Speaker: Aryae Coopersmith

Raising the Sparks: Retrieving the Hidden Light Around Us

Aryae Coopersmith is founder of One World Lights (OWL), a community of global citizens with the shared vision of people everywhere supporting a course change for humanity by supporting each other. The vehicle is wisdom circles – mostly by video-conferencing – where global citizens from around the world gather to share wisdom, inspiration, knowledge, support, resources. Members live in 10 countries and serve in their own causes and communities as peacemakers, community organizers, social activists, business consultants, artists, clergy, and champions for those who need support: people, animals, nature, the earth. The vision is an abundant, healthy, just, peaceful, sustainable world – one world for all of us. Aryae also serves as a volunteer at ServiceSpace, a global community with the vision of “change yourself, change the world” through countless small acts of kindness.

Aryae is author of Holy Beggars: A Journey from Haight Street to Jerusalem, a memoir of a student, a spiritual teacher, and the spiritual revolution in 1960s San Francisco that transformed the way millions of Americans experience faith and spirituality. Told in the first person, the book chronicles Aryae’s spiritual and personal journey, beginning with his time as a 22-year-old college student in 1960s San Francisco, where he met the Rabbi and musician Shlomo Carlebach and decided to start a community for him. He rented a house and moved in with his wife and best friends. Before long, they found themselves, and their house – the House of Love and Prayer – at the center of the San Francisco spiritual revolution, as thousands of young people – Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Sufis and more – flooded in through their doors, drawn by the atmosphere and Shlomo’s music and teaching. The community, the House of Love and Prayer, opened a new chapter of American Judaism, and became a historic part of the legend of 1960s San Francisco.

In describing the book, Aryae has said: “It’s really about the complexity of our relationships with spiritual teachers and other mentors. How they affect us, how they affect our lives. It’s also about what happened in 1960s San Francisco, the spiritual revolution of those days. It was a different vision we were sharing about who we are as spiritual beings.”

Aryae went on to found a career development firm and worked as a community college instructor in the 1970s, an account executive and sales manager in Silicon Valley in the 1980s, a Principal at the Tom Peters Group in Palo Alto in the 1990s, and founded and led the HR Forums, an association of Silicon Valley’s human resource executives, from 1997 to 2013.

Aryae has an MA in Humanistic Psychology from California State University, Sonoma. He was ordained in 2011 by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi as a Jewish spiritual teacher. Together with his wife Wendy, he convenes the Coastside Torah Circle, where people from different backgrounds gather to study sacred Jewish texts, and “the circle is the teacher.” They live with their three cats in the little beach town of El Granada, a few miles south of San Francisco.

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