PERSONAL: Married Yolande Bloomstein. Education: Attended University of the Witwatersrand; Yeshiva University (New York, NY), M.A., Ph.D.; California State University, Los Angeles, M.A. (psychology); Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, Ph.D. (psychology; with distinction). Religion: Jewish.
CAREER: Rabbi and writer. Ordained rabbi, 1961. Province of Natal, South Africa, chief rabbi, 1969–76; Riverdale Jewish Center, New York, NY, senior rabbi, 1977–85; Beth Jacob Congregation, Beverly Hills, CA, senior rabbi, 1985–2000; Westwood Village Synagogue, Westwood, CA, rabbi. University of Natal, South Africa, former professor and head of the department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies; Yeshiva University, New York, NY, adjunct professor; University of London, London, England, visiting professor of Jewish studies, School of Oriental and African Studies. Rabbinical Court (Beth Din), chief justice; West Marble Arch Synagogue, London, leader; Board of Rabbis of Southern California, president; North American Cabinet of the State of Israel Bonds, chair; [Orthodox] Rabbinical Council of America, vice president.
Death and Bereavement: A Halakhic Guide, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (New York, NY), 1991.
Rabbis as Mental-Health Professionals: A Major Metropolitan Study, University Press of America (Lanham, MD), 2000.
Connecting to God: Ancient Kabbalah and Modern Psychology, Bell Tower (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor of articles to many professional journals.
SIDELIGHTS: Abner Weiss is a rabbi who has also worked as a licensed marriage and family therapist in California and is the author of books dealing with religion and psychology. His first work, Death and Bereavement: A Halakhic Guide, examines death from a Jewish perspective and offers spiritual guidance to those coping with the loss of a loved one. Weiss is also the author of Rabbis as Mental-Health Professionals: A Major Metropolitan Study, a text that explores the issues Jews often choose to take to their rabbis rather than to mental-health-care providers and the impact this has on both professions.
Weiss's 2005 publication, Connecting to God: Ancient Kabbalah and Modern Psychology, shows readers how Weiss has used the teachings of the ancient mystical text the Kabbalah to develop a new system to diagnose and treat psychological disorders. The author provides examples of cases he has worked on and outlines the steps readers can take to use the teachings of the Kabbalah to heal emotional damage and connect with God. In a review of the book for Publishers Weekly, a contributor observed that Connecting to God is not a trendy, spiritual self-help guide, but rather an "intellectually rigorous" study.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Library Journal, July 1, 2005, Graham Christian, review of Connecting to God: Ancient Kabbalah and Modern Psychology, p. 92.
Publishers Weekly, June 27, 2005, review of Connecting to God, p. 59.
Abner Weiss Home Page, http://www.connectingtogod.com (January 16, 2006).