hecht you say people should avoid the call of the shofar and stated specific reasons. please, in order for us to follow your instructions site more specific examples with more clear explanations of exactly what’s wrong. for the record I also ask my doctor when he tells me to take a medication to first explain it to me the exact chemical issue that my body is going through and to write a 20 page dissertation on the precise method that this drug will help me. when I ask a rov a shyla I also first demand to… Read more »

    The mashpia must be fired!
    Guest
    The mashpia must be fired!

    Until will everyone relize how much nonsense he is trying to put in the younger generation?!

    Smart man
    Guest
    Smart man

    This guy gets $30,000 for a weekend and gets to hear 40 people’s Lashon Hara…

    My husband went
    Guest
    My husband went

    Although he seems happier in general, he is more self centered and less compassionate. I think the tools are valuable if you can incorporate them into your lives but getting people to that broken point without proper support to keep them “together” can be very detrimental. Let the ideas be taught without the whole weekend thing. It is a derivative of the Landmark and EST technique so it has cult leanings.

    Chaim
    Guest
    Chaim

    I haven’t read all the posts before me so this point may have been made already.

    I attended a Call of the Shofar weekend seminar, although we ere encouraged not to use our phones and have conversations with others and put away our watches. This was not enforced and those who needed were able to use their phones etc.

    How about in our yeshivas and schools? Adult students aren’t allowed to use their phones or have conversations with others? Would you call that a cult?

    I can't believe
    Guest
    I can't believe

    I’m the guy who is not happy all the time but I’m not looking to feel “good” and “happy” and I also don’t know about cults (I do know rabbi Hecht knows ) My issue is this mashpia thing All the mashpim are debating that we should teach only the rebbehs chasidus (which I agree because through the mareh mekomos you can learn all chasidus) How is it possible for a mashpiah to recommend this even if it’s good does the mashpiah not know that maybe because it is so good and great is the first indicator that it’s bad… Read more »

    Why so nuts?
    Guest
    Why so nuts?

    I went, it was ok. I saw lots of guys seek inside themselves to be open and sensitive men and better jews. At one of the highest points, all I imagined was being as close as possible to my wife and children no matter what happens; taking full responsibility as a Jewish husband and father. its not Moshiach, but it helped lots of guys focus on what is really brewing inside them. if someone sees this as “THE” answer, then they have issues even without the call of the shofar. Yiddishkeit as taught by our Rebbe is the real guide… Read more »

    still a fan of cots But...
    Guest
    still a fan of cots But...

    I do agree, there are some aspects that can be improved upon, without compromising the main benefit it offers,

    question and comment
    Guest
    question and comment

    has anyone had any psychological damage from Shofar? I tend to agree with #32 and those similar to that. Just because Shea made himself a cult buster doesnt give him the right to bust this. He never sent anyone to a therapist before? He has healed everyone himself? What could he recommend? Truth is that yes, alot of rabbonim and “big” community people have taken part in it. Nobody seems to have felt that anyone was damaged or sustained any negative results. Look at it from the other perspective…..how many men have been “negatively brainwashed” by their unhealthy fathers who… Read more »

    abc
    Guest
    abc

    Ok the only way that I can disprove what shea is saying (fyi I have tremendous respect for the man but he is misinformed) is by looking at the ppl that went all of them walk out w more yiras shomayim and ahavas yisroel and other impirtant jewish values…

    its not perfect, true
    Guest
    its not perfect, true

    It’s not helpful to 100% of Patricipants , true!

    Is it therefore .AZ?
    Is it therefore Against Torah Chasidus?

    To #82
    Guest
    To #82

    If it is true that in fact the rebbe says these are the three criteria …. Then it is time to sift out the true mashpiim in yeshiva…. They are the ones who interact directly with our bochurim.

    cant trust anyone
    Guest
    cant trust anyone

    yes unfortunately over here with all these comments i cant trust a single one. i know of many articles where people who are kids have posted themselves as parents, i do not know whether the same is being done here in regard to random people claiming they have been to shofar when really they haven’t but this is a side issue. one thing is clear if there is machloykes regarding the call of the shofar it cant be ALL CLEAR CUT especially when an expert has talked out against it. then you have those idiots who decide ,wow if such… Read more »

    part of the problem is
    Guest
    part of the problem is

    Since cots participants are not very into public approval there is likely gonna be very little in the way of defending
    Cots in thus thread, those who are looking for the facts will
    Find it even if most of the here are by the same
    1 or 2 nay sayers with allot of free time on his hands

    I agree with 96

    Unless new legitimate arguments are raised and require clarification, don’t expect repeats and effectiveness by those who have a life and are in support of t cots

    To Shea Hecht
    Guest
    To Shea Hecht

    With all due respect, I hope you can take responsibility for all the people who are suffering and because of what you wrote, will not go to Shofar and get help.
    It is evident that you do not know the facts about Shofar.
    You should come out with an apology letter to fix the damage you have caused!

    agree with 103
    Guest
    agree with 103

    It’s sloppy and unproffessional

    And doesn’t seem like a strong case

    Just got back from a weekend there
    Guest
    Just got back from a weekend there

    It’s a wonderful program! The they give you tools to live a life from a place of well being. There is no stira to chasiddus actually they go hand in hand.
    Regarding Rabbi Shea: Did he ever look through the workbook they provide and see what it’s all about? And all you col commentators, ad usuall, you make comments that are simply foolish. I’m a greatful that I had the opportunity to go- and I commit myself to continue living life from a place of well being. Much love

    is shea a professional?
    Guest
    is shea a professional?

    The list of Rabbis and DOs on the testimonial page is extensive

    Is Rabbi Hecht smarter than ALL OF THEM?

    Not Relevant to Yeshiva
    Guest
    Not Relevant to Yeshiva

    All these nasty comments about Yeshiva are disgusting. No one has their watches taken away. Phones cannot be used even in goyishe schools during school hours; students must leave them outside in a phone locker. Every yeshiva or nonJewish school wants to create a disturbance-free “oasis” that is conducive to study, and in the case of yeshiva, for chassidishkeit. (Also, if you truly think and really believe yeshiva is mind-altering your son, you should not be sending him there.)

    Shimon S
    Guest
    Shimon S

    Why do you allow people to change your mind so easily. Of course the shofar wants to defend themselves and not loose their participants. Does that really make them a cult? Has there been anything at the workshop or philosophy been counter to Torah and yodishkiet? When there is opposition to something it shows there is a something. Anyway. I wish you well.

    Wow
    Guest
    Wow

    COTS is an adaptation of a goyshe program. I hope you know this In this goyshe program ,people have to become Recruters,this is the all thing and the Mitzvah ,to become recruters If you pay more you have a program to become a seminary and make your own program It’s all about money,you change you feel better at the beginning,only you,but people around you sees you as weird,you lose many of your friends,you became a recruiter In the goyshe version ( most probably they are going to develop more levels in the Jewish version too) there are more advanced week… Read more »

    Thank you COL for bring this up!
    Guest
    Thank you COL for bring this up!

    I am so pleased that this Shofar has been getting attention so that people can express what they really think about it. I have never been there and never plan on going however here is some I would to share with the reader about my experiences with people who have gone there. A few points, multiple people who have participated in shofar came back trying to convince me and some of my friends to also participate. One of them I asked what goes on there, He told me that its’s amazing, my life has changed. I asked him to tell… Read more »

    A major issue that needs stressing
    Guest
    A major issue that needs stressing

    My main concern with Call of the Shofar and why it’s hepach Chassidus and hepach Yidishkeit is that is solely focused on ME, MYSELF AND I.

    Shidduch
    Guest
    Shidduch

    Please write in yours shidduch profile if you attendeded COTS
    I don’t want to expose my kids to this new religion

    perspective
    Guest
    perspective

    I really wish the the Rabbi would given his opinion with out put labels on The Call of the Shofar. The Rabbi is entitled to his opinions but really should make assumptions if he has not dealt with it first hand. The Rabbi should go to a weekend and talk to Rabbi Frishling and then he can make whatever conclusions he wants. We all need to be care and think before we put stuff out there it can have implications on real Jews.

    Endorsed by a leading mashpia in Crown Heights
    Guest
    Endorsed by a leading mashpia in Crown Heights

    Rabbi Sternberg is one of the leading Mashpiem in Crown Heights and very much in touch with the reality of “heintega” bochurim and yungerleit. His endorsement of a program as this does and should carry much weight. It is sad that there are those out there that have a tendency to pour cold water on anything that is out of the norm, not realizing the negative effect this has on countless individuals. Rabbi Sternberg has always been on the forefront on the issues affecting the current world matzav and we owe him a tremendous amount of hakoras hatov for stepping… Read more »

    to #9
    Guest
    to #9

    “The phrase “Chasidus has all the answers” must be dissected. A) the term Chasidus refers to what? A specific book? An aggregate of books? A principle? An aggregate of principals? A certain personality? An aggregate of personalities? Seriously: WHAT IS BEING REFERRED TO? Once that is specified, the question becomes: “all the answers TO WHAT?” Addiction? Stress? Depression? Ocd? Adhd? The whole DSM? Half? Only one axis? WHAT – for G-ds sake? C) Once that is specified, the question becomes: how do you know? Was it told to you by an authority of the material? Is he an authority on… Read more »

    Thank you Rabbi Hecht
    Guest
    Thank you Rabbi Hecht

    Thank you for speaking the truth. I upsets me to see so many in the frum community fall prey to schemes and snake oil salesman. From COTS to the anti vaccine crowd to the homeopothy scan, people are being suckered left and right.

    Mordy #2
    Guest
    Mordy #2

    To #106, etc. Asking for good reviews when your company is getting trashed by a “cult buster” and a reminder of confidentiality is not indicative of cultish behavior. Good grief; have you ever seen a real cult and what they do? Have you ever seen people destroyed, hollowed out and barely able to speak their native language after years in cults? Requesting online reviews is a great big nothing. As for the cost, motivational weekends for my profession (Real Estate) run into the thousands. $600-$1000 is nothing for this sort of thing; room and board alone probably costs them upwards… Read more »

    Berry, can you please answer #88?
    Guest
    Berry, can you please answer #88?

    I heard those complaints before.

    reply to 133
    Guest
    reply to 133

    you are absolutely incorrect. its all based on klal-prat-klal. if you don’t know what i mean, then you obviously are talking from ignorance of the concept that COTS is teaching

    Does Chassidus have the answers?
    Guest
    Does Chassidus have the answers?

    This letter landed in my email inbox just as the Shofar debate gained steam. I post it not to compare an organization’s method’s to apikorsus, but to share the Rebbe’s view of “Mochin Digadlus”–something may well be beneficial, but it must even so be handled with extreme care by professionals. “Therapy” is not for everyone; everyone can benefit from specific forms of therapy to treat specific symptoms and causes. To my mind, coming back from a retreat and announcing “This is for everyone” is in itself suspect. The letter: ______________ By the Grace G-d 11th of Adar, 5726 Brooklyn, N.Y.… Read more »

    I like Rabbi Hecht but he really dropped the ball on this one
    Guest
    I like Rabbi Hecht but he really dropped the ball on this one

    I’m trying to make sense if his sweeping comparison and use of the Rebbe’s words, sorry! I don’t see, how he uses the Rebbe’s words to knock this program So far, No one has answered any of the requests for concrete examples which demonstrate that this is harmful, avodas Zara, or not the type of retreat the Rebbe encouraged The burden of proof is on Shea to prove A) that he knows their philosophy, and tactics B) that any one if them is contrary to an igros or Halacha Until then, this seems like a shameless plug if his “revised”… Read more »

    Here is what Wikipedia defines as a cult
    Guest
    Here is what Wikipedia defines as a cult

    Find all this on Wikipedia cults in our midst “Keep the person unaware of what is going on and how attempts to psychologically condition him or her are directed in a step-by-step manner. Potential new members are led, step by step, through a behavioral-change program without being aware of the final agenda or full content of the group. The goal may be to make them deployable agents for the leadership, to get them to buy more courses, or get them to make a deeper commitment, depending on the leader’s aim and desires. Control the person’s social and/or physical environment; especially… Read more »

    proof of the pudding
    Guest
    proof of the pudding

    people are coming out of there weird. i know personally a bochur who looked like a zombie and it was through lots of TLC and tears and prayers that he is back in the land of the living. In what kind of setting is a person encouraged to take off their clothes in public in the name of therapy

    To 101
    Guest
    To 101

    Regardless of your own personal issues (clearly more than a few, if you’re so inclined to comment with such disregard), Berry was at least man enough to publicly share his own experienced opinions, and in his real name. You? You bash anonymously, and almost certainly (you reek of that type) ignorantly. Go look in the mirror and make sure you do a good din vcheshbon tonight before you go publically belittling anyone else. Shame on you. Pity on your family. No I don’t know Berry at all but I have a whole lot more respect for him than the likes… Read more »

    To the Mockers
    Guest
    To the Mockers

    Had u tried to stigmatize and discredit this program a year ago, you would’ve stood a chance to misrepresent it. Too late nearly 500 lubavitchers already know what it is first hand, and have already appreciated its life enhancing fruit, for all to see, their spouses, mechunochim, and friends have all witnesses the positive changes, It’s like trying to deny that igros kodesh works, maybe right after gimul Tammuz, u could have had some luck and argued that it doesn’t, today the cat is out of the bag, everyone knows and uses it, bec there are already too many beneficiaries… Read more »

    Shofar is NOT for everyone
    Guest
    Shofar is NOT for everyone

    Most ppl I know who web have gaind from it.

    With all due respect
    Guest
    With all due respect

    Rabbi sternberg may be a mashpia who knows more about the challenges than any other. That does not mean he knows that solutions to those challenges. He may be boki in chassidus, have spoke to hundreds of bochurim and yungerliet about their demons, but how would he know if this is safe or not??? Just because there is no other solution to the issues (yet) it doesnt mean this one is safe or not just another, bigger, problem. Does rabbi sternberg have the training in Cults? Does he know about Landmark? EMC? the other dangerous elements out there?

    Recruiters.
    Guest
    Recruiters.

    There are many cults that host seminars and not everyone who goes gets caught in.

    It seems like here, some people get caught up in the system. They feel the need to keep going back.

    They receive discounts for recruiting people.

    I want these people to proclaim whether they get these discounts.

    Please I’m telling you. Stay away.

    Lay It Out for All to See
    Guest
    Lay It Out for All to See

    Rabbi Hecht’s letter alleges that “when you visit the website of the Call of the Shofar, the sources listed by R’ Simcha Frischling himself are tied in with avoda zara and ‘avazrayu d’avoda zara.'” Specifically, what is he referring to? It’s possible to view the website of Call of the Shofar the way it looked all the way back to 2007 by visiting Archive.org. I tried myself to find any hint or reference to avoda zara on their website in many of its older versions, and I did not find any. Maybe the Call of the Shofar is a cult,… Read more »

    Thank you Rabbi Hecht
    Guest
    Thank you Rabbi Hecht

    I have gone to cots ( may the name of evil . . . .. ) A Lubavitcher I know texeted me “calloftheshofar.org ” i was surprised at receiving such a website .So i checked it out ,and it was one weird website ! I flipped out , and called the yougerman ” what is this ” ? i asked in wonderment, ” its a cult ” “no no no ” he assured me its gonna teach you how to . . . . . . . . .( he know i was going throw some normal life challenge )… Read more »

    To: #46
    Guest
    To: #46

    , it’s not a recurring thing. Yes, there are group meetups in some cities but most people (I would estimate 80% but I don’t know for sure), including myself, dont go to these and just attend the weekend and learn some

    Wrong!!
    I Know a community member a School Rebbe , he attended now 3 weekends , why is he gointg back idf its not a cult ?

    Where is  GEON Yaakov , Yiddisher Chasidisher pride??
    Guest
    Where is GEON Yaakov , Yiddisher Chasidisher pride??

    This is the result of having an empty “puste” kop! Take your Yiddisher Chassidisher Geon Yakov and busy yourself al hatorah veavoda and you will have happy,purposeful and rich lives!!! You will also save yourself lots of money by not running to thes yukels and fadrying yourself and others around you a kop!!!

    Shliach and COTS attendee
    Guest
    Shliach and COTS attendee

    People have written that cots has ideas that are similar to budisum and avoda Zara. Keep in mind that those same ideas are in chassidus, that doesn’t make chassidus flase. The source of the ideas are based in chassidus, so what if others took it and claimed it theirs.

    NONE of the shofar ideas contradict Torah or Chsiddus in any way. They are in fact perfectly aligned.

    Why all the insecurity?

    Lots of misinformation on this thread
    Guest
    Lots of misinformation on this thread

    1. They require you to have the time, there’s a time to eat, a time for Davening etc. my watch was never taken from me! 2. Cell phones, my cell phone was never taken from me either, I was discouraged from making phone calls unrelated to The subject at hand. Friday I did use the my phone a few times, staff knew and had no problem with it, as long as I reassured them that I’m aware that distractions can subtract, one I made it clear that I’m aware, they left me alone and trusted me, a real colt would… Read more »

    For myself it was a good choice
    Guest
    For myself it was a good choice

    Bderech sheAdam Rotzeh, shom molichin oisoi

    Even though I went and am pleased with what I gained from it,
    It did become obvious to me that it’s not for everyone
    And In every group there will be one or two resentful ppl bec of how much they paid and got nothing for it.

    I suspect that 90% of the negative comments are coming from one or two bitter ppl, who have reasons to be resentful

    Call of The Shofar Saves LIVES!
    Guest
    Call of The Shofar Saves LIVES!

    Call of The Shofar has saved so many lives, you should all be ashamed of yourselves! Don’t hate things that you don’t understand folks. How can you shame something you don’t understand? Get educated.

    Agreed 117
    Guest
    Agreed 117

    Good on you 117. Well said. I’m a total outsider of all of this but one thing that is so clear here is that it’s all SAME OLD. The Shechuna by and large is (always has been) afraid of change. Wake up people! Your children, the children of this century need it! Yes the Torah and Chassidus of ‘old’ are our guide and light, but if you don’t know how best to direct and protect a flame from outside forces (wind, etc) and plenty of inside ‘forces’ that manage to diminish from rather than keep alight and bright our precious… Read more »

    The Rebbe's approach (see the letter)
    Guest
    The Rebbe's approach (see the letter)

    Instead of mocking and vilifying… To encourage it to be done in a Kosher way! For it to continually adopt. Modify and improve so that the good within it is preserved and the shuts is increasingly eliminated It’s clear that some ppl (perhaps the same person posting over and over) are not here to build and help, rather their here to destroy and spew their bitterness and blame it on the Rebbe’s guidance The Rebbe, clearly encouraged a Kosher Meditation program devoid of any idolatrous components Is anyone here calming that COTS has or is in any way shape or… Read more »

    Why all the hostility from the anti shofar types???
    Guest
    Why all the hostility from the anti shofar types???

    U sound soo bitter and resentful!!

    Why are u soo tzukratzed that soo many of ur fellow chasidim are happy and had a successful experience??

    U really need to discuss ur resentment with a professional, seriously!

    If it’s Shea, or his family I totally understand, the only way to save face after such a reckless and sloppy piece is by turning up the attacks, if that’s what’s happening, I’m really sooty for u
    Everyone will respect and admire you allot more if u simply come out and own the fact that ur comparisons were very sloppy and knee jerk

    Btdt
    Guest
    Btdt

    There’s no need to knock this program
    Perhaps a few small modifications to make it less distasteful to those who look at everything from the goyesheh connotation and can’t escape that association

    Oy!!!
    Guest
    Oy!!!

    Maskilim on gekumn tzum shtetel…….un lachen oyf eden

    Such hatefilled venom from the anti shofar camp, surely not mitzad hakdusha
    Guest
    Such hatefilled venom from the anti shofar camp, surely not mitzad hakdusha

    This program obviously has allot of good for many people! Therefore it should not be categorically stigmatized or vilified! Rather if there is something wrong with it, let a Rav investigate and suggest modifications that need to be implemented to make this Kosher as the Rebbe wanted it. If a Rav determines that this is full fledged AZ beyond redemption (I highly doubt), then A Chabad Kosher Alternative should be developed, since clearly, there are good chasidim elements within this which is offering much value to manny! My conclusion: Keep the REAL FARBY aspect of it! GET REID OF ANY… Read more »

    Go to professional group therapy
    Guest
    Go to professional group therapy

    The problem with Call of the Shofar is that it takes advantage of uneducated and vulnerable individuals who are disillusioned with the community and the schools they went to– (and to a certain degree, rightly so). When a Crown Heightser goes to Call of the Shofar and hears ideas which they never heard about before, and it resonates with them(as it should, psychology is a science and is the study of how our mind works) and for many of them their emotions are being validated(where as before among their family,schools, and community) they were never validated. However, it is coming… Read more »

    People who went
    Guest
    People who went

    I know a few people who went .They were self centered before and now feel validated tob e self centered.Ofcourse they love it!

    Irony
    Guest
    Irony

    It’s funny yet sad to note the irony of how so many commentators are rushing to agree the R’ Hecht’s clearly uniformed and self contradicting position about COTS being a cult. Not asking him to prove his statements, not trying to understand it for yourself, just blindly agreeing with whatever helps you not have to question the status-qua of the life you lead…that my friends sounds like a function of cult member thinking-or lack thereof. I feel sorry for those of you are so afraid to actually consider the possibility of tools for healthier emotional living coming from a source… Read more »

    Berry
    Guest
    Berry

    You do sund like you have issues and glad u tried to look after them…but afraid u went to the wrong place.
    If MANIS F said a cult is when participants encourage and recruit “everyone they know to go”…SORRY THIS IS A CULT!! ;(
    I have PERSONALLY had this happen by participants and many of my friends did WITHOUT us complaining about having ANY issues.

    Simcha you could not look straight into the camera for longer than 2 seconds and I was creeped out from the beginning…you were fidgety too, if body movements tell anything yours would be an amber alert!

    reply to 141
    Guest
    reply to 141

    Indeed I have not been there nor would I ever consider going to such a program. Rather, my comment is based on speaking to a 3 people who were there, and further from seeing comments from others. You clearly have fallen into their trap. I know some (especially those brainwashed by a”z) won’t agree with this, but people don’t need a seminar why and how they should love themselves. Notice, Torah does not command that. Reason being: we don’t need to be taught to love ourselves because we naturally do already! That’s why it states “Love you fellow AS YOURSELF”.… Read more »

    Rabbi Heller
    Guest
    Rabbi Heller

    I was told by someone who directly spoke to Harav Heller that at first people told him things that sounded good and so he said it seemed okay to go. But now that he hears other things about the call of the shofar (the truth), he said it appears to be assur to attend.

    Dearest Shea,
    Guest
    Dearest Shea,

    You will need to find some actual experts who have degrees in the field to save your face! go for it, lets see what you can come up with. re the A”Z attack, the Rebbe (u misquoted) was specifically referring to Transcendental Meditation, the Rebbe in many letters specifically aloows, and encourages (no tracedental) Meditation as beneficial!!!!! and to be done in a kosher environment, with Kosher food and Mikvah available! even a little bit of research (study) in the Rebbe’s letters on this very topic, reveals how ignorant and misrepresenting you were to the Rebbe’s publicised views on the… Read more »

    COTS-CULT
    Guest
    COTS-CULT

    U ppl. Don’t realize I was”parve” until I hear most comments from participants…u come out very defensive of any negative view to COTS and encourage “everyone to go”.
    Do u not read all participants comments as almost identical, as if they can no longer think for themselves and have any objectivity?!
    I know someone who just came back from an invigorating, relaxing & amazing vacation with her family, and guess what? Though she had a most amazing experience and surely would advise anyone who inquires, she didn’t come back “brainwashing” all her friends that they MUST go!
    What a concept?,

    Chasidus and Torah has all the answers indeed
    Guest
    Chasidus and Torah has all the answers indeed

    That does not negate the Torah view that for specialized topics one should consult an expert in the respective field. (A foot doctor, Heart doctor, etc)

    OCD, ADHD, childhood emotional neglect, chasidus (according to the Rebbe) requires us to go to experts (as defined in Halacha)

    103 nailed it!
    Guest
    103 nailed it!

    1. Rabbi Wolf (not Shea) has direct hadracha from the Rebbe re kosher meditation

    2. He is suspiciously vague and quiet when pressed for specifics, detailing AZ or Apikursus within COTS

    3. I’m unimpressed by Shea’s sweeping generalizations, his statement is wishy washy, vague, without any clear link to the Rebbe’s criteria for AZ

    Slippery Slope
    Guest
    Slippery Slope

    I have friends who went to COTS. It’s on shabbos- fine– it’s a self- help experience for yidden with other yidden who are observing shabbos- great. Next thing I knew they went to another self-help experience- this time with goyim, led by a goy, on our holy shabbos! I should have maybe said something but i didn’t because they would think i’m just closeminded and it wouldn’t have entered their hearts. I don’t have an opinion of COTS but please adhere to chazal “Do not trust yourself AD YOM MISASO- until the day you die! Be firm in holding your… Read more »

    Let a Rov decide
    Guest
    Let a Rov decide

    Since Shea is beating around the bush, let a Rov examine the program start to finish and make a determination whether it’s Kosher or needs surgery

    Stop all the overt hostility please!

    Where does that all come from??

    For those who seek:
    Guest
    For those who seek:

    Greeting and Blessing. Avoda Zara literally means foreign workings. In Torah and Judaism, and the Nature of Hashem (Elokim) and His creation, the focal point of development and positivity is humility and gratitude, producing unity and happiness. Torah has prescribed what one should do, and these outcomes result. To suggest one also employ foreign workings (incorporated around Torah) for spiritual health is to suggest that the workings of Torah itself and Judaism is insufficient to achieve the same, and that added, foreign, workings (with Torah concepts incorporated therein) should, G-d forbid, be added to one’s Jewish life. With regard to… Read more »

    terrible program
    Guest
    terrible program

    It’s a terrible program all the guys my age that went there came out weird

    a real chossid
    Guest
    a real chossid

    You don’t need sychologist if you learn chassidis
    and you don’t need kollege if you go on mitzoyim

    Cult=Pyramid scheme
    Guest
    Cult=Pyramid scheme

    Because of the pyramid aspect it is obviously a cult. Here is the Challenge: They do not offer FREE weekends (even on a “needs based” basis) so obviously it is NOT lishma. Every sheker has truth and every evil has good and this program seems to have much of both but bottom line $$$$

    MMF

    a letter to ALL SHOFAR ALUM
    Guest
    a letter to ALL SHOFAR ALUM

    Please, Read this i received from a fellow alumni i respect: Seeking the approval of others -who are scared/bitter/envious- accomplishes little! and subtracts from what we each should be focusing on, -What Hashem needs of you, (chitas, minyin, etc) What you wife and children need of you (time, love attention), If you have an extra available moment, why not find a way to help at home! go learn a maamer, better yet, call a mushpa who can use a friendly phone call! Remember, to those of us who are concerned about setting the record straight for the sake of those… Read more »

    On a similar note...
    Guest
    On a similar note...

    I read a book by a Chassidic Rabbi essentially setting out to show that not only are Anonymous™ meetings not against Torah, but that it’s methodology is in Torah and Judaism. This is when it dawned upon me… Going to Anonymous™ meetings would essentially be suggesting that I must go outside of Torah and Judaism to reach what is inherently within Torah and Judaism. I then realized that instead of seeking elsewhere (in whatever regard) I ought to be taking Torah and Judaism more seriously, as if my life depends on it, like Anons do with their ways, instead of… Read more »

    absurd to compare to yeshiva
    Guest
    absurd to compare to yeshiva

    Yeshivas do not deny bochurim phones. In fact, most yeshivas have multiple public phones. They deny them cell phones aka libraries of innapropriate materials. If you can’t figure out why you have issues. They also don’t like rampant use because it increases chances of flirting… but I never saw a yeshiva dissuade moderate phone usage.

    Robin Garbose
    Guest
    Robin Garbose

    People who are vulnerable to persuasion and mind control are simply at a vulnerable moment in their life, which is something common to all of us And vulnerability, especially for the artist, is good and essential. It just needs to be protected, like under the wings of the Rebbe, and not exploited. I believe there are some strong red flags here that require closer scrutiny and consideration. This is my assessment after reading most of the posts. I would recommend Steven Hassan’s book Combatting Cult Mind Control to understand better how persuasive manipulation works. I have been involved with the… Read more »

    Carpet Work for Reb Shea
    Guest
    Carpet Work for Reb Shea

    What’s the data?

    The data is there exists a program with a set of rules in order to help one with person growth.

    What’s the thinking?
    Maybe people will judge my lubavitch community that our very own Chassidus is not enough and we need to look outside.

    What’s the feeling?
    I don’t feel good enough on my own. I need to prove to people that we are important in order to feel good about myself.

    …SO WHAT DO YOU WANT, REB SHEA??!
    I want to feel good enough!!! I want to feel accepted!!!

    SAY IT! GO THERE!!
    “I AM GOOD ENOUGH!”

    Thank you
    Guest
    Thank you

    Thank you Rabbi Hecht!!!!
    The ‘mashpiim’ that were pulled into this must come out publicly and say theyve made a mistake and were misguided and/or leave their mashpia post.
    Hashem have rachmonos on our children!

    where do theses ideas come from !?!?!?
    Guest
    where do theses ideas come from !?!?!?

    this is insane this guy is been to every tuma in the book and is proud enough to put them on his bio if you google friscling wordpress you will see a list of trainings note he wasnt just there as a participant but was trained how to give this tuma to other people hashem yishmor !! heres the list i googled the orgs and wrote a little definition for each of them Steven Frischling A journey to conscious relationship Partial list of trainings: Rabbinic certification through Perchei Shoshanim in Israel – online smicha Ongoing study partner in Judaic Studies… Read more »

    Most shofar guys are like me
    Guest
    Most shofar guys are like me

    We gained from it, but wer not die hard fans pushing everybody all the time

    That’s just propaganda by the naysayers

    Rabbi Hecht, Please Clarify
    Guest
    Rabbi Hecht, Please Clarify

    I respect Rabbi Hecht and read his letter with an open mind. I have never participated in Call of the Shofar nor do I plan to. So many people in the community seem to know about it that I’d like to have at least a passing familiarity with what it’s all about. Rabbi Hecht is undoubtedly familiar with many cults and cult members, but this letter does nothing to support his position as an expert in the field. He can claim that COTS is a cult, but it’s only fair to back that up somehow. I don’t see that he… Read more »

    Email i got from Rabbi Sternberg
    Guest
    Email i got from Rabbi Sternberg

    this is part of a email i got from Rabbi Sternberg today “I appreciate the information you sent me regarding the call of the Shofar Org. Although I have not researched the matter thoroughly, the information I’ve seen worries me. And in particular after hearing today that Rabbi Hecht wrote a letter stating that it is a cult, I am even more concerned. I respect his opinion, especially on this topic. All this tells me that I have to investigate further before I come to the conclusion on the subject. So I feel that the responsible thing for me to… Read more »

    Why is cots asking for grateful participants to set the record str8?
    Guest
    Why is cots asking for grateful participants to set the record str8?

    Perhaps to help future ppl! Duh!

    Nothing particularly cultish abt that

    Haroitzeh litois, yiteh!

    Those who can’t afford it, or who have a need to believe its a cult and AZ, good for u, don’t go, and keep being miserable!

    The thing is, most alumni don’t have a need to set the record str8, they are happy and focused on their family’s…

    Those who are sincere abt knowing all the facts, are smart enough to what’s going on

    86 wow! thank you!
    Guest
    86 wow! thank you!

    Most useful comment ever!!

    Dear COLLIVE READERS stop being GULLIBLE!!
    Guest
    Dear COLLIVE READERS stop being GULLIBLE!!

    it seems that for the majority of people commenting here, their entire source of info is either from their friends who went to cots, or the two article’s here on COL and the comments. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! STOP BEING SO GULLIBE AND NAIVE!! Research the program on google!!! Landmark Forum and COTS are 99% identical. There is a HUGE amount of information available on landmark forum, and it takes only a few key strokes to access it. it is full of information like their schedule, and many times you can get a breakdown, of the MANY MANY cult tactics and… Read more »

    Sad
    Guest
    Sad

    So sad that the sheep are following an uneducated leader. Stop listening to Shea.

    agree
    Guest
    agree

    I totally agree

    Thank you!  Rabbi hecht
    Guest
    Thank you! Rabbi hecht

    Puts his name on the article does not hide his face I went there and felt I was in a trap wanted to walk home on shabbos
    And the reason it’s on shabbos that you can’t leave if your frum and that charge good to thank you shea hecht

    Danny
    Guest
    Danny

    As a child growing up my dad was always home for shabbos I don’t remember a shabbos in 30 years that my parents were not home for shabbos and my dad traveled a lot who makes a program on shabbos to separate a cupple ? Thank you rabbi shea people stay away from this colt anyone that tries to send there child there or spouse are putting them in harms way have have mercy on us and bring moshiach now!

    no cell phones in yeshiva
    Guest
    no cell phones in yeshiva

    Bc they don’t want u wasting your time reading these comments (with your cellphone)in the bathroom, during sedar girsa, when u belong in zal! (And doing other things with your phone….) chevra! Stop wasting time, and let’s learn torah!

    chcm
    Guest
    chcm

    Ty shea hecht for pointing out the darkness
    The Friedike Rebbe says
    We live in a galus that ppl look at darkness and see light.and vice versa…
    Yup its a dark and sad galus.
    (berry, shea hecht didnt attack u its not a personal issue cots didnt teach u not to take things personally)

    Of concern to me
    Guest
    Of concern to me

    Of concern to me is the language COTS followers use; you MUST join because it will change your life… save your marriage… enable yourself to be a decent parent… etc. The dramatics make me concerned. Sounds kind of like “your cousin you don’t know who is a prince in Nigeria left $12 million to you” or “URGENT: DOCUMENT FROM YOUR ACCOUNTANT” etc. A reputable company will use a moderate tone, like enroll your child in our math center because we have achieved great results with increasing children’s test scores and getting them excited to learn again. Not; “Join our math… Read more »

    Rushing to judgement
    Guest
    Rushing to judgement

    COTS is run by good people who have had a very significant positive impact on many. Let’s just try to be more aware of the potential loss of a good thing and real-harm to good people that could come from rushing to judgement.

    Everything that’s ever been done has had its critics. This sort of forum makes it easy to hide behind divisive words. Our words are more powerful than we might know. Imagine how much more achdus we could create by being slower to judge and place something in a category or a label.

    NEW IDEA
    Guest
    NEW IDEA

    Somebody want to make a Chassidus retreat ? AKA leaving your family and communications devices for a 3 day weekend just to learn Chassidus ALL DAY. No farbrenging, no mashke (til maybe the way end), no gossiping about controversial topics, just learning and working on self. Pur Chassidus.?I would join.

    Haskamah
    Guest
    Haskamah

    Can we get a haskamah from a mental health professional?

    I totally agree.
    Guest
    I totally agree.

    I have read Rabbi Hecht’s “Confessions of a Jewish Cultbuster” and this man is the most knowledgable rabbi in this area.
    You would be foolish not to listen!

    Shea is a fraud
    Guest
    Shea is a fraud

    If the Call of the Shofar is a cult like Hecht claims than he should be putting his money where his mouth is and going after this organization to protect the community. If its not a cult and he does not have any valid claims against the Shofar, than do not make baseless claims as if they were fact. As well, He says he is a professional Cult buster, who gave him that title?

    Thank you Rabbi Hecht!
    Guest
    Thank you Rabbi Hecht!

    Finally, a sane opinion.

    @DiveRitor
    Guest
    @DiveRitor

    The differnce between a cult and a religion is one can be rationally explained to be a divine truth and one appeals solely to our emotional side., although tthey both might be able to justify themselves by an incredible outcome. If you believe in any cult or any reliigion or for that matter even yourself you can overcome addictions and feel great. This i beleive to be the fundemental differece bet our yeshivas and this new cult. our yeshivas atleast proclaim to be teaching us and our children a torah passed down from mount sinia given in the presence of… Read more »

    to 138
    Guest
    to 138

    Anti vaccine is cultish?! Are you high?! If I say that I don’t want intervention to treat an illness that I don’t have, I’m cultish?! Whatever. You are free to live your life as you please. It’s called live and let live. BTW, I got the flu vaccine (coerced by my employer) and guess what? I had so much pain in my forearm for two weeks and 5 days after the vaccine, I got the flu! The majority of PRO vaccine people are NOT cultish, but then there is the fringe like yourself who are, and feel just because I… Read more »

    stam
    Guest
    stam

    i must say although rabbi hecht didnt elaborate about the reason why cots is bad however the point of phones i think isnt to hard to understand in a yeshiva they take away your phones as a distraction however call your parents as much as youd like (not to say we are speaking about adults) however there is no program which prohibits access with the world for a weekend its not like they are asking you to shut off your phone for session this is a tequiniqe used especielly for adults in cults

    whats wrong if its a cult????????????????????????????????????????????
    Guest
    whats wrong if its a cult????????????????????????????????????????????

    bc then even if it makes you a better person YOU arent a better person youre just brainwashed! and torah is all abt being the best person YOU could be not to be the best person possible (if it means not being you arent being you bc youre brainwashed)

    If a Christian takes a Jewish concept, does that make it Christian?
    Guest
    If a Christian takes a Jewish concept, does that make it Christian?

    If other religions have elements of truth mixed into their shtusim, the truth is no less truth and not suddenly false or pasul,

    I can speak for myself, non of the concepts espoused by any of my instructors were foreign to Torah or chasidus!!!
    Aderabeh! Only an insecure mind with too much one track minded taint from other religions gets stuck with the “this reminds me of AZ” complex

    My husband went
    Guest
    My husband went

    It changed NoThing in him!!!! For a week he was all into it!!!!
    After a few weeks he said it was the biggest waste of time ever!!!!! He felt like it had just played with his mind and not let him think for himself!!! He was not allowed to use his cell phone!!!

    prediction
    Guest
    prediction

    Since people in the chasidic world are wary and suspicious of people and mentors who aren’t chasidic,I predict that someone will open a COTS according to Chabad principles..There is definitely a need for change and self growth awareness.May this be a beginning to improved mental wellbeing and better relationships!

    real men!
    Guest
    real men!

    If he is a community leadernand there is so much controversy over the matter,why wouldn’t Shea go see for himself what it a all about?I like strong community leaders with values that actually give a darn!

    the Rebbe would encourage it
    Guest
    the Rebbe would encourage it

    if need be the Rebbe would also encourage modifications if a Rav/Posek found something not 100% Kosher

    To outright, attack, and denigrate a program which has resulted in dozens of genuinely chasidisheh farbrengens in CH and beyond etc etc, has benefited soo many ppl’s avodas H’, Ahavas Yisroel etc such animosity does not come from Tzad Hakdusha, thats forsure!

    Rabbi Shea  Hecht is an expert!!!!!!
    Guest
    Rabbi Shea Hecht is an expert!!!!!!

    My friend was in a cult rabbi Hecht saved his life!!!!
    His opinion matters !!!!

    to shliach /155
    Guest
    to shliach /155

    So if Simcha Frischling makes a Michael Jackson song into a nigun, it becomes kadosh vetahor just like the Rebbeim that converted goyishe songs? A Rebbe has the ability to elevate klipa. Enough said.

    181 Thank you!
    Guest
    181 Thank you!

    147 good analogy!
    160 yes, that is the Rebbe’s approach in the letter re Kosher retreat
    164 yes, hate = smells like klipa,
    171 Dont hold ur breath for Shea to answer SPECIFICS
    173 correct, Chasidus does require us to utilize proven experts (Based on results, Simcha is an expert)
    174 correct, Rabbi Wolf (not hecht) was instructed re Kosher Meditation
    176 Yes, let a Rov investigate and decide!

    Re: Robin Garbose!!!!
    Guest
    Re: Robin Garbose!!!!

    I was so excited to see your name here! It’s always good to hear from you- even if it’s just as comment on collive. Thank you for the book suggestion. I will definitely read it. Much hatlzlacha with all the amazing work that YOU do in promoting art and vulnerability with the protection of the Rebbe’s haraos.

    Love,
    elana

    The Pro Shofar types are not the ones commenting,
    Guest
    The Pro Shofar types are not the ones commenting,

    part of the benefits of Shofar, is that your not preocupied or emotionally invested in the approval of others.

    instead, your in a secure place, and free to persue what really matters to you!

    most of the Pro Shofar comments, seem to be comming from, sincere readers, genuinely disappointed by Rabbi Shea’s unsubstantiated assertions!

    every intelligent comment seems to be begging for SPECIFICITY from shea, to backup his claims with concrete Facts and Sources.

    A Psychiatrist responds
    Guest
    A Psychiatrist responds

    I am a psychiatrist for many years and I participated in this workshop about 2 years ago. I can only comment on the one time I attended and Simcha was the leader then. It is not a cult, people talk about “cell phones” not being able to be used, well it was Shabbos, but motzei shabbos, in my room I called my wife, no one stopped me. It wasn’t as if we were being held hostage!! I had a room in the hotel, as did everyone else, just like in every other shabbaton. This was no different from other intense… Read more »

    Shofar is NOT LANDMARK!
    Guest
    Shofar is NOT LANDMARK!

    Klal, Prat, Klal,
    a central theme of Shofar Not landmark
    G-d, and Dvekus, the yearning of each soul to reconnect to its source, Shofar, NOT LANDMARK!
    Kosher food, Mikvah, Davening,
    No one confiscates your watch or cell phone at shofar!!

    There are soo may central differences between the two!
    (otherwise, Simcha would get sued)
    Its a very inaccurate to claim that Shofar is Landmark!

    nice try though

    Oy vey
    Guest
    Oy vey

    OK, all you COTS grads; stop freaking out! Remember the deep breathing techniques and meditate until the sad feeling that you’ve been outed passes.
    You know what’s so sad? 8 bochurim from Yeshiva learn an entire chelek of Likutei Sichos inside out, and there are EIGHT comments. Some nutty guy comes up with a way to make money and 400 people are jumping out of the woodwork to weigh in on the issue!
    -The mayor of TO

    Some people
    Guest
    Some people

    continuously search for the next new thing that will some how fix their lives. While this is tragically predictable from a secular American,it is pathetic and heartt breaking from unz. We have a Rebbe.

    Rabbi Heacht, please reply on point to the sensible questions asked to backup your claims
    Guest
    Rabbi Heacht, please reply on point to the sensible questions asked to backup your claims

    Not to do so, can be construed as not having any concrete facts to support and prove your dangerouse claims

    to 156
    Guest
    to 156

    156 You say: 2. Cell phones, my cell phone was never taken from me either, I was discouraged from making phone calls unrelated to The subject at hand. Friday I did use the my phone a few times, staff knew and had no problem with it, as long as I reassured them that I’m aware that distractions can subtract, one I made it clear that I’m aware, they left me alone and trusted me, a real colt would punish u for outside contact! Are you not aware of how manipulative that is!!!!???? They had to know, and you had to… Read more »

    Just a suggestion....
    Guest
    Just a suggestion....

    Rabbi Sternberg, don’t you think a mashpia of your level should investigate a program in great depths BEFORE you send one single bochur there?! And frankly with all due respect why can’t you utilize what we HAVE – the Tanya to influence boys?

    Why so few comments from the hundreds of Shofar grads??
    Guest
    Why so few comments from the hundreds of Shofar grads??

    Shofar grads tend not to care to much about Maligim, they have lives to focus on, and loved ones to cherish with their free time! im only typing now (as a grad) bec im taking a Bathroom break! my interest in setting the record streight stems from concern for those who may otherwise benefit from Shofar, but thanks to reckless ppl’s fears and ulteriour motives, they may get the wrong idea as to what its really all about! as jews the only way to make a compitant decission is via consulting real (trained) experts who care about your wellbeing, aka… Read more »

    chabad melamed
    Guest
    chabad melamed

    hi everyone,i am a shofaree i went and i continue up with shofar meetings weekly! my experience:after learning in our Yeshivois ,in the system,not missing one seder chasidus my entire bochor life ,learning Nigla /CHASSIDUS trying to connect ,going to Mashpiim to help me,not getting the help,going on shlichus,and getting into negative behaviors that would be throwing out EVERYTHING,Shofar saved me!!! giving me a wake up call and the tools ,not a quick fix ! but the tools to use ,if i work with them .that is my choice ,daily .all the critisim is shtusim.if you have questions and are… Read more »

    221
    Guest
    221

    WHY is what goes on in the program confidential? Does that alone not STINK of something?

    reply to 226
    Guest
    reply to 226

    They did not want me to waste my $650. by getting carried away, wih email, voicemail, and buisness related distractions, as soon as they realized i was ONLY discussing Shofar related matterial, and not being distracted by (subtracting) work, they had no problem with it! they were looking out for me, to gain the most, by remaining focussed, and not wasting this limited time on distractions which would subtract from the agenda at hand, (agenda being, Introspection, aka Cheshbon hanefesh, Getting intouch with aspects of my inner emotional world which on a normal day get berried, and suppressed,) again, if… Read more »

    to 226: the staff are fellow Lubavicher volunteers!
    Guest
    to 226: the staff are fellow Lubavicher volunteers!

    who want u to maximize your gain from the time and $ invested,

    for them to make sure i realize that distractions, will subtract from my focus, that is not manipulation by money hungry bosses, that is brotherly concern for my best interest and gain!!

    Can you Clarify
    Guest
    Can you Clarify

    “..I stress that it is possible to have a pareve cult which has intrinsic value.”

    -Rabbi Shea Hecht

    So would you say that COTS is a pareve cult with intrinsic value, why or why not?

    The conclusion of this letter seems very ambiguous, on the on hand you say it’s a cult, which implies that it’s a bad thing, but on the other hand you say that it’s possible to have a pareve cult with intrinsic value, what is your opinion on COTS?

    227
    Guest
    227

    Thank you and very good

    Rabbi sternberg Did investigate extensively!
    Guest
    Rabbi sternberg Did investigate extensively!

    Including speaking to Rabbi Heller and experts as well as going down there in person and scrutinizing every single statement and technique to see if it’s in any way in conflict with chasidus and Torah

    Saddened
    Guest
    Saddened

    i READ all the comments and im angered to see people that were never at the program , yet are Specialists in everything that is done during the weekend, so 90 percent of the comments means nothing because its ALL HERE-SAY.
    I am a member and staffed a few times, everyone there is just trying their best better themselves; going there is not saying you are against chasidus, nor does it mean you are trying to run away from Judaism; life is a journey and we are trying to find comfort, meaning and stability.

    The Rebbe (Clarity)
    Guest
    The Rebbe (Clarity)

    In the link below the Rebbe differentiates between

    1. “Transcendental Meditation” (idolatry, or on its border).
    2. “Meditation” (Kosher, but for ‘sick’)
    3. “Kabbalah Meditation” “WORTHY AND COMMENDABLE”

    youtube.com/watch?v=iLItVeIHVCg

    Do you need to take drugs to KNOW they're bad?
    Guest
    Do you need to take drugs to KNOW they're bad?

    Why all the talk about Shea Hecht not going to a weekend program? You think his opinion isn’t worth jack because he didn’t see it first-hand?

    I know if I do cocaine it is dangerous and could kill me. I don’t have to do it to prove it. So why don’t you just accept that Shea Hecht is an authority on cults and he knows what he’s talking about.

    still not clear….
    Guest
    still not clear….

    Why would a mashpia feel the need to include this program into a bochur’s day to day? why not follow what what has been implemented for many many years in Lubavitch?

    reply to 230
    Guest
    reply to 230

    All therapy is confidential!! attendees shared very personal information amongst the group

    Wow
    Guest
    Wow

    I thought that chassidus was so powerful and as the Alter Rebbe writes than in the Tanya you have an answer to any question in avoid as Hashem Now instead to have chabad houses just support landmark or call of the shofar to save lives No more money for shluchim that they have to go themselves to COTS to save their lifes I can’t believe how a chossid can fell so low and chose ego instead of bittul. Rl. Cv cv. Not to say shluchim. Mashpiim and Rabbonim should come up urgent with a psak din and not let ruin… Read more »

    Rabbi sternberg
    Guest
    Rabbi sternberg

    Rabbi sternberg may or may not be a good mashpia for bochurim, but he is not a rov nor professional (phd etc.) and as such he has no right to be telling anybody, least of all young impressionable young minds, without their parents consent, to go to such places! Whether or not its cult.

    Quote from review of LANDMARK! BEWARE
    Guest
    Quote from review of LANDMARK! BEWARE

    “Paul Derengowski, formerly of the Christian cult-watch group Watchman.org, thinks that Landmark “has theological implications.” Since the training seems to emphasize that one’s past and current beliefs are hindering self-growth, it is easy to see why defenders of traditional religions would fear such programs as Landmark Forum. In effect, to those who are members of traditional faiths, programs such as Landmark are saying: your religion is a hindrance to becoming your true self.”

    What should Judaism or CHABAD say?!
    I don’t think I need to say more.

    Let's stay strong
    Guest
    Let's stay strong

    To all fellow COTS members let us remain strong and not allow the negative energy affect out commitment and devotion to out inner call of the Shofar. Let us continue living wholesome and meaningful lives. Let us tune to the beauty of our essence. Let us strain our ears to pick up the ultimate call of the shofar when only wholesomeness and beauty will reign.

    Quote Review of LANDMARK
    Guest
    Quote Review of LANDMARK

    “The training emphasizes not only how to communicate better but how to relate better to those around you, as it forces the participant to reflect on and examine his or her life. Such courses, if they are really good, will inspire many people to create themselves anew. Many will see positive effects immediately. In fact, many are so impressed that they want to share the experience with others. They become zealots and recruiters for the program. Part of their zealotry, however, derives from the intense pressure put on them to bring their friends and family into the program, and to… Read more »

    to 240
    Guest
    to 240

    That is such non-sense. Nobody asked for the client’s files. They asked for the schedule and the template of the program. The only one’s outing the client’s issues are COTS themselves. By writing; they’re saving marriages, lives….

    To Rabbi Sternberg's email (comment #190):
    Guest
    To Rabbi Sternberg's email (comment #190):

    You email is even more shocking than your involvement and recruitment of bochurim for COTS. It’s easy to brush off criticism and say “media lynch,” but you are playing with people’s lives. And not regular people. We are talking about young bochurim who have their whole life ahead of them. How will your “sorry” change that? How will your admission of a mistake rectify the damage you caused? Sending bochurim to a workshop you yourself admit that you have “not researched the matter thoroughly” can be considered spiritual / mental / emotional molestation. The parents entrust Oholei Torah and its… Read more »

    #247
    Guest
    #247

    U r 1000% right
    maybe his job should also be on “hold”!!!!

    Rabbi Hecht all I can say is thank you!
    Guest
    Rabbi Hecht all I can say is thank you!

    My wife sent me there I kept telling her it’s a cult if any one knows what a cult is its rabbi shea Hecht does tx

    Thank you, Rabbi Shea
    Guest
    Thank you, Rabbi Shea

    Thank you for consistently having the courage of your convictions. Thank you for taking the time and trouble and risk of speaking up and signing your name to your statements. Thank you for bringing back common sense. Thank you for always making time to help the N’shei Chabad Newsletter when we needed you. To readers of this website– If you liked what Rabbi Shea wrote here, and it resonated with you, and had the ring of truth to it, then I would highly recommend the new “Confessions of a Jewish Cultbuster” (the one printed in 2013).
    -Rishe Deitsch
    N’shei Chabad Newsletter

    danger
    Guest
    danger

    In my opinion all teachers, mechanchim, rabbis, mashpiim and shluchim that participate IN COTS have to be removed from their positions temporarily
    They are brainwashed and don’t realize the terrible and damaging influence they are providing to other jews
    ACTION is need URGENT before is too late
    Many people going to these Landmark are going ,rl to FRY out. They are not going to need the Iddishkait, they are not going to “need Hashem:” RL,
    this is Landmark path, and COTS is an adaptation with a jewish twist
    Please, wake up! wake up before is too late

    Mordy #2
    Guest
    Mordy #2

    To #247 etc.

    Rabbi Sternberg sent bouchrim on a very few occasions to the program based on what seemed to be good results, If someone (like, I dunno, maybe Shea Hecht) can clearly explain why there’s a problem with it, he’ll stop. You’re talking like he’s been encouraging bouchrim to join the Syrian army or something. Calm down and let him look into it… do you really think mashpi’im never make mistakes?

    To 249
    Guest
    To 249

    Does it really boil down to capitalism?

    To #238
    Guest
    To #238

    To #238
    Do you need to take drugs to KNOW they’re bad?
    As you yourself said: No. But what if someone told you: “this is cocaine” when you’ve tried it, and clearly know it isn’t? No matter what he says, it’s not, nor will it ever be cocaine! This is the issue with Rabbi Hecht’s assertion.
    Just because an “expert” makes a claim, doesn’t change what the program really is.

    Counterproductive.
    Guest
    Counterproductive.

    This article by “the author”. Is only creating a machloikois… another excuse to fight. The Jewish peoples suffering is not because of “cults”and all that so-called nonsense… Rather because of sinas chinom. Its time for some FREE LOVE! Stop the hate. Stop the instigation. Stop destroying our Nation! Start to Love. Start to Care. Start drawing Near. Am Yisroel Chai! When we are United! no matter your personal opinion. This is definitely not the way for us to bring Moshiach. Whether you are “for”or “against”. We are all brothers and sisters. Maybe we can learn a lesson that we should… Read more »

    Thank you Rabbi Shea
    Guest
    Thank you Rabbi Shea

    Shea’s letter, I understand, was addressed to an individual so it was not meant to explain and prove in detail why he thinks what he does. That, I suspect, cannot easily be done in a letter anyhow. It is also too difficult to explain in an article or two how he concludes what he does based on thousands of hours over a decade of work if not more with people who were brainwashed by cults working to deprogram them. Anybody who reads up well on hypnosis and manipulation of the mind used by cults or dictators will get a better… Read more »

    Sternberg's summer program in Naparnak
    Guest
    Sternberg's summer program in Naparnak

    I was there this year, when one night he decided that he will make a secret Farbrengen… We come into a room close the lights…. I start getting chills… He makes us promise that we won’t tell anybody what we will be doing… He tells us that we should tell everyone all of our problems…
    At the time is was to scared to say anything. But now that I see what he was trying to do…

    # 251  u r 100%
    Guest
    # 251 u r 100%

    t u marozov

    The Emperors Clothes
    Guest
    The Emperors Clothes

    Whoever knows this story will be very familiar with all that has transpired. Thank You Rabbi Shea Hecht for being the one who had the courage to come out public-ally and proclaim “Have we all lost our senses?? Can’t you all see how ludicrous this all is??” That said, from what I’ve observed first hand from people who have attended is that there is SOME merit to the program. 1. See the famous story of the Friediker Rebbe on the train where a bunch of “scholars” are discussing the virtues of different political systems and whether Torah agrees etc., and… Read more »

    Buddhism is not necessarily A"Z.
    Guest
    Buddhism is not necessarily A"Z.

    1) See Jewish Meditation by Aryeh Kaplan where he proves that meditation has its roots in Judaism and is not “borrowed” from other religions, 2) Although meditation is an ancient Buddhist practice and Simcha may have learned some of it’s technique and philosophy from them, it is simply a science and art and has nothing to do with Buddhism or being Buddhist, as I am sure you are aware. (I would say it’s Al Derech someone learning actual, scientific medicine from other religions.) Either way, there isn’t much un-true or “Hepech” stuff in Buddhism and similar religions, which have very… Read more »

    The truth remains true.
    Guest
    The truth remains true.

    The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.
    – Winston Churchill

    VERY SAD
    Guest
    VERY SAD

    What’s tragic is that there are so many brainwashed COTS Culties out there. Or maybe they’re terrified of giving it up. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid & get out of this cult as fast as you can. If you need help in dealing with it, Shea Hecht knows what to do & nobody does it better. I’ve seen him in action, deprogramming.

    You are all PROGRAMMED & BRAINWASHED. You think not but you are. Classic.

    244 sound brainwashed
    Guest
    244 sound brainwashed

    Your COTS lingo is consistent with other members.
    You also happen to sound “programmed”.
    Others please beware before you begin speaking as such. Life changing, better intuned to my wife & kids, well being…u all sound like a prerecorded zombie, sorry.
    Just keep saying this to yourself so at least you keep believing it.
    And I’ve heard the classic now…”you must go!” And then also as if to intrigue when there are naysayers, “it’s not for everyone” 😉
    Hmmmm, it is and it isn’t for everyone…ok you all sound sane

    COTS members
    Guest
    COTS members

    So you say you’re too busy to comment but one of your leaders or staff members as you call it, sent the urgent email for all of you to positively respond. Someone else took a “bathroom break” (he certainly sounds like someone brainwashed him not to be in the internet to waste precious family time…unless you’re in the bathroom, hope he had Shmiras Einayim as well there). And, plenty more seemed to take “this precious family time” away from “their precious family” for the cause. It’s fine you want to comment as everyone else but please don’t burden us with… Read more »

    I don't know if anyone will read this
    Guest
    I don't know if anyone will read this

    As an individual who is going through personal life challenges I can see the temptation to attend such a program, but as my psychiatrist shared with me recently that expecting one weekend to change everything is not realistic in the long term.

    Whether a cult or not, I don’t worry at this point, but if you need personal help see a recognised professional in the field, NOT someone who has developed a program without having formal qualifications, in fact it could be seriously detrimental.

    Reply to 239
    Guest
    Reply to 239

    Shofar IS WHAT HAS WORKED in lubavich for many years Only those who haven’t gone can think it’s some new invention Cheshbin hanefesh Taking responsibility Circle of truly caring fellow chasidim Mikvah Davening Food that is very healthy and mehudar lemahdrin Contemplating and refocusing on our relationship with Hashem The list goes on and on Other than some if the (rapid ice breaking techniques/tools) what happens (and what works) IS 1000% chasidus!!!! It’s what has worked for hundreds of years!! Unfortunately it took This program to restore and reintroduce practices from Authentic chasidus to those who were relying on a… Read more »

    Cheshbin H"n + bitush + Deep unity + Hisbonenus on H' + Real Farby + Hachlatos = Chasidus (aka The good within Shofar)
    Guest
    Cheshbin H"n + bitush + Deep unity + Hisbonenus on H' + Real Farby + Hachlatos = Chasidus (aka The good within Shofar)

    If there is any shtus within shofar, let 2 Rabbonim (Davka) scrutinize and if need be, paskin (what is the Shtus or Avoda Zara to be removed!

    Soo far not a single Rov, Mashpia, Shliach, Mechanech, Talmid chochom Yodea Sefer, pin pointed any specifics which clash with Torah, Chadidus, or Halacha,

    I have commented challenging Shea for specifics
    Guest
    I have commented challenging Shea for specifics

    I’m not from Cots never have been

    Just want some clarity please

    If u make accusations please back it up

    Otherwise…

    Shofar is just fine.
    Guest
    Shofar is just fine.

    I attended a shofar weekend several years ago and from one weekend seminar, I still experience positive residual benefits. My interpersonal relationships have been enhanced since my participation in Call of the Shofar. And I have seen many men lead more fulfilling lives after participating in it. I saw no aspects of the organization being a cult and I’m quite surprised by all the negative responses here by Rabbi Hecht. My wife particpated in the Women’s program and it has positively enhanced her life and that was from only one weekend experience. Shofar works, it is a fantastic orginazation and… Read more »

    beautiful Sicha of the Rebbe on "THIS IS CHASSIDUS syndrome!!
    Guest
    beautiful Sicha of the Rebbe on "THIS IS CHASSIDUS syndrome!!

    a Sicha describing the Taava of searching “out there” for new Yiddishkeit – that makes you feel good etc.
    and that not only people will fall for it, their going to preach that “THIS IS YIDDISHKEIT” “THIS IS CHASSIDUS”…
    but in truth…
    check out farbrengen 13 Tammuz 5729 Sicha 5. you wont regret it!!

    Landmark education
    Guest
    Landmark education

    Rabbi Hecht, is landmark a cult? Hundreds upon hundreds of frummies attend, landmark originated in EST, which took from scientology. Ummm, landmark is far more a hidden ebola virus sitting in people’s neshamas. People go to all these teachings because we don’t have real teachers teaching the deep spiritual inheritance we have in kabbalah and chassidus. We are being fed malnutrition and people think that’s what it really is. Oiy.

    why does everyone have to go
    Guest
    why does everyone have to go

    most therepists do not recommend people to come. only people that need it. the fact that everyone in crown heights HAS TO GO shows it is obviously not the real deal. this isint a dentist its a therapist.

    i have read through until comment 50
    Guest
    i have read through until comment 50

    and I wanna just say that SS and NS r both mashpiim who THRIVE and wake up every morning for CONTROVERSY!! No surprise they endorsed this cult…its not the first time they said FACTS without knowing what they’re talking about…

    RESPONSE TO 262
    Guest
    RESPONSE TO 262

    Lets just assume – theoretically – that you are brainwashed and have drank the Koolaid of the system. Then your very words would only affirm that!!! It would be laughable to listen to someone so brainwashed as yourself and blinded by phony cult leaders as shea hecht. Sadly, you are so so so deep into it and you have no idea!!! You only believe you have a mind but meantime it has been hijacked by the system. You never realized how many times the mashpia made no sense to you because you were made to believe that if you did… Read more »

    The Origin of COTS
    Guest
    The Origin of COTS

    Olimpics seems to be just sports but its origin is A”Z therefore no one will kosher olimpics today. I don’t know the origin of the philosophy of COTS, but reading from the posts it seems to come out from eastern cults that are based in tuma. So what is the difference between COTS and olimpics??? The fact as we see from these posts that many in our community have attended this becomes an urgent shala for a rav and I am sure our rabonim will look into it and will issue a psak. In my humble opinion for bochurim this… Read more »

    Agent Emes knew it the whole time!
    Guest
    Agent Emes knew it the whole time!

    The Shofar isn’t Koshar!!!

    Meir
    Guest
    Meir

    BH

    Thanks Berry Shwartz for bringing the sicha in chelek 35 to my attention. Very beautiful! “Hatorah Lo Nitna L’malachei Hashareis”!

    RESPONSE TO Nachman Sanowicz
    Guest
    RESPONSE TO Nachman Sanowicz

    Only those who haven’t gone can think it’s some new invention Cheshbin hanefesh Taking responsibility Circle of truly caring fellow chasidim Mikvah Davening Food that is very healthy and mehudar lemahdrin Contemplating and refocusing on our relationship with Hashem The list goes on and on Other than some if the (rapid ice breaking techniques/tools) what happens (and what works) IS 1000% chasidus!!!! It’s what has worked for hundreds of years!! Unfortunately it took This program to restore and reintroduce practices from Authentic chasidus to those who were relying on a (corrupted) system, which has strayed from its own rich roots… Read more »

    The most important thing.
    Guest
    The most important thing.

    Based on all these comments, i believe that there is one thing that we can all agree on.

    Before you go, please consult a Rov and a mental health professional personally for your case. Don’t learn from anyone else and what a rov and mental health professional told them.

    It is extremely important that we all agree to this. Please write, agree with (whatever number this comment is) if you agree.

    Thank you

    COTS  LANDMARK
    Guest
    COTS LANDMARK

    COTS is the first step of Landmark program with a jewish twist to make it sound “kosher”
    When this first step is going to be saturated they are going to introduce the advanced step, and this is going to become very dangerous, because the idea is to free yourself from everything (meaning no need to rely in G d that are deemed fantasy”) and you are completly trapped and programmed to a live of love ,giving, enjoyment but empty of Torah
    any religion,in their eyes is a cult, and they are like a cult to go out from your old cult”

    why on SHABBOS?!
    Guest
    why on SHABBOS?!

    Could it be that the fact that the seminar’s are scheduled over shabbos (besides the issues that Rabbi Hecht brings up) is that this way they can use ‘religion’ to cut the precipitants off from the outside world.

    If it was during the week, it would look cult-like. But since in can be blamed on SHABBOS – of course you are naturally cut off from the world.

    What motivates you?
    Guest
    What motivates you?

    in סנהדרין ק”ה it states: מתוך שלא לשמה בא לשמה . This theme and belief is very prevalent in Halacha and very much emphasized in the Rebbe’s teachings. From cursory glance at the interview with Simcha, it seems that they don’t put much emphasis on this angle… Yes, the most healthy relationship with Hashem – and indeed the goal – should be one of true love. But until we get there, we still need to follow all Halochos and our treasured Minhagim Mitoch Shelo Lishma, and hope to arrive at the Lishma very soon (and work very hard towards this… Read more »

    From Robin Garbose
    Guest
    From Robin Garbose

    I have chosen to put my name on my posts because I have experience in combatting cult mind control. There are many ways in which manipulative people/groups exert influence. I am bothered by this group’s recruitment techniques. I am bothered by the euphoria participants are reporting. I am bothered by the loved ones who are concerned about personality changes. I am concerned about the Eastern influence and similarities to EST and the Forum. Of course participants want to connect in a real way, and I am concerned that their vulnerability is being exploited. Groups that practice deceptive persuasion use the… Read more »

    Hypnosis
    Guest
    Hypnosis

    I believe the Rebbe is against hypnosis (in almost all instances)

    they dont use hypnosys
    Guest
    they dont use hypnosys

    ur always in control of ur free will

    kosher alternative to landmark = the Rebbe's will!!!
    Guest
    kosher alternative to landmark = the Rebbe's will!!!

    precisely what the Rebbe encouraged

    see the Letter yourself!

    ty collive

    Let a Rov decide (Vechokarta Vedorashta Hetev, something that hasent happened yet + a statement including SPECIFICS aka Heichan Dantuni)
    Guest
    Let a Rov decide (Vechokarta Vedorashta Hetev, something that hasent happened yet + a statement including SPECIFICS aka Heichan Dantuni)

    Since Shea is beating around the bush, let a Rov examine the program start to finish and make a determination whether it’s Kosher or needs surgery

    Stop all the overt hostility please!

    Where does that all come from??

    worth re-posting a Chasidisher & Balanced comment
    Guest
    worth re-posting a Chasidisher & Balanced comment

    he calls himself: “agbag” and is titled: “from a fan of COTS concept (not necessarily a fan of COTS staff/directors)” truth be told, i gained much from the Chasidisheh components included in the weekend, namely, the Old fashioned REAL farbrengen, between a circle of truly caring friends. there maybe room for modification and improvements, as the Rebbe wrote in the Letter -encouraging kosher retreats. having said that, i do wish to address a very thoughtful and poignant questioned raised by Berry Schwartz (Post#45) he asked: Does Chasidus really claim to address and solve ALL types of problems? Answer: There is… Read more »

    it seems
    Guest
    it seems

    Other than some of the (rapid ice breaking techniques/tools) what happens (and what works) IS 1000% chasidus!!!!

    even if other religiouns have some overlap with truth, doesnt make the kosher version Treif or Pasul

    to 284
    Guest
    to 284

    Instead making statements with a Blanket statement like “I believe the Rebbe is against hypnosis (in almost all instances)” kindly back up your statements with a sicha, maamar, letter etc. Otherwise it is just an anonymous opinion which we have plenty already. A Lubavitch Ruv needs to investigate this and come up with a Psak, until such time, there is a cheskas kashrus on every yid.

    My husband went
    Guest
    My husband went

    My husband went

    And he made a great strides at improving his life, my kids and i are getting to enjoy the befits,
    a more caring and helpfully husband more sensitive to our kids and their needs.
    the list goes on and on..

    so you can all debate all you want, knock yourself out…
    I know the effects it had on my life.

    Group's Board of Directors
    Guest
    Group's Board of Directors

    Board Members From Robin Garbose For the vetting process: Board of Directors Louis J. Kolom, CPA – Lincolnwood, IL Chair Since 1996, Mr. Kolom has served and continues to serve as President, CEO, Chairman and Director of First Equity Corp. and 1st Equity Bank. Since 2003, Mr. Kolom serves as Chairman, Director and employee of Northwest Equity Corp. and 1 st Equity Bank Northwest. Mr. Kolom has extensive experience in bank lending, investments, finance and operations and extensive exposure to business transactions. Louis is active on his synagogue board and has served on various school boards. Steven Frischling – Baltimore,… Read more »

    for the record
    Guest
    for the record

    I did the workshop years ago in israel I asked my mashgiach and even a gadol and a therapist they all said go and that they hope I will be matzliach. at one point I actually opened one of the igros and the rebbe gave me His approval to my understanding there are plenty of workshops that dont happen on shabbos, its done on shabbos usually because it is convenient. There was a time where these workshops happened in Israel from saturday night through monday afternoon. the confidentiality that participants agree to are just in terms of what other participants… Read more »

    #67 - Always consult a Rov
    Guest
    #67 - Always consult a Rov

    I have to ‘take issue’ with your statement: “research the Rebbe’s igros for yourself, don’t take any Rabbi’s second hand word for it, Pro or Con”. Although you may not have meant it, this is categorically AGAINST the hadracha of the Rebbe. The Rebbe stated that one must ALWAYS consult with a competent CHASSIDISHE Rov on any matter of doubt, not just rely on his interpretation of ‘the Rebbe’s igros’ etc. חכמים היזהרו בדבריכם. Don’t think you are the biggest חכם. You must talk with your חסידישער משפיע or a חסידישע רב – מורה הוראה בפועל. This way you will… Read more »

    Wow
    Guest
    Wow

    Wow! So far from the truth. I went to the woman’s program. Had an amazing experience, moved on and incorporated a tremendous amount from the program into my life. I would absolutely encourage my kids to go when they get older.

    Cult Buster
    Guest
    Cult Buster

    Call of the Shofar is trying to bust the wounds of the culture of indifference, family abuse both physically and verbally and the deffening silence in our communities. The institutionalisation of Torah and spirituality has with it’s LIGHT also brought darkness into the lives of many. Call of the shofar is a needed asset to manifesting a healthy Torah community.

    A Poshite Yiddine
    Guest
    A Poshite Yiddine

    Would you eat food with a questionable hechsher?

    Just because you read the ingredient listing and see nothing wrong with it, you’d assume that it is kosher?

    And if you saw someone else eating it, would you just rely on that?

    No one knows as much about cults and mind control as Rabbi Shea Hecht. If he says its no good, its no good.

    I trust his analysis.

    BubbyK

    Go to professional group therapy
    Guest
    Go to professional group therapy

    The problem with Call of the Shofar is that it takes advantage of uneducated and vulnerable individuals who are disillusioned with the community and the schools they went to– (and to a certain degree, rightly so). When a Crown Heightser goes to Call of the Shofar and hears ideas which they never heard about before, and it resonates with them(as it should, psychology is a science and is the study of how our mind works) and for many of them their emotions are being validated(where as before among their family,schools, and community) they were never validated. However, it is coming… Read more »

    Brainwash?
    Guest
    Brainwash?

    http://www.collive.com/show_news.rtx?id=27292

    Check out the article/video “my parents brainwashed me”.
    In a similar vain I would like to say – this is not brainwash – It’s education. Educated me on the following essential topics I never did recieve from my parents, teachers and learning: (Shofar has “brainwashed” me) To love, to listen, to be aware, to feel, to be real, to be closer to Hashem, to take responsibility for my life, to think kind things about myself and about others, to be strong, to be healthy, to live a life of joy and freedom.

    look at what he writes about Chasidus! (Berry Shwartz), red flag folks
    Guest
    look at what he writes about Chasidus! (Berry Shwartz), red flag folks

    ‘Its simply blind cultish adherence to something that we have no idea is even true!!!’

    Just on this line from COTS i would never go there or send any relative or friend.

    even if it has changed peoples lives for the better...
    Guest
    even if it has changed peoples lives for the better...

    even if this workshop has improved peoples lives— the fact that the source of it might be avoda zara- and alot of people- knowing this- are still rushing to go to it and defend it- really scares me.
    We need Moshiach Now.

    To #300
    Guest
    To #300

    How do you know its true? Have you experienced “Chasidus” solve your problems? If so, share it! Which problems, which maamer and how did the maamer solve your problem.

    We’d love to hear.

    I’m not saying its not possible. All I’m saying is that everyone always spits out the slogan “Chasidus has all the answers”. But have they experienced that? If yes, great! Lets get the details. They would help countless people. If not, well… HOW DO YOU KNOW THEN???

    to 299
    Guest
    to 299

    How dare! How do you even dare to compare a young teen-proud of the education his parents gave him by standing up for what is right and your experience in a mind-controlling cult since it was clearly difficult for you to embrace the gift you already grew up with.

    #287
    Guest
    #287

    Chocolatte, chabad-light and mishichistim

    Striving to be better
    Guest
    Striving to be better

    Avodah – we all want to be better people. We ALL have issues that Hashem deals us. This is another tool enabling us to ‘work on ourselves & our issues’. Most of the participants are intelligent, functioning adults. (Not down & outs as u’ve portrayed) If u look at our ‘dear, somewhat dysfunctional’ community, it seems clear that most people would benefit tremendously. Because ‘shofar’ is Unfamiliar, it is being judged from total misconception and lack of info. The concepts are not ‘new’, but Chassidis applied in a practical way. (Another type of tool – like adahan, rabbi twerski, Etc.)… Read more »

    Similar to:
    Guest
    Similar to:

    A new person arriving in crown heights and viewing
    it from the outside, versus living here and understanding
    the culture from the inside.

    The person viewing from the outside
    Forms opinions based on his previous
    Experience and has no framework to process
    new info.

    Same here. You have NO previous experience
    to enable you to process this from the outside.

    So you are coming to a conclusion based on….????

    Ay like some have pointed out already
    Guest
    Ay like some have pointed out already

    Just because it has helped some doesn’t mean it’s safe for everyone and just because they don’t openly practice avoda zora doesn’t make it kosher. There are many who get caught in Buddhist or Hinduism practices and beliefs through meditation or yoga not realizing it’s avoda zora. Just because they don’t talk about hypnosis doesn’t mean they don’t use hypnotic techniques which unless you are familiar with these you would not have any idea that that is what they are and from what was described to me by some who attended this is what they are to my knowledge of… Read more »

    tfzatim
    Guest
    tfzatim

    I would sent the tzfatim to COTS

    Most cogent comment -
    Guest
    Most cogent comment -

    #300

    Stop with the bashing and all if you dont even know what youre talking about!
    Guest
    Stop with the bashing and all if you dont even know what youre talking about!

    WOW!! so many people commenting!
    what i say is whoever comments, before of after the comment, write whether or not you went. i guarantee at least 95% of people who are writing, didnt even go to COTS (myself included), so how can you have an opinion??!?!

    to #310
    Guest
    to #310

    exactly! and i bet the people who are bashing it are the ones who need it most! i personally didnt go, but i have a few close friends and family who did go, and i see a very positive change in them! true, medicine, cults etc. is good for the ill and can be harmful for the healthy. but you know what? the things COTS are dealing with, i would like to meet one person (besides for the rebbe) who has no issues in those matters! until moshiach comes, no one will be completely “healthy” in those matters. COTS is… Read more »

    EYES WIDE OPEN
    Guest
    EYES WIDE OPEN

    Thank you rabbi for opening my eyes to the danger of cults. NOW I SEE THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!!! Just today i went to court and the judge told me to put away my phone and not talk while court was in session. I immediately recognized the mind-controlling techniques and got out of there fast, but not before, “I told him that he was a cult idolator and against the G-d of Israel.” Then I went to the library and, you won’t believe this, but the Librarian told me to put away my phone and stop talking. I even saw idolotrous books… Read more »

    Thank you Rabbi Hecht
    Guest
    Thank you Rabbi Hecht

    Mashpiim, Rabbonim, Community Leaders, Principals, Shluchim, Husbands, Bochurim, etc, etc… Please at least take Rabbi Hecht’s concerns seriously enough to have second thoughts and investigate further. It is true that people need help and it is true that COTS makes people feel good…but the fact that something feels good is not a reason to conclude that it is healthy. There are many substances and behaviors that feel good. The better they feel the more likely they can be dangerous. Also remember…just because your life doesn’t feel like a Hollywood movie doesn’t mean you are sick. Real life is hard work.… Read more »

    This is a MAD HOUSE
    Guest
    This is a MAD HOUSE

    I did not go to COTS. I know people who did. Now: The hysteria here is insane. Does anyone here ever think for themselves? Shea Hecht is a good man, but do you think he is the be all and end all on this issue? (Besides, he clearly is not very sure about it himself). Since a lot of us have trouble with nuance, we apparently need people to use black and white terminology like “cult” or “not a cult” to know how to interpret life. Everyone (?) knows that calling something a cult is very subjective. Yes, some groups… Read more »

    Apologies to 294, I stand corrected! You are absolutely Right!
    Guest
    Apologies to 294, I stand corrected! You are absolutely Right!

    I should have been more clear in my comment 67 Here is the full quote from my comment After I quote it, here, I shall clarify my intended point, hopefully more clearly, Referring to ppl who (without source to back it up) claim the Rebbe wrote X, the Rebbe wrote Y, etc etc Re those unsubstantiated claims (made even by Rabbis) I wrote: Havent noticed any Avoda Zara, Last i checked, all the Rebbe’s letters are against Transidental Meditation, never against regular Hisbonenus as a technique of relaxation and concentration “research (request to see/verify) the Rebbe’s igros for yourself, (that… Read more »

    to # 302
    Guest
    to # 302

    Chasidus actually did answer a very profound philosophical existential question for me when i was a teenager after months of searching for the meaning of life ( i did not come from a school that taught chasidus), its actually in Tanya… to question Chasidus is like to question Torah and that for me with all due respect, smells like Kfira

    I feel its helpful and useful to those that need it
    Guest
    I feel its helpful and useful to those that need it

    I feel its helpful and useful to those that need it and I know someone personally who it helped out a lot. I feel that there are many journeys in life and some people need that based on their past and others have other interests that it may be harmful too and we need to understand that different poeple have different needs based on their trauma ‘s and or experiences. I feel that it is not ok to bash something good for some yet important to make aware that it is not for everyone. And to som e more heallthier… Read more »

    My computer sent the comment and i wasnt done sorry...
    Guest
    My computer sent the comment and i wasnt done sorry...

    So as I was saying many rabbis today in the their speaches use mind altering techniques such as tellin