A rabbi walked into a bar (after hitchhiking cross-country and sailing up the eastern seaboard in a yacht seized by the Coast Guard for drug trafficking) to enjoy a private performance by a jazz band that cost him the price of a beer.
No, this isn’t a joke. This is a life.
And it’s only one small piece of it. Blend together the experiences of a hitchhiker, world traveler, high school teacher, newspaper columnist, and talmudic scholar … then apply the wisdom of the ancients to the modern world …
Now you’re ready to discover how a deeper appreciation for ethical principles and clear communication leads to success and happiness in our personal and professional lives.
Rabbi Yonason Goldson has circumnavigated the globe, seen the Taj Mahal, the pyramids of Giza, and the tea plantations of Sri Lanka. He’s hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and to the tops of the Sierra Nevada. He’s jumped out of an airplane and undergone open-heart surgery (but not at the same time).
He’s studied at the University of Edinburgh, taught school in Budapest, Hungary, and seen Richard III performed in Ashland, Oregon, and Stratford-on-Avon. He’s taught high school for over two decades, published four books, raised four children, and been married to the love of his life for almost 30 years.
But none of that is what corporations, associations, or educational institutions want to hear.
What they want to hear is what he’s learned and what he has to teach — namely, the accumulated wisdom of over 3000 years translated into the language of our times.
Whatever the audience, he can make them laugh, make them cry, make them think and make them wonder. Most important, he will inspire and motivate them, leaving them with a sense of their own untapped potential and a road-map to guide them forward along the pathways to success and happiness.
HOW I GOT HERE
What do you do when you graduate from the University of California with a degree in English? That was the question that set me off across the United States hitching rides and sleeping in hostels, campgrounds, or by the side of the road. Half a year later, I set out farther afield, this time across Europe, intending to circle the globe via Africa, Australia, and a return trip to Asia. (But that’s another story.)
Too weary to carry on after months on ten-dollars-a-day, I crossed the Mediterranean for the Land of Israel. There, I planned to occupy myself picking oranges on a kibbutz before stalking the southern hemisphere. I’ve recounted some of my adventures here.
We know what happens when Man plans. A strong dollar had given a few million other young Americans the same idea, and there wasn’t a spot to be found on any kibbutz in the country — an unprecedented event. With dwindling funds and a depleted constitution, I took a most unlikely turn and found myself as a neophyte in a talmudical seminary.
It took two months, ceaseless bouts of syllogistic sparring, and a former professor of philosophy from Johns Hopkins University to convince me to see the world in a new light. Read about how my background in literature sparked my personal awakening here.
I spent the next nine years learning ancient languages and studying the accumulated wisdom of 3300 years, starting a family, earning my rabbinic ordination, and acquiring the credentials to teach Mankind’s most profound wisdom to others. After leaving Israel, my wife and I spent a year teaching in Budapest, Hungary. You can get a taste of our experiences here.
Two years later we moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where we have lived since 1996. I teach high school, lecture adults, and write on contemporary issues, currents events, inspiration, education, childraising, history, philosophy, spirituality, and self-awareness for Jewish and popular journals.
For testimonials and information on booking me as a motivational or keynote speaker, visit my speaker page here.
Any questions? I answer the most frequent ones here.
Please contact me at info [at] ethicalimperatives.com.
Essays and articles on all variety of Torah topics, including Jewish philosophy, Jewish history, contemporary issues, current events, education, childraising, ethics, politics, and the world at large.