“Happiness is not a room. Compassion is not a place. Mercy is not a state. It passes, like anger, like hunger, like horniness…These are all emotions, and you have to observe them.” ~Rabbi Iggy Gurin

Oh my, it’s been a week, hasn’t it?! The windows are open and fresh air is pouring in. While that big picture feels a whole lot brighter today, there’s still hella personal work to do. Lots of it because…life. For anyone challenged by addiction, the world still feels awash in shadow. But Rabbi Igael Gurin-Malous says connection is the light in the darkness and everyone has access if they keep walking. “We have to go through it, through these emotions. They’re not there to harm you; they’re there to educate you, and you have to learn something from them.”

Iggy is absolute sunshine in human form, a self-proclaimed wise-ass and walking contradiction. He’s the f-bomb-dropping spiritual counselor, the rabbi with tattoos and the podcast. Professionally, Iggy’s a renowned Talmud teacher and founder of T’shuvah Center in Brooklyn, NY, a space that offers those in recovery a community to which they can genuinely belong rather than simply fit in. Here, authenticity plays a vital role in the healing process, as does spirituality. 

“Addiction is a spiritual malady,” says Iggy. A step toward achieving and sustaining sobriety from all forms of dependency—be it drugs, alcohol, shopping, or even white supremacy—is reclaiming a connection to not only the higher self but, the lower self as well. 

Culturally-speaking, as Americans, we’re programmed to focus only on our higher self, to goal-set, to achieve, at the expense of better understanding our lower self. What lessons do we miss out on learning when we shy away from the uncomfortable feelings that reside in all of us? What could we gain by sitting with that otherness? “Life is about struggle…not in a depressing way, but life is about the journey, and life is about the struggle to balance all these different forces within us.” 

Rabbi Igael “Iggy” Gurin-Malous is a renowned Talmud teacher, spiritual counselor, artist, and educator. He grew up between Belgium, Israel (so expect him to be well dressed and blunt) and the United States in a traditional Jewish Orthodox home. He is a frequent author, speaker, teacher and contributor on subjects ranging from Talmud, Jewish text, spirituality, addiction, recovery, fatherhood and LGBTQI+ issues.

Today He is the founding rabbi and CEO of T’shuvah Center, a new long term Jewish recovery community in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. He was formerly the Director of Spiritual counseling at Beit T’Shuvah in Los Angeles. He is also Temple Israel of Hollywood Talmud Scholar in Residence, teaching weekly classes on Interpreting Talmud. Igael also serves on the board and faculty at the Academy of Jewish Religion of California.


T’Shuvah Center






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