Born into a Mexican-American family, in his late teens, Miles-Yépez discovered his family's hidden Jewish roots and began to explore Judaism and other religions seriously. After studying history of religions and comparative religion at Michigan State University, he moved to Boulder, Colorado to study with the innovative Hasidic master and leader in ecumenical dialogue, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, founder of the Jewish Renewal movement. In addition to Schachter-Shalomi, he also studied with various Sufi masters and teachers of Buddhism, and counts Father Thomas Keating, Trappist monk and founder of the Centering Prayer movement, as an important influence. In 2004, he and Schachter-Shalomi co-founded the Sufi-Hasidic, Inayati-Maimuni Order, fusing the Sufi and Hasidic principles of spirituality and practice espoused by Rabbi Avraham Maimuni in 13th-century Egypt with the teachings of the Ba’al Shem Tov and Hazrat Inayat Khan. Currently, he teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.
As a writer on religious subjects, he is known for his critically acclaimed commentaries on Hasidic spirituality (written with Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi), A Heart Afire: Stories and Teachings of the Early Hasidic Masters (2009) and A Hidden Light: Stories and Teachings of Early HaBaD and Bratzlav Hasidism (2011); and for the ecumenical works he has edited, The Common Heart: An Experience of Interreligious Dialogue (2006) and Meditations for InterSpiritual Practice (2011).
As an artist, Miles-Yépez is mostly known for his vibrant paintings, influenced by traditional religious imagery and his Mexican-American heritage. His work in general represents a lifelong fascination with religious iconography, myth and symbol, image and archetype, cultural impressions and his own ancestry. Most of his work is concerned with the acculturation and use of traditional symbols and iconic forms in a new multi-cultural paradigm.
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Foundations of the Fourth Turning of Hasidism: A Manifesto
by Netanel Miles-Yepez & Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
Hasidism is a perennial movement of the spirit arising again and again through the centuries in various contemplative movements in Judaism. Among these have been three significant movements, or revolutionary "turnings" in Jewish consciousness that have significantly impacted future generations. In this little book, we are given an outline for a "Fourth Turning of Hasidism" which can renew Judaism.
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