Thursday, 8 Nisan, 5783
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“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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Two thumbs up Rabbi Hecht
January 1, 2014 8:30 am

As the story unfolds more and more I just realized how right Rabbi Hecht was when he made his comments. Thank you Rabbi Hecht you are definitely a professional in this field.

From an amateur cult researcher with cult-ensnared chevra
December 31, 2013 9:41 pm

Not mentioned here is that Call of the Shofar is based on ManKind Project (MKP) and their “New Warrior Training Adventure” weekend. MKP does all sorts of wacky stuff- worshipping actual avodah zarah, public dancing in the nude, etc. MKP does the usual cult brainwashing stuff common to LGAT’s (large group awareness training cults). Ie, sleep/food deprivation, no cellphones or outside books, etc. Two frum friends of mine got ensnared by this one. However, I was under the impression that Call of the Shofar toned this down. Someone from Jews For Judaism told me that if someone likes lgat cults… Read more »

I went 5 years ago, and have not been in contact since.
December 31, 2013 1:11 pm

You may expect to tell you that I’m now so disconnected, i see the truth that it’s a cult. I can honestly say it’s not a cult. It gave me skills which i use in my everyday life to understand the source of my “”natural” netios. I use skills from the seminar EVERY DAY. I daven better because of it. I am more accepting of people because of it. Of course they don’t allow phones. The weekend is a time for intraspection, not calling other people.( Imagine if Ploni felt that every time his wife asked him what he did… Read more »

Shofar weekend...what really goes on
December 29, 2013 10:34 pm

There are too many labels here. What happens at shofar weekend? Simply, people are encouraged to show up and feel what they feel and think what they think. In an environment where most, if not all people can relate to those thoughts and. feelings. And a common theme that many people discover is how we live under our own hyper critical judgements of how we think that we aren’t good enough. Its not about blaming others for the real pain that we experienced in our lives. It’s about being truthful, open and taking down the fortress of protective armor that… Read more »

when in doubt - leave it out
December 22, 2013 1:25 am

this is a good policy to live by with everything.
Why are those that did attend feel so bent out of shape at this being deemed unkosher?
the reaction to the critics of this “program” only acts as confirmation that it is a cult after all.

If you are interested to know who is this Frischling
December 22, 2013 12:29 am

Please do some research on Steven Frischling and you will see for you self where he is taking all his stuff.
I dont understand the mosad ohalei Torah how they still keep the 2 Mashpiam that went to to this colt they should be expelled

Is it a cult
December 21, 2013 11:19 pm

I had a close friend get involved with this stuff. He kept trying to convince me to go to a retreat but I did not feel very comfortable at all. He would not give me any details and just kept saying how amazing it is and how it would improve my spirituality. PS He’s not frum anymore and wont hardly talk to his friends anymore. What’s the difference if it’s a cult or not if this is what can happen to you? Who are these shofar people and where did they come from? I’m glad I didn’t go.

December 21, 2013 9:19 pm


December 21, 2013 12:36 pm

call up the big rabbi’s and poskim that gave haskamot to the program…IF YOU DON’T KNOW for sure that it is dangerous 100%..then its an issur doriisa of LOSHON HARA..the rebbi wouldn’t be happy about that…

December 20, 2013 3:36 pm

In my group
The cell phone and email ban was not enforced
And I don’t think it was good how lax they were re distractions

Rabbi Dr Yitzchak Breitowitz
December 20, 2013 12:35 pm

He’s a very respectful Rabbi and part of the Board of Rabbinic Advisers… He is also a Mayanot Professor in Yerushalaim… I would love to know what he thinks about COTS after R’ Hecht respond.

re Phones:
December 20, 2013 11:09 am

Hammaseh Huoo Haikar!

i was there,

Lemaaseh, is what ACTUALLY COUNTS, not waht is said on a school’s handbook ,policy!

The fact is, noone took away anyone’s phones! PERIOD.

b’poel mamosh, what matters (cult wise) is what actually happens)

From the website: no calls allowed
December 20, 2013 10:36 am

People here have commented that they have been able to use their phones.

I took a peek at the FAQ on the website and saw the following:
Once the weekend starts, can I call my family, friends, or workplace?
No. If you think there is some reason why you need to make outside calls, you need to speak with a staff member before the weekend starts

Although im a proponent of COTS, as beneficial to many ppl!
December 19, 2013 1:39 pm

i do have to agree with the legitimate concern raised by #322 even if for most healthier guys who attend, it proves to strengthen their Yiddishkeit, There are some week links, (week in terms of their comprehession of the value, benefit and importance of Mitzvos Maasiyos, and Minhogei Yisroel) for those, Amei HaOratzim! especially those who are not inclined to grasp, subtle distinctions, for them, (their over simplistic comprehension renders) this program, counter productive! Since the Program has not been emphasizing enough the VALUE, and necessity for a Jew to be in alignment with Shulchan Aruch (aka G-ds will). yes,… Read more »

mosh der g
December 19, 2013 12:13 pm

it would be nice if there was a way that we can be 100% from every poster that claims they did not go to COTS and then go on and plug it here.. if they are saying the truth all i know if walks like a duck quacks like a duck smells like a duck it is a duck … this seems to sure all problems in life for people .. we should close all psychiatric and physiologist office and hospital and send them for a 3 day weekend and poof they are cured wait i am sending this to… Read more »

אסור להתווכח עם מסיונרים
December 19, 2013 11:32 am

כול מי שהלך איןלו דעה

This is a Cult beware
December 19, 2013 10:49 am

Frischling and his cohorts are running a slick financial operation. They are raking in huge $. They are using persuasive recruitment techniques targeting disillusioned young men in particular preying upon their vulnerability. Their web page features testimonial of Avraham Sutton– I personally heard Sutton make derogatory comments about the Rebbe in a class he was teaching. Sounds like Shea Hecht was pressured to retract with a threat of a libel lawsuit. The euphoric testimonials and aggressive defense seen in these posts by his followers are further proof. The inner circle of his guys were directed to come on this website… Read more »

to #320
December 19, 2013 10:12 am

If that’s the case, then why are are there people lessening their shmiras hamitzvos or minhagim, e.g. those mentioned in the video
1. walking without a hat (when he did before)
2. Not staying up on Shvuos night
3. reduction or cessation of Shmiras Shabbos

a lesson from the Baal Shem Tov
December 19, 2013 8:41 am

It is by hashgacha pratis that these articles and comments are here for so many of us now. What lesson can each of us derive from this event? For me, it points to the source of the big hole inside of me- the deep thirst/hunger to experience the chassidic life I read about in Memoirs, but dont find. In my community, the so called farbrengens are anything but. Some of my friends and I got together on our own, and the shluchim (head shliach and many of his married children shluchim…..), nixed it because we didn’t go through official channels.… Read more »

COTS is the best way to sneak chasidus to those who didn't realize ALL it's practical Real-world value
December 19, 2013 6:58 am

Cots does NOT in Anyway Claim to replace Chasidus It simply reminds u to IMPLEMENT CHASIDUS! Including the importance of: 1. Routine Cheshbin Hanefesh 2. Brius Haguf (a klain lecheleh in guf…) 3. Routine Duch to Mashpia (yedid mavin) 4. Practice True (selfless) Ahavas yisroel 5. Avoid Atzvus 6. Attend (real) Farbrengens (where everyone is there for self improvement “vee amul”) 7. “Zai a pnimi” whatever your doing, be fully focused. 8. Hachlatos, (with your ALR) set positive Goals to accomplish 9. “Al yovesh mipnei hamaligim” don’t succumb to peer pressure, strive to do what’s right, bec it’s right, not… Read more »

Thank you collive!
December 19, 2013 5:30 am

For facilitating this lively yet necessary forum! The benefits of having an important topic such as this discussed and dissected openly is obvious! In my case, I know I have learnt some very good and insightful points from both sides of this discussion. I do wish to point out, a Klal the Rebbe once mentioned re “How should a Chosid react to critisism (or even just hints of reservations) raised by a fellow chossid, who thinks something we are doing is wrong/questionable/lacking? The Rebbe answers this, this too is b’hashgacha pratis, (it was shown to us from above…) That someone… Read more »

My computer sent the comment and i wasnt done sorry...
December 19, 2013 4:34 am

So as I was saying many rabbis today in the their speaches use mind altering techniques such as telling people how t hey should think and telling them how they think until now is not good enough. Theres one particular rabbi i have in mind and he is very popular in chabad however i will not say his name and i would say he falls into this category a lot faster then this guy and the way i heard him talk. Its a boundary issue when people talk in ways of controlling others. Such as …if a mother says…you will… Read more »

I feel its helpful and useful to those that need it
December 19, 2013 4:24 am

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 »

to # 302
December 19, 2013 2:27 am

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

Apologies to 294, I stand corrected! You are absolutely Right!
December 19, 2013 2:22 am

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 »

This is a MAD HOUSE
December 19, 2013 2:03 am

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 »

Thank you Rabbi Hecht
December 18, 2013 9:17 pm

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 »

December 18, 2013 8:59 pm

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 »

to #310
December 18, 2013 8:49 pm

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 »

Stop with the bashing and all if you dont even know what youre talking about!
December 18, 2013 8:39 pm

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??!?!

Most cogent comment -
December 18, 2013 8:03 pm


December 18, 2013 7:46 pm

I would sent the tzfatim to COTS

Ay like some have pointed out already
December 18, 2013 7:32 pm

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 »

Similar to:
December 18, 2013 5:46 pm

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….????

Striving to be better
December 18, 2013 5:30 pm

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 »

December 18, 2013 4:55 pm

Chocolatte, chabad-light and mishichistim

to 299
December 18, 2013 4:51 pm

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.

To #300
December 18, 2013 4:42 pm

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???

even if it has changed peoples lives for the better...
December 18, 2013 4:32 pm

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.

look at what he writes about Chasidus! (Berry Shwartz), red flag folks
December 18, 2013 3:47 pm

‘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.

December 18, 2013 3:45 pm


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.

Go to professional group therapy
December 18, 2013 3:27 pm

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 »

A Poshite Yiddine
December 18, 2013 3:13 pm

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.


Cult Buster
December 18, 2013 2:46 pm

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.

December 18, 2013 2:46 pm

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.

#67 - Always consult a Rov
December 18, 2013 2:37 pm

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 »

for the record
December 18, 2013 2:14 pm

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 »

Group's Board of Directors
December 18, 2013 1:59 pm

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 »

My husband went
December 18, 2013 1:53 pm

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.

to 284
December 18, 2013 1:40 pm

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.

it seems
December 18, 2013 1:38 pm

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

worth re-posting a Chasidisher & Balanced comment
December 18, 2013 1:22 pm

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 »

Let a Rov decide (Vechokarta Vedorashta Hetev, something that hasent happened yet + a statement including SPECIFICS aka Heichan Dantuni)
December 18, 2013 1:14 pm

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??

kosher alternative to landmark = the Rebbe's will!!!
December 18, 2013 12:58 pm

precisely what the Rebbe encouraged

see the Letter yourself!

ty collive

they dont use hypnosys
December 18, 2013 12:55 pm

ur always in control of ur free will

December 18, 2013 12:51 pm

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

From Robin Garbose
December 18, 2013 12:45 pm

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 »

What motivates you?
December 18, 2013 12:43 pm

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 »

why on SHABBOS?!
December 18, 2013 12:41 pm

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.

December 18, 2013 12:36 pm

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… Read more »

The most important thing.
December 18, 2013 12:21 pm

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

RESPONSE TO Nachman Sanowicz
December 18, 2013 12:17 pm

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 »

December 18, 2013 12:10 pm


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

Agent Emes knew it the whole time!
December 18, 2013 11:23 am

The Shofar isn’t Koshar!!!

The Origin of COTS
December 18, 2013 11:22 am

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 »

December 18, 2013 10:56 am

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 »

i have read through until comment 50
December 18, 2013 10:51 am

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…

why does everyone have to go
December 18, 2013 9:50 am

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.

Landmark education
December 18, 2013 9:39 am

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.

beautiful Sicha of the Rebbe on "THIS IS CHASSIDUS syndrome!!
December 18, 2013 9:21 am

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!!

Shofar is just fine.
December 18, 2013 9:10 am

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 »

I have commented challenging Shea for specifics
December 18, 2013 8:45 am

I’m not from Cots never have been

Just want some clarity please

If u make accusations please back it up


Cheshbin H"n + bitush + Deep unity + Hisbonenus on H' + Real Farby + Hachlatos = Chasidus (aka The good within Shofar)
December 18, 2013 8:42 am

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,

Reply to 239
December 18, 2013 8:25 am

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 »

I don't know if anyone will read this
December 18, 2013 8:25 am

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.

COTS members
December 18, 2013 8:11 am

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 »

244 sound brainwashed
December 18, 2013 8:03 am

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

December 18, 2013 7:50 am

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.

The truth remains true.
December 18, 2013 5:58 am

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

Buddhism is not necessarily A"Z.
December 18, 2013 4:51 am

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 Emperors Clothes
December 18, 2013 2:19 am

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 »

# 251 u r 100%
December 18, 2013 2:05 am

t u marozov

Sternberg's summer program in Naparnak
December 18, 2013 1:53 am

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…

Thank you Rabbi Shea
December 18, 2013 1:34 am

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 »

December 18, 2013 1:22 am

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 »

To #238
December 18, 2013 1:00 am

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.

To 249
December 18, 2013 12:52 am

Does it really boil down to capitalism?

Mordy #2
December 18, 2013 12:47 am

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?

December 18, 2013 12:39 am

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

Thank you, Rabbi Shea
December 18, 2013 12:31 am

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… Read more »

Rabbi Hecht all I can say is thank you!
December 18, 2013 12:29 am

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

December 18, 2013 12:22 am

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

To Rabbi Sternberg's email (comment #190):
December 17, 2013 11:59 pm

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 »

to 240
December 17, 2013 11:34 pm

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….

Quote Review of LANDMARK
December 17, 2013 11:30 pm

“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 »

Let's stay strong
December 17, 2013 11:30 pm

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 from review of LANDMARK! BEWARE
December 17, 2013 11:23 pm

“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.

Rabbi sternberg
December 17, 2013 11:20 pm

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.

December 17, 2013 11:13 pm

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 »

reply to 230
December 17, 2013 11:07 pm

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

still not clear….
December 17, 2013 10:45 pm

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?

Do you need to take drugs to KNOW they're bad?
December 17, 2013 10:38 pm

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.

The Rebbe (Clarity)
December 17, 2013 10:14 pm

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”


December 17, 2013 10:07 pm

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.

Rabbi sternberg Did investigate extensively!
December 17, 2013 9:45 pm

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

December 17, 2013 9:36 pm

Thank you and very good

Can you Clarify
December 17, 2013 9:33 pm

“..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?

to 226: the staff are fellow Lubavicher volunteers!
December 17, 2013 9:33 pm

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!!

reply to 226
December 17, 2013 9:30 pm

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 »

December 17, 2013 9:27 pm

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

chabad melamed
December 17, 2013 9:22 pm

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 »

Why so few comments from the hundreds of Shofar grads??
December 17, 2013 9:22 pm

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 »

Just a suggestion....
December 17, 2013 9:12 pm

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?

to 156
December 17, 2013 9:10 pm

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 »

Rabbi Heacht, please reply on point to the sensible questions asked to backup your claims
December 17, 2013 9:08 pm

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

Some people
December 17, 2013 9:06 pm

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.

Oy vey
December 17, 2013 8:57 pm

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

December 17, 2013 8:56 pm

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

A Psychiatrist responds
December 17, 2013 8:54 pm

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 »

The Pro Shofar types are not the ones commenting,
December 17, 2013 8:46 pm

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.

Re: Robin Garbose!!!!
December 17, 2013 8:42 pm

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.


181 Thank you!
December 17, 2013 8:08 pm

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!

to shliach /155
December 17, 2013 7:51 pm

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.

Rabbi Shea Hecht is an expert!!!!!!
December 17, 2013 7:48 pm

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

the Rebbe would encourage it
December 17, 2013 7:37 pm

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!

real men!
December 17, 2013 7:36 pm

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!

December 17, 2013 7:32 pm

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!

My husband went
December 17, 2013 7:30 pm

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!!!

If a Christian takes a Jewish concept, does that make it Christian?
December 17, 2013 7:29 pm

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

whats wrong if its a cult????????????????????????????????????????????
December 17, 2013 7:17 pm

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)

December 17, 2013 7:03 pm

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

to 138
December 17, 2013 6:14 pm

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 »

December 17, 2013 6:01 pm

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 »

Thank you Rabbi Hecht!
December 17, 2013 6:00 pm

Finally, a sane opinion.

Shea is a fraud
December 17, 2013 5:47 pm

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?

I totally agree.
December 17, 2013 5:47 pm

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!

December 17, 2013 5:41 pm

Can we get a haskamah from a mental health professional?

December 17, 2013 5:34 pm

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.

Rushing to judgement
December 17, 2013 5:14 pm

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.

Of concern to me
December 17, 2013 4:52 pm

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 »

December 17, 2013 4:42 pm

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)

no cell phones in yeshiva
December 17, 2013 4:33 pm

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!

December 17, 2013 4:30 pm

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!

Thank you! Rabbi hecht
December 17, 2013 4:23 pm

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

December 17, 2013 4:22 pm

I totally agree

December 17, 2013 4:19 pm

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

December 17, 2013 4:18 pm

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 »

86 wow! thank you!
December 17, 2013 3:57 pm

Most useful comment ever!!

Why is cots asking for grateful participants to set the record str8?
December 17, 2013 3:46 pm

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

Email i got from Rabbi Sternberg
December 17, 2013 3:38 pm

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 »

Rabbi Hecht, Please Clarify
December 17, 2013 3:33 pm

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 »

Most shofar guys are like me
December 17, 2013 3:30 pm

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

That’s just propaganda by the naysayers

where do theses ideas come from !?!?!?
December 17, 2013 3:21 pm

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 »

Thank you
December 17, 2013 3:18 pm

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!

Carpet Work for Reb Shea
December 17, 2013 2:57 pm

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… Read more »

Robin Garbose
December 17, 2013 2:53 pm

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 »

absurd to compare to yeshiva
December 17, 2013 2:41 pm

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.

On a similar note...
December 17, 2013 2:39 pm

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 »

a letter to ALL SHOFAR ALUM
December 17, 2013 2:36 pm

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 »

Cult=Pyramid scheme
December 17, 2013 2:28 pm

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 $$$$


a real chossid
December 17, 2013 2:24 pm

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

terrible program
December 17, 2013 2:23 pm

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

For those who seek:
December 17, 2013 2:14 pm

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 »

Let a Rov decide
December 17, 2013 2:13 pm

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??

Slippery Slope
December 17, 2013 2:10 pm

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 »

103 nailed it!
December 17, 2013 2:10 pm

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

Chasidus and Torah has all the answers indeed
December 17, 2013 1:57 pm

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)

December 17, 2013 1:55 pm

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?,

Dearest Shea,
December 17, 2013 1:52 pm

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 »

Rabbi Heller
December 17, 2013 1:51 pm

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.

reply to 141
December 17, 2013 1:49 pm

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 »

December 17, 2013 1:49 pm

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… Read more »

December 17, 2013 1:40 pm

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 »

People who went
December 17, 2013 1:37 pm

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

Go to professional group therapy
December 17, 2013 1:36 pm

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 »

Such hatefilled venom from the anti shofar camp, surely not mitzad hakdusha
December 17, 2013 1:35 pm

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 »

December 17, 2013 1:25 pm

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

December 17, 2013 1:23 pm

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

Why all the hostility from the anti shofar types???
December 17, 2013 1:13 pm

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

The Rebbe's approach (see the letter)
December 17, 2013 1:07 pm

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 »

Agreed 117
December 17, 2013 1:02 pm

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 »

Call of The Shofar Saves LIVES!
December 17, 2013 12:59 pm

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.

For myself it was a good choice
December 17, 2013 12:52 pm

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

Lots of misinformation on this thread
December 17, 2013 12:48 pm

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 »

Shliach and COTS attendee
December 17, 2013 12:48 pm

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?

Where is GEON Yaakov , Yiddisher Chasidisher pride??
December 17, 2013 12:47 pm

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!!!

To: #46
December 17, 2013 12:42 pm

, 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

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

Thank you Rabbi Hecht
December 17, 2013 12:40 pm

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 »

Lay It Out for All to See
December 17, 2013 12:40 pm

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 »

December 17, 2013 12:39 pm

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.

With all due respect
December 17, 2013 12:35 pm

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?

Shofar is NOT for everyone
December 17, 2013 12:31 pm

Most ppl I know who web have gaind from it.

To the Mockers
December 17, 2013 12:20 pm

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 »

To 101
December 17, 2013 12:17 pm

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 »

proof of the pudding
December 17, 2013 12:09 pm

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

Here is what Wikipedia defines as a cult
December 17, 2013 12:00 pm

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 »

I like Rabbi Hecht but he really dropped the ball on this one
December 17, 2013 11:57 am

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 »

Does Chassidus have the answers?
December 17, 2013 11:33 am

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 »

reply to 133
December 17, 2013 11:25 am

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

Berry, can you please answer #88?
December 17, 2013 11:20 am

I heard those complaints before.

Mordy #2
December 17, 2013 11:17 am

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 »

Thank you Rabbi Hecht
December 17, 2013 11:10 am

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.

to #9
December 17, 2013 10:52 am

“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 »

Endorsed by a leading mashpia in Crown Heights
December 17, 2013 10:47 am

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 »

December 17, 2013 10:45 am

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.

December 17, 2013 10:44 am

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

A major issue that needs stressing
December 17, 2013 10:40 am

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.

Thank you COL for bring this up!
December 17, 2013 10:37 am

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 »

December 17, 2013 10:36 am

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 »

Shimon S
December 17, 2013 10:35 am

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.

Not Relevant to Yeshiva
December 17, 2013 10:28 am

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.)

is shea a professional?
December 17, 2013 10:24 am

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

Is Rabbi Hecht smarter than ALL OF THEM?

Just got back from a weekend there
December 17, 2013 10:24 am

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

agree with 103
December 17, 2013 10:22 am

It’s sloppy and unproffessional

And doesn’t seem like a strong case

To Shea Hecht
December 17, 2013 10:18 am

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!

part of the problem is
December 17, 2013 10:16 am

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

cant trust anyone
December 17, 2013 10:11 am

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 »

To #82
December 17, 2013 10:09 am

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.

its not perfect, true
December 17, 2013 10:08 am

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

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

December 17, 2013 10:06 am

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…

question and comment
December 17, 2013 10:04 am

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 »

still a fan of cots But...
December 17, 2013 10:03 am

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

Why so nuts?
December 17, 2013 9:54 am

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 »

I can't believe
December 17, 2013 9:54 am

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 »

December 17, 2013 9:52 am

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?

My husband went
December 17, 2013 9:37 am

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.

Smart man
December 17, 2013 9:33 am

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

The mashpia must be fired!
December 17, 2013 9:32 am

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

more info please
December 17, 2013 9:21 am

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 »

Chayim Yaakov sholomon
December 17, 2013 9:19 am

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 »

The first article!!
December 17, 2013 9:19 am

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.

I am so disturbed:
December 17, 2013 9:16 am

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.

Oholei Torah
December 17, 2013 9:07 am

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

What a letter
December 17, 2013 8:49 am

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 »

old timer
December 17, 2013 8:43 am

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

Please explain yeshiva
December 17, 2013 8:41 am

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

Disappointed in Reb Shea's sloppy and sweeping generalizations
December 17, 2013 8:38 am

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

G-D's so called give to humanity
December 17, 2013 8:36 am

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

December 17, 2013 8:33 am

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

December 17, 2013 7:58 am

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

December 17, 2013 7:31 am

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.

December 17, 2013 7:30 am

Then what is “hizboinanus ” supposed to be?

December 17, 2013 7:28 am

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 »

a very revealing email circulating to members of COTS
December 17, 2013 7:27 am

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 »