Dec 12, 2013
Man Behind "Call of the Shofar"
Schwartz (left) interviews Frischling

Simcha Frischling of "Call of the Shofar," speaks to Berry Schwartz about his workshop that's become popular in Lubavitch circles.

Simcha Frischling is the founder and executive director of "Call of the Shofar," a training institute popular with some Lubavitchers that uses Jewish wisdom as a framework for personal growth.

He has been working with Jewish men for over 25 years developing and facilitating numerous programs, which promote healthy fulfilling lives and responsible caring relationships according to the Torah.

In this web interview with Berry Schwartz of, Frischling speaks about leading a better life and succeeding while not compromising on matters of faith and belief.

Here is a rough timeline breakdown of the interview so you can skip to a section that intrigues you:

6:00 What does it mean to get in touch with our real desires?

14:00 Is bittul a misunderstood concept?

31:00 Whats the framework for navigating a conflict between wellbeing and halacha?

35:00 - Can there be tension between halacha and wellbeing?

43:00 People who feel they're only worthy if they keep mitzvot.

46:00 - What to do if you're only keeping mitzvot from a place of fear - is there value in that?

48:00 - Why does Call of the Shofar have the workshops in groups?

Most Read Most Comments

Opinions and Comments
Reb Akiva Dee Masmid
Avoidah Zoroh and a Ponzi fraud.
Stay away.
"Ushmartem Me'Od Lnafshoseichem".
Dont become a part of this cult... Your brain will be twisted and you will start pushing your messed up ways on all your friends and family who will hopeful be smarter then you. In the end you will loose everyone and everything... Be very careful ... Hashem Yeracheim....
(12/11/2013 9:39:33 PM)
this is crazy
Why in the world are people flocking to this guy? We have chassidus and hundreds of farbrengens from the Rebbe, thousands of letters etc. Etc. To tell us how to lead our life's. Such programs are not meant for every person, and if someone has issues they should definitely take care of it, but don't make this into something everyone should go to.
(12/11/2013 10:30:05 PM)
Naomi Selwyn
Berryyyy! When did you grow up? Very impressive interview really so proud of you!
(12/11/2013 10:37:06 PM)
These are questions for a mashpia-that is lubavitch. i have seen several who have become slightly more relaxed in their Avodas Hashem from this. please beware. look into Chassidus for your answers-they're all there. im not chas vshalom bashing this because it may emotionally be a wonderful program but dont let it relax your yiddishkeit.
(12/11/2013 11:11:14 PM)
Shush! dont tell anyone... "shofar" is really repackaged "chasidus"
The reason this is soo successful for soo many (and especially appreciated by Lubavitchers) is perhaps bec IT IS CHABAD!
(chabads very own traditional concepts and techniques! albeit repackaged and CAMOUFLAGED in a fresh unfamiliar jargon and presentation)
Here are just a few examples of shofar elements taken from our Chabad tradition:
1. Simcha Poretz = Chasidim were dubbed di Frailicheh
2. You matter = Your soul is Chelek Elokah of absolute infinite and intrinsic value, interact from a healthy secure state of wellbeing. Oisim Nafshom Ikar... = Accept your true nature (G-dliness) your of infinite value YOU MATTER! Connect with your true self, aka yechida (you are not your kochos nor levushm observe and make free choices)
3. Unconditional Love
4. Nonjudgmental acceptance
5. Internalize ideas by hisbonenus and hisbodedus.
6. Be present Achdus H, The divine is accessible in every moment and activity, NOW matters! Dira Batacchtonim, Bchol drochecha doeihu, (in every situation step back, ask what is needed of me according to hashems priorities).
7. Safe container: aka Brotherly Farbrengen, aka support group comprised of genuinely caring friends focused on critical introspection self-improvement and growth.
8. Mentorship = Aseh Lecha Rav, dont be too arrogant to think you can make important decisions without consulting a caring expert regularly, yedid mavin = brocha from hashem.

those who maintain the follow up gatherings locally stand to gain the most, (aka attend REAL farbrengens).

(12/11/2013 11:28:01 PM)
And no mechanech should be allowed in the classroom without getting clear on these issues!!!
Maybe we should make this mandatory for all teachers!!!
(12/12/2013 10:22:04 PM)
Let The Games Begin
Use common sense before posting uneducated, negative comments
(12/12/2013 10:28:06 PM)
kudos to 7
people, you are sooooo stuck if you think you will get your life in order just from reading tanya straight out of the book.

chabad people are rational! they flock to this guy because he has what to offer...

its only a matter of time before it becomes obvious that those shunning this are the ones to be pitied...!!!
(12/12/2013 10:40:00 PM)
golden opportunity
why is it ok for OUR mechanchim from OUR mosdos, who will educate OUR children (hopefully), to have workshops with fremdeh?

isnt it all in klolei chinuch vehadracha???

Wake up people! You are stuck in the muck,
here's a golden opportunity to REALLY live like a chosid

people who maximized on this experience have only good to say!!!

those who went to the workshop and have negative comments have obviously not been completely honest and open to learning something new. they were closed and therefore did not allow the experience to penetrate their being,

oh well,

I love you all!
(12/12/2013 10:52:49 PM)
i dont know Berry Shwartz
but you sound articulate, intelligent, and thoughtful
(12/12/2013 10:56:21 PM)
Many Rabonim and Head Shluchim attended the seminar and reported amazing reviews.

Many hundreds were inspired, many marriages saved
this is a timely asset in out times.
(12/12/2013 11:03:10 PM)
To #1 & #2
To #1:
You sound neurotic. You need help.

To #2:
If you were so permeated with Chassidus you wouldn't be so territorial about it. Who cares where one gets the message from?
(12/12/2013 11:08:26 PM)
I smell a flame bait
move over mania, move over Jamie, this guy will answer all our questions from an open minded state of "wellbeing" ( financially, that is. After he suckers you out of your money.

(12/12/2013 11:09:03 PM)
Great resource
Tremendous opportunity and a great way to really begin on path of positive change. Chassidus begins to take on much more meaning after going through some shofar work.
(12/12/2013 11:09:47 PM)
You know what? All the Misnagdim were convinced that Chassidus was a cult as well...
I'm glad we stuck to Chassidus and I'm glad I went to Shofar!!!
(12/12/2013 11:11:07 PM)
changed man
People can talk whatever they want. I can say that it changed my life. I'm more frum, meaning I serve hashem because I want to. Im there for my family in a much more powerful way. There is nothing bad to say about this organization. The only ones talking bad are the ones that didn't go..... they are the ones with the issues, I'm happy. (And yes I'm not angry at them I feel bad for them,)
(12/12/2013 11:12:32 PM)
Ch mechanech
I've been to shofar, I know many mechanchim who've been there.
In my life I have never had such an appreciation for Chassidus and for davening. My relationship with my wife is stronger and more real than before.
Its been almost a year since I first went, and Baruch Hashem with hard work, the effect is growing on me day by day.
The one who benefit most of course are my students, with whom I have a deeper and more meaningful relationship.
It takes a lubavitcher to truly appreciate the full depth of the call of the Shofar!
(12/12/2013 11:12:46 PM)
Chasidishe Optometrist!!
I could not read my Sefer Tanya, because the lenses on my glasses were in very bad shape,
i went to AN EYE-GLASSES STORE, and the guy who was not a chasid gave me a new fresh pair.
i began reading and appreciating the Tanya so much more.

If you were not there yet, and you jump to judgement, then, your EYEGLASSES might need some "adjustment".

(12/12/2013 11:17:14 PM)
Doivd Meshchaninov
First of all, Berry I am so proud of all the awesome work that you are doing, please keep it up!!
To all the negative comments..
It is so abundantly clear to me that the concepts from the call of the shofar weekend are not intended to replace chassidus, but to start interacting with it from a healthier and deeper standpoint.
If you are messed up emotionally, dont really know how to love yourself, or basically find all the service of being a frume Jew taxing and a burn out, then you can learn 100 sichas and mamurim but not make any headway as person or servant of Hashem. However, if you can heal yourself a little and get some healthy perspectives then you might actually be able to use all the beautiful ideas in chassidus correctly.

It is also amazing how some people feel that the only way to advance as a servant of Hashem is with straight up torah/chassidus. Hello? What about Kleipa noga? If we take ideas like healing ourselves, becoming healthier, and bettering our relationships and our overall goal is to serve hashem better in the end, then those activities become holy! Why is the answer to everything always go learn a sicha?

It seems to me that the authors of the negative comments are deeply insecure about their Judaism. The result is that anything that looks or sounds even slightly different from the way they are used to hearing it scares them and they feel they need to attack it.
Berry continue rocking

(12/12/2013 11:20:41 PM)
Sign up
To see the schedule of our upcoming workshops go here: Contact us if you have questions or concerns.
(12/12/2013 11:21:24 PM)
to #1
As a Lubavitch and a shliach who has been to several call of the shofar workshops I can assure you that either you have no idea about this program at all or you have no idea what constitutes avoda zora or a ponzi.
(12/12/2013 11:27:22 PM)
Shofar is great!
Call of the shofar is an unbelievable program. it's very simple, I don't understand what people are against exactly it's a program where people get together and open up about their feelings, And realize that their feelings is the same as everybody else is feelings. What are you against???
When you mix Torah with shofar then I don't like it. It's a great program to make yourself a happier person but nothing to do with yidishkite in particular.
(12/12/2013 11:33:07 PM)
CH Resident
I have benefited from the Call of the Shofer weekend. I think people should speak to the knowledgeable mashpim in Lubavitch to see whether they should go or not. Anyone who says anything negative should at least put your name down and advise what authority you have to make the negative comments. If people feel they benefit, why would you stop that. Also, this is no way a cult, I went for the weekend and was never never never pressured to go back. It is totaly voluntary whether you wished to continue with the meetings, etc.
Simcha is an amazing person and truly thank him for giving me such an amazing weekend. Believe me these people care and are not in it for the money.
(12/12/2013 11:35:12 PM)
to #1 and #2
#1 - do you even know what a ponzi scheme is? what are you basing your judgments on?

#2for a community that has a "leader" and hundreds of talks the brokenness and dysfunctionality that I have witnessed in Chabad is uncanny. people aren't flocking to this guy.

While there are parallels to Chabad chassidus the intention is not to make anybody more or less religious and/or more or less Chabad. there are principles that are taught for a person to generate their lives from a place of wellbeing security and vitality. Principles by definition are universal and simple and not only appliable to one sect of Jews or even one religion.

Chassidus might have answers but to say that it has ALL the answers, that simply is not my experience and to say that it has ALL the answers is to degrade whatever has come after and before it.
(12/12/2013 11:35:51 PM)
this is not Torah
Judaism is not about pursing self-help. It is about pleasing G-d. Period.
(12/12/2013 11:43:35 PM)
to #1 and #2
#1 - do you even know what a ponzi scheme is? what are you basing your judgments on?

#2for a community that has a "leader" and hundreds of talks the brokenness and dysfunctionality that I have witnessed in Chabad is uncanny. people aren't flocking to this guy.

While there are parallels to Chabad chassidus the intention is not to make anybody more or less religious and/or more or less Chabad. there are principles that are taught for a person to generate their lives from a place of wellbeing security and vitality. Principles by definition are universal and simple and not only appliable to one sect of Jews or even one religion.

Chassidus might have answers but to say that it has ALL the answers, that simply is not my experience and to say that it has ALL the answers is to degrade whatever has come after and before it.
(12/12/2013 11:44:51 PM)
The most out of life
Any person who wants to get the most of his/her life must go.
It's life changing in a very positive way. I know many people who went and have a NEW life!
(12/12/2013 11:45:50 PM)
Thank God for Call of the Shofar, it has really changed my life and helped me be a better husband.
(12/12/2013 11:53:56 PM)
Moshiach Days.
I am a teacher in CH and ever since i've attended the shofar weekend, i've become a more loving, husband, father, teacher and found myself walking around with no judgement on people, regardless how chssidish/frum they are.
Ve'ahavta Leray'acha Komocha begins with loving "komocha" - myself first. i began loving and accepting myself and consequently everyone around me.
yes! it's like i changed the lenses of my glasses and see chassidus and yiddishkiet and all yidden in a better light.
I feel truly liberated. i believe this is a taste of Moshiach Days.
(12/12/2013 11:57:06 PM)
All of you must have problems in your life go to doctors don't make a public forum for everybody get a real life
(12/12/2013 11:57:35 PM)
to # 25
Actually Judaism IS about pursing self-help.
It's about refining yourself as a person and becoming a better father/mother, husband/wife etc. Its about "changing" yourself to love G-d, the Torah and your fellow man.
(12/13/2013 12:12:41 AM)
TO #30
We don't have problems because we recognize that we have problems. We don't go to Doctors we just breathe, eat, and sleep, literally and figuratively to stay vital.
It sounds like you're scared to join us:)
It is scary. I don't blame you.
(12/13/2013 12:26:03 AM)
Chasidus + Guru = "MIND BLOWN"
(12/13/2013 12:40:05 AM)
i went there
ed achad naman besurin and it gos against the view chasidus why:
the point of chasedus is that we all have problems and we need to take care of them so we learn tanya....and they help us over come them not that we take them a way bec that will never happen the point of life is to fight with are yatzer hara and to win the more we learn the more we win
thay want to say we can take out all are problems if you pay $750 and you say all you fillings in public and come again of curse its cheaper the next time thats how they get you and its all over no more problems like magic.
btw a lot of it is avodah zarah and come from buddhist witch he was one at a point of his life
(12/13/2013 12:41:24 AM)
Looks creepy!
Sounds like some $$ making ploy.
(12/13/2013 12:49:07 AM)
a Lubavitcher chassid
While I won't say anything about call of the shofar having never been to any of their sessions. I would however like to comment on this that some of the previous commentors seem to realizeq that chassidus is missing something. Chassidus is the long short way meaning that you have to work hard but if you do you get there and it's real and lasting. I wonder {again I am not familiar with call of the shofar} how many of them learn a hour a hour chassidus and nigleh daily and daven b'avodah{chassidus says that davening causes simchah no wonder why some are depressed} my point being said chabad chassidus is about doing the full job working hard. Before thinking of going to others how many of you spoke to your mashpia like the Rebbe said to?
(12/13/2013 12:49:10 AM)
My 2 cents
I have heard much about this and as helpful as it may be I would have to ask myself if the Rebbe would agree that I should go to improve in avodas hashem in a place that utilizes non-Jewish music, foul language, techniques taken from the cult of Scientology and rushes through davening. It is up to everyone's personal mashpia to guide them in what is proper for them. It is completely out of place to say that this is a must for anyone - maybe if no one said that, no one would think that this was a cult.
(12/13/2013 12:50:42 AM)
Does anyone know what any mashpiyim have to say about this?
(12/13/2013 12:55:38 AM)
Life changing
2 points
1. The bais hamikdash was destroyed because of Sinas chinam and for me "call of the shofar" has been the cure. I grew up in a very anti chassidish home and my exposure to "call of the shofar" has enabled me to see chassidim as people who maybe different than me but who just want to be happy and get the most out of life. In the past without realizing I would relate to them from my fear and uncomfortably as they did to me.
2. Something I've heard stressed at these weekends is my relationship to HaShem, and I believe rabbi manis Friedman talks about how Judaism isn't a religion but a relationship. This has helped me because what I "do" isn't the point but the relationship is meaning miztvos, my job, my actions are black and white right and wrong good and bad and if they are the point I see the world as such but they aren't the point. The point is my relationship, to HaShem to my wife kids etc. If I do for my wife because those are the rules it's likely I will come to resent her and stop looking out for her but if I do for her because I want to be close to her and make her happy then I'm developing a relationship.
If my Torah and mitzvos aren't helping me to be a better and more useful person to those around me then it's likely I'm doing it for myself and HaShem has nothing to do with it. Shofar helps remind me to emulate HaShem inside and out
(12/13/2013 1:01:39 AM)
frum or not that is the question
i'm confused. either 1) this guy isn't religious because he hasn't learnt about yiddishkeit (and mitzad dan lechaf zechus i will say this is the case) or 2) he himself with all his answers needs help to as he suffers from a low self-esteem and is scared of change (which to me seems like the more realistic option) and if that is the case and he is the one telling us all the answers, then there is something wrong with this picture here.
(12/13/2013 1:16:34 AM)
Hayom yom, Vzuhi Avodas Hachasidus......
Having gone there myself, i can say, Post #5 is spot on!

The reason this program has any value is precisely BECAUSE OF the chabad principles that are incorporated and put into practice!
(12/13/2013 1:20:36 AM)

1. Its a cult!
2.its all based on self worth which is great and all but the person walks out with very self centered values etc. it becomes an attitude of thinking about myself first and if it fits in to my perfect shofar ill help you (so i dont get taken advantage of) this mind set is ! '
(12/13/2013 1:31:28 AM)
I have personally participated in this program and have actively participated in almost all of the programs that have been given by call of the shofar during the last two years. I have witnessed, time and time again, the deep and authentic committment the leadership of this organization has to each participant translate into astounding and positive results in the well-being and healthy relationships experienced by the participants, including myself. Most of all, in my view, the ultimate goal of this work is the consciously co-created experience of d'vakus with hashem; and, humility and gratefulness for the priviledge to be granted life itself and the opportunity, please g-d, to do whatever i can make his world, person by person, into his home, his pleasure garden.
(12/13/2013 1:31:55 AM)
its simple
for all those that need a tekiah gedolah go! not everyone needs it so dont drive the healthy ppl crazy all day with your issue with the issue garbage if it helps and makes you happy awesome! just stop being so loud and insistent..... i like the sound you make when you shut up shofar goers
(12/13/2013 1:39:26 AM)
well said
the frierdiker rebbe writes in tof shin classic shofar line "how can I be upset at what he did who's he that I should care abt what he says I'm gonna let someone else affect my temperament?! Its all focused on me not focusing on hrs only an afterthought
(12/13/2013 2:01:40 AM)
Those who went know best what i'm talking about
For me COTS (call of th...) has made it very easy to view others more in accordance with Torah (Chasidus)
1. Im less interested in the negativity of others (LH, Moitzi Shemra, Rchilus).
2. It helped me be less quick to judge others l'Kaf coiv Im allot more inclined to be 'dan l'Kaf zechus'.
3. Im happier within my self, and am focused on growth and being a positive influence on those around me. (i know, really weired stuff!)

It helped me apply the Sicha P/Noach/3: That when something (supposed bad you see in others) triggers within you ire and negative judgment re the other, then thats a sign (from above) that the bad you think you see in the another is actually a mirror of your own unresolved bad you need to admit to and work on.

If, however, seeming negativity (of others) triggers (no neg judgement) only compassion and a desire to help the other, then (the bad in the other is not intended as a mirror but rather) an opportunity to intervene and help bring the other closer to the right path.
Re Outreach,
Davka with above mindset, can one be most (loving, nonjudgmental and) successful in outreach, helping others come closer to Hs ways.

Everyone can benefit from C.O.T.S. especially if you want a happier relationship with your family, friends and Hashem. (and your neshama)

Good Shabbos!!
(12/13/2013 2:11:24 AM)
for all those that have a little bit of objective analytical skills, you will find that this is a copy of LANDMARK FORUM.
landmark, is a ponzi scheme and cult.
though it would be nice to be able to have a "chassidus" workshop where you pay $800 for a 3 day chassidus group therapy program that could help you redirect your life!
in the case of the shofar, the idea is to reduce ones self esteem. it would be nice to have a real good program which would help people create healthy self respect and attitude.
Call of the shofar is an unhealthy program, and out there to make one dependant on their moneymaking schemes. it is detrimental to the people who go there, and they don't even realise it till they become objective. if they are smart.
many, aren't smart enough hence they didn't research the program first, but relied on a psyched up and excited friend of theirs. that is how people are convinced to join anyways. it's called "sharing" where you are encoureaed to "share" with people you care about.
be careful people!!
(12/13/2013 2:26:18 AM)
34 midvar sheker tirchak
Had you really gone
You wouldn't that the virtually all of the virtually all of the ideas are chasidus!

No one claims that all yournproblems will be solved,
That was the give away that you obviously hadn't yet attended
(12/13/2013 2:40:13 AM)
the only reason Landmark, shofar etc have any attraction and positive results is
Because it uses concepts streak out of that book called Tanya

Aguch has a good lawsuits on hits hands
(12/13/2013 2:44:25 AM)
Many principles are from Landmamk. Some of the instructors are Landmark educated.
Landmark is a cult. COT is one too.
(12/13/2013 2:50:42 AM)
to the mechanchim who went
Just because you are a teacher doesn't mean you are a "somebody". It especially doesn't take away from anyone else's ability, to analyze even critically, this program.

In fact, because you went, you are subjective.

"Name dropping" by saying "shluchim went" doesn't say anything either.

In the end, if it is a ponzi scheme or not, if it is a cult, or not, if it is connected to avodah zora or not,

is either TRUE, or NOT.

it doesn't depend on who went or not.

To honestly know if this program is good, is to have it analyzed from an outside source, who doesn't go, who analyzes the content of the program, and analyzes the psychology of it. If the ideas being taught are healthy great if not, great, identify it and the reasons why.
Then people can make informed choices. at the moment the content is shrouded in secrecy. i have yet to see someone write an in depth review of everything taught and the schedule that was kept. etc.
(12/13/2013 2:51:42 AM)
Every successful retreat with any longer benefit must in some way sell Tanya (repackaged ofcorse)

Nothing man made is pure good,
Take the good and leave the good2% of the stick behind

The good within this is clearly found within our rebbeims writings long before Landmark, COTS etc were hatched
(12/13/2013 2:52:34 AM)
A change before and after the call of the shofar
Before the call if there was one cup at the water fountain, i would let someone else be the one take it.
After the call of the shofar i learnt to stick up for myself. now i am the first one to take the cup!
My life was instantaneously changed. i love myself, like i never did before.

call of the shofar gave me another great acheivement! we were told we can make as much money as we want if we put ourselves to it!
i took out a mortgage on my house, and put the money in stocks. i work 3 jobs a day, now instead of one as the call increased my power! i stopped taking my medication as i have the ability to control myself with skills i learnt there.
and i also converse with myself about things like choosing how to let a situation affect me?
the most recent one was i decided not to be upset that the stock i invested all the money from the house in crashed, and put me into major debt.
i have gained so much from the call i just reccomend you all follow suit. blindly.. just believe your good friend who went. because hey - he is a regular guy? he is even smart! that should say he can't be fooled! =
spend that $800 bucks! blow it away! you will feel great! everyone does! so long as they are too scared to admit they were frauded!
(12/13/2013 2:59:48 AM)
47 you havent presented a single draw back
Not a single claim that they make which sent beneficial or as claimed

For me, your need to condescend is very sad, saying "many aren't smart enough to realize that they haven't gained" that theyre being tricked, taken advantage of?

Please backup your claims with at least a shred of specificity.

Do you know someone who has a broken self esteem bec of shofar?
(12/13/2013 3:01:20 AM)
hee hee Ahavas raiim!
This is precisely what the alter Rebbe wanted from chasidim
True authentic brotherly fellowship!

Interesting how those who n
Know less are thrones most worried,

How can i reassure you that this enables a chasid to absorbed and be mamchish chasidus bpnimiyus

I do understand your hang up about the beared,

I admit, at first it was surprising to me, how a "beardless" Jew knew soo much of chasidus, especially in such a down to earth way
(12/13/2013 3:10:07 AM)
The Chassidim would say, "this piece of bread that I have is YOURS LIKE MINE..". The yours came fist then mine... Is this the approach of kol hshofar?
(12/13/2013 3:11:48 AM)
its not digestable to everyone
Most ppl do gain from it.
(12/13/2013 3:12:05 AM)
A twerski book would do a lot more good then the shofar!
It is well known and documented that Landmark forum, and the call of the shofar are the same style and baloney.
the intent is to affect detrimentally ones self esteem, which will cause a small hype in the person, but cause more damage then one could believe.

The answer to those who feel they could use the call of the shofar, is to do some autobibliotherapy, instead!
Read a twerski book, on self esteem. (pretty much any of them)

who-ever can seriously think that living in a cult like setting for 3 days, yes cult!
Where classes start at 8-9am and finish 10-11pm,
where speaking with other members is against the rules
going to the bathroom is highly discouraged
congregating after classes is forbidden,
sleeping times are limited to 5-6hrs (realistically)

if this is not symptoms of cult brainwashing then you are obviously post shofar. because NO-ONE who is pre-shofar would rationalise that!

as well the long lengthy classes 8am-10pm a monologue, of information being pushed on you. i'd like to see any sane person, tell me they can succesfully listen to and productively pay attention to a lesson with 5hrs sleep, a day for that amount of time.
it is clear that your defenses break down with such long lectures, and after the first day once the new stuff is introduced your tired and less defensive to new ideas.
Even if EVERYTHING they teach IS good, why do it in such a horrible and cult like manner? i would love to hear a rationalism?
the famous bait method they employ is ridiculous! they claim they have tools you can get from them, that will improve your life, but NEVER, do they say what they are, they always just tell you that through the call of the shofar, you will get the answer. it is the "chanukah gift" trick. where there is an empty box, and you say "in this box is the answer" "i have the answer here... pay attention and you may get a glimps" when they don't teach what these skills are but get you beleiving that there is something there!
no-one from the call says "i learnt how to improve my self esteem from the call" they always say "it changed my life" "it is so powerful!" what? they don't know... but something! how did it change your life? write it down? explain? why does it need to be experienced? not written? why can you not document the ideas taught?
It is a ponzi scheme people. and it is a danger to oyour neurotic health.
(12/13/2013 3:15:02 AM)
To 58
What you are saying is absolute GIBBERISH!
I went to Call of the Shofar, and we were given plenty of time to sleep(8-9 hours), were free to go to the bathroom as we pleased,and the reason talking Devorim biteilim is discouraged(for part of the weekend) is very logical. It takes people away from the matter at hand, i.e. working on themselves.
The day starts with Davening(ample time is given)and there are plenty of breaks given as needed including large breaks for mealtimes.
(btw...yeshiva schedule is 730am-930pm)
(12/13/2013 3:41:54 AM)
Good going Simcha!
Great job Simcha.

I'm in. I matter. I'm feeling very real and present. What's your issue with the issue? If only you would understand that it's Klal, Prat and Klal....

I'm very impressed with all the work you are doing with cult of the shofar. You really have a tight grip on a naive audience and are helping yourself to their hard earned money. It takes a lot of talent. Yes it is 100% copied and based on Landmark Fourm. Even though everyone will try and convince you that it is based on Chassidus. It doesn't take much to sprinkle a few holy words into a weekend to dress up this junk.

It is very simple. He breaks you down in front of everyone and then rebuilds you (in his image) and the first thing he asks of you - after building you back up by shouting "I matter" until you turn blue and loose your voice - is to go out and share this amzaing bank account changing weekend with your family and friends.

Please have Rachmanus on those that are in. They looked around them and saw everyone going for it and didn't want to be the odd one who did'nt go along with the group. Hopefully one day soon they will wake up and relize that Simcha took them for a nice ride.

"I'm in." "I matter." "I'm feeling very 'real' and 'present'." "What's your 'issue with the issue'?" "If only you would understand that it's 'Klal, Prat and Klal'...."

Watch out for people using the new language above. They want to get $750 of your money. But of course no one is making any money on this at all. Simcha is a wonderful antique furniture repariman. That's the reason why at the end of the video when asked how to join he had no clue about how to register on the website and had to "guess" what email address you can use to find out more info. To those who went: Has Simcha never mentiond the website or email address before? Does he really have no clue? If I find you audio of him plugging the website etc. will you still tell me he wasn't lying through his teeth?

Anyway, Simcha - Thank you so much for improving my life. You are an amazing leader. I will sell flowers for you on the streets so you can continue helping others.

Thank you so much - You Rock!
(12/13/2013 3:42:06 AM)
been there done that
True,, Lots of the techniques and concepts ARE IN FACT "REPACAGED" chasidus

thats the only way this and programs similar have any Hatzlacha!

for most human beings, this program will help you apply and internalize chasidus, Tanya, Sichos etc
(12/13/2013 3:47:25 AM)
The proof is in the Pudding
Nothing in this world (man developed) is PURE GOOD!

What i can confidently vouch for is that, for the vast majority of participants it is very positive and makes them better in all areas of life!
Bein adam Lamakom, Leatzmo, Lachavero!

i do admit that the program and some of its personnel are not perfect, yet i still made the most from it, it did not stop me me from extracting the good within it, and there is plenty of applied chasidus there, especially in the area of Ahavas Yisroel, How to view others etc etc
(12/13/2013 3:53:10 AM)
Calling something cultish, doesnt negate its value and benefits
Im ok attending any program, even if its strange, wierd or cultish seeming.

as long as its NOT AGAINST HALACHA and enhances my ability to serve Hashem better, and be a better human being inter-personally.
(12/13/2013 3:56:29 AM)
the Rebbe gave ys a useful litmus test...
to evaluate any program or activity, to discover if its mitzad Hakdusha or the opposite RL

Look at the results,
for those who fear that it will make them less frum, less kind, less friendly, less compassionate, less tznius, less joyful, then you are probably right! dont go! for you its a waste of yidishe gelt and time,

stick to whatever works for you, and brings out the best in you!

For me My Mashpia gave me the go ahead after investigating the impact it had on those who went.
(12/13/2013 4:01:28 AM)
the Beard Hangup
for a Lubavitcher, someone raised ffb in chabad, to choose shave is a massive RED FLAG, it the equivalent of a women dressing untznius (both rob a family of many blessings)

so i do get your fear, and shock, re How is it possible for someone without a beard to have soo many valid concepts from his own research and experience?!

i get that,

i had to put aside my own pre-conceived notions, and be "Mekabel HoEmems mimisheomro"
besides, its the proccess not soo much the details that allows one to walk out better able to have a relationship with H, and others.

A Shochet who touches his beard is only Pasul if raised in a chasidishe family, since Davka then is it Indicative of Heder Yiras Shomayim...
(12/13/2013 4:14:58 AM)
my 2 cents
Context is very important here. Call of the Shofar in it's most basic form, is a business. Simcha Frischling is a salesman, selling his ideas. Call of the Shofar espouses secular ideas about health and packages it for frum people. It does have cult-like vibes, and attracts people who are constantly looking for "the answer", this is a great place for them to get their "drug". The problem is there is no "answer", and salvation won't come in the form of a bald quasi-frum modern jew telling you what is healthy and what is not. For the short term it can be useful for those who like to "search" but Ultimately useless. It's sad for our generation that we don't have a live Rebbe to seek guidance from, and is a true tatte, whom we can feel safe to pout out our hearts to. Many fall prey to these "programs". I think the greater public will be more well served by reading the vast amount of material from the rebbe that speak about health.
(12/13/2013 4:26:26 AM)
Shofar participant
It must be made clear that Shofar, although grounded in Judaism, is not an alternative option of Avodas Hashem, and therefore is not replacing or diminishing from Chassidus. It is more about the context I serve Hashem from. Shofar has taught me how to learn and practice Chassidus from a place of love, worthiness and joy.
(12/13/2013 5:49:52 AM)
Use Chassidus?! You must be joking!
If someone has a toothache, it is simple and self understood that he must see a dentist. To suggest that perhaps he should learn Chassidus instead, is obviously and clearly absurd. The same principle is true regarding Shofar. We are dealing with a "toothache of the heart". Hashem created illness and he created Doctors who heal. Just as there is bodily illness and healing so too is there emotional and mental imbalances (illness is a bit to extreme of a word for this context) and healing. Chassidus is not a medical or healing manual. It's a manual of Avodas Hashem! Chassidus is meant as a general guide for the healthy, ideal person. It is absurd to suggest that Chassidus be used as a treatment for medical issues for which Hashem specifically created doctors!

This is not to suggest that Shofar is a treatment for mental or emotional illness, as it is not treatment but education. Nor is dealing with "illness", rather the common issues and insecurities that most of us live with. It is an educational workshop teaching people principles and tools, albeit with a format that's more experiential than informational. I am only using extreme words like "illness" and "medicine" to bring out the point.
(12/13/2013 6:09:47 AM)
For your information
Actually well known mashpiim ARE recommending to go to this workshop.
(12/13/2013 7:25:34 AM)
Would the rebbe be happy about this?
No. I won't continue any further.
(12/13/2013 7:49:19 AM)
why are some post shofars so positive and some so negative?
those who are positive went in with an open mind and got something out of it.
those who went in forcibly or were pushed in or did not have open mind are still complaining about their money... :-)
They are upset that they were duped so they are putting down the whole program. As a post shofar myself I am laughing at the clarity of this distinction.

shame on your pettiness and dishonesty and I truly pity you and your story.
and I still love you! and your story!
(12/13/2013 8:37:45 AM)
Find out which teachers/principals went and see if your child is happier.
(12/13/2013 8:49:45 AM)
For most, this brings out Only good in them = its therefore Good!
Results is the best indicator
(12/13/2013 9:04:12 AM)
To #58
Wow!! You have obviously not gone to the COTS. There are no drawn out lectures etc. There are many exercises and you have not read previous posts of how people were genuinely effected.

It is really sad when I see comments like yours because you are speaking from such pain. Its hard for you to see others improve their lives and who have had the courage to do it.

I think deep down you want to change and be a happy person but you are very scared. And that feeling is normal, we all have it, so if you want to live your whole life with it, go ahead but if you would rather live from a healthy state of being, take the step and be courageous.
(12/13/2013 9:09:02 AM)
there is a boss
as i have told many in leadership positions in crown Heights and lubavitch.

until someone opens a Chabad based program (and i don't mean a copy but run by a so called lubavitcher) there will continue to be hundreds of bochrim, yubgerleit and some shluchim who will go to shofar and landmark.

all this success of programs like shofar point to A the need for a Chabad program and B that Bh the drive to the 'OLD FASHIONED' avodas hashem is alive and well.

so rather than shouting down those who went to shofar realise that they deserve a pat on the back for caring to grow in avodas hashem is the path not right ken zain so open a Chabad healing program so ppl don't go to foreign fields.
(12/13/2013 9:21:14 AM)
Anyone who went and had a negative experience?
I hear people who did not attend the call of the shofar passing all sorts of judgments.
Is there anyone out there who DID ATTEND and DID NOT HAVE a positive experience?
Speak now!
(12/13/2013 9:27:10 AM)
tznius (low self esteem) problem solved!
if this program helps build up ppl's sense of value and inner dignity and adequacy, i say lets get the whole shchuna in there.

if it improves other departments too, mah tov!

tznius brings soo much blessings from above, according to the Rebbe
(12/13/2013 9:29:04 AM)
To 58
The way start off it seems like you have a question, but the way you finish off it can be seen that you have the answer already.
Regardless of mr you, for people out there who really want the answer to that question, here it goes:
The program is not about the speeches, you can gain pretty much everything without listening to the speeches, the speeches is less the than half of the time, the guy giving the speech says straight out "it's fine not to listen its not the point".
So how do you gain?
A group of people open up about their deepest feelings and realize how scared they were to open up until then. That is the whole thing you realize,wow, so dumb, that's what I was scared of, everyone feels that. And believe it or not, that changes lives.
So why call of the shofar?
It's just a good setting to do it in, if you can set up your own thing, good for you, (just a precaution, you might be considered a cult)
(12/13/2013 9:36:33 AM)
Citizen Berel

Aside from impossible claims or illusions of grandeur CALL OF THE SHOFAR is very, very special.

The most special thing about CALL OF THE SHOFAR is that there is literally not one published document of any substance laying out its doctrines, approach or anything about it really.

The organization website is an infomercial.

"Shush! dont tell anyone... "shofar" is really repackaged "chasidus"" (A supporter's flash of brilliance, up-thread)

Really? Who is the AUTHENTIC chosid there who has grasped chasidus and repackaged it for us unwashed masses?

Simcha Frischling? Who was his MENTOR a.k.a MASHPIA?

He doesn't need one because he is the beardless prophet.

If it weren't for the outlandish claims surrounding this organization, we could simply write this off as a helpful (or harmful) to one degree or another self-help for the needy, for a fee, outfit.

And the world has no lack, and some need, for (the helpful type of) these types of groups.

But when this type of thing is sold as chasidus, whether by the organization itself or its proponents with or without official or unofficial institutional encouragement, the group requires very thorough investigation.

And no, come and see for yourself is not sufficient: No Jewish movement of any worth had nothing substantive to say about itself to outsiders. In fact the group's willingness to engage outsiders on their own turf, as it were, was in accordance with its actual value: The Alter Rebbe moved worlds to engage the Gaon.

So, if this is an intellectual and way of life enhancing movement of such import, then write up a substantive description of your beliefs and innovations. Then we can decide for ourselves if the novelty and quality motivates on-site follow up.

Else, you are at best a run of the mill self help for the needy for a fee outfit, and at worst a soul crushing cult.
(12/13/2013 9:59:48 AM)
I got the answers
Let there be someone that has gone that spent the 3 days say it is a Ponza scheme. I went to the program. I know what it is about. Many of my friends and fellow shul members. Everyone that i spoke to has told me their lives were changed for the better. Out of 3000 that have gone through the program almost all if not everyone will say it is a must that will make your life better. If you do not agree or think that this may be a cult then maybe you need to break out of your shell and see that your life is not perfect and all that aggravation bottled up that you are letting out on people that are happier then you comes from a negative place that needs to be healthier. It's not a cult, to many wise men have gone through this and have come out changed. You are missing out.
(12/13/2013 9:59:59 AM)
Why does he look away from camera most of the interview
That bothered me
(12/13/2013 10:03:25 AM)
i've yet to meet someone who went, who does NOT reccommend it
(12/13/2013 10:16:30 AM)
ppl who havr gone are happier because they have become more selfish and taught to take care of themselves before others. dont worry about the world, do it the way you feel you should. this is not a good attitude for one who has responsibilty to others as a teacher, husband, father., etc. i have NOT gone- but have observed this change on others who HAVE gone- and wont admit any negative change cuz THEY are happier.
(12/13/2013 10:31:20 AM)
(12/13/2013 10:36:09 AM)
(12/13/2013 10:44:02 AM)
The glowing reports are all the proof you need that this is A CULT.
(12/13/2013 10:52:10 AM)
The Rebe Rashab gave us a golden rule: if you want to know where something comes from, does it add to Avoidas Hashem or not?

I personally know of people who their Shalom Bayis was impacted more then any therapy that they have attended before, I know of people who have finally given up on their addictions to and more.

We are currently living in a society that we hide our feelings and pretend everything is ok, therefore we dont rally know the hardships of others, as well as we hide from others our problems. Many of us believe that our problems are unique to us, and therefore there is something wrong with us.

This is one of the main accomplishment of this workshop, in that it invites (but does not force) people to share their feelings with others in a safe environment, where they feel excepted and not judged, and for many its the first time in their lives where they felt emotionally safe to be authentic and admit to others that things in their life are not feeling ok, and that they have feelings and there is nothing to be embarrassed of. And understandably to accomplish this it does use unconventional techniques.

The idea here is that many of our problems and addictions are a way of distracting from, and blaming others for - our uncomfortable feelings while pretending to be someone else other then our selves out of the fear of judgment of others.
When given the opportunity to be authentic and no need to hide, because we can see that we all have feelings and we all have our Pekelach, we become non judgmental to others and to ourselves. And then we can be available to our children wives and others.
This is why for many going to therapy in which they share their secrets with a therapist, was helpful only to a point. Since they still believe that they have real problems that other dont, and since they still are living in hiding. When coming to this workshop and coming out of hiding, for many [although I imagine that this is not the case for everyone] this was more productive then years of therapy.

Rabanim and Mashpiim which are non Judgmental and more real, in a way that they invite others to share with them what is really going on in their lives, and have experience with recommending different therapies and therapists to people, are recommending people to go to this workshop, since they have seen the results, [as was the case with me going on the recommendation of my Mashpia]

There are a few Buchrim which are obviously not very busy with learning Torah, have a lot of time on their hand and dont know what is really happening in the lives of many, the Shalom Bayis issues, Internet Addictions etc. etc. that are disturbed by the fact that Chasidim are looking for help from other sources, which is the case of anyone going to any therapy. Some of them might be threatened and scared by not having an answer to the big question (which I had up until I went to the weekend) Does Chassidus really have the answers to all problems, why do people need to go to therapist? My sincere hope and Tefilah is that these Buchrim once they establish a family and continue their lives with others, should have amazing lives without the hardships most of us go through in which they continue not understand why people should be seeking any help.

The point is that this is a program which invites people to be real with themselves and their feelings, using non conventional tools. If you believe that sharing feelings with others is Wrong, if you believe that being honest is bad and self centered, if you believe that taking care of yourself is the opposite of Bitul and will cause you to neglect others, or if you have a true Mashpia who is guiding you and you are Being Matzliach to live by your Neshama as Tanya instructs [and if thats the case you definitely are having a happy life without the need of help] then I dont recommend that you go to this workshop. although I also dont recommend that you take the responsibility of encouraging someone to continue watching what he does on the internet or get divorced with his wife and not use a method that has helped others, because in your professional perception it is not Chasisish and is a cult).
(12/13/2013 11:30:31 AM)
to # 70
.Oh really? How do u know? Some people need this help....u can't just say what the rebbe would say...

To #83 yes yes of course, all those that went and gained, and now have better relationships, better teachers...they are all very very selfish now, right right,very selfish...o please
(12/13/2013 11:37:20 AM)
To Citizen Berel or anyone else:
If you have questions regarding Call of the Shofar and what they teach, feel free to contact me.
(12/13/2013 11:46:11 AM)
the Rebbe's holy words

21 Adar II, 5738

Brooklyn, NY


Palo Alto, CA

Sholom uBrocho:

Thank you for your letter of 13 Adar II. I appreciate your comprehensive response to my

letter and memorandum on the need to organize widespread use of T.M. and similar

techniques in psychotherapy compatible with the Torah with the double objective of

making such therapy available to Jewish patients in a kosher way and at the same

time saving numerous Jews from getting involved with avoda zora [idolatry] as now

commonly practiced in the USA.

Needless to say, I noticed your suggestions and observations in this connection with

understandable interest.

In reply, let me first say that, as a general principle, so long as the said two objectives

can best be served, whatever project is determined to be most effective is most

desirable, and, of course, acceptable to me.

There are, however, some points in your response which need careful assessment. For

instance, the suggestion that an institute employing the said healing techniques might

be linked with a strictly Orthodox, even Lubavitch, orientation should be examined in

light of its being a possible, or even likely, deterrent for many candidates who might

hesitate to turn to such an institute for fear that it may impose upon them religious

demands and commitments which they are not yet prepared to accept.

The above is not to say that the idea should be rejected out of hand, since there may be

individuals who would not be deterred by it. But I believe that if the project is to attract

a wider circle of candidates for therapy, it would have a wider acceptance of it is not

overtly tied in with such an orientation, or discipline; at any rate, not in the initial stage.

Needless to say, the emphasis is on the overt orientation of the projected institute,

which should have no religious or other preconditions for anyone seeking its services.

But the institute itself should, of course, be run in strict keeping with the Torah, with a

kosher, indeed glatt kosher, kitchen, strict Shabbos observance, with mezuzot on all

doors - just as there are glatt kosher hotels and institutions.

With regard to the basic point you make in your letter, namely, that most people for

whom our plan is envisaged consider themselves "normal" and would not be interested

in a program that offers professional (medical) services, but would prefer a more

simplistic setup for relaxation, etc. - this should certainly be taken into account, since

the ultimate goals of our plan would not be affected. And, if as you suggest, this would

be the more practical setup for attracting more people and achieving our two objectives

- healing and elimination of avoda zara - then by all means, this method should be given

due consideration.

I would like to make a further point, though entirely not in my domain, namely, in

reference to hypnosis as one of the techniques used in psychotherapy, as mentioned in

your letter.

I have always been wary of any method that deprives a person of the free exercise of

his will, and which puts him in the power of another person, even temporarily - except,

of course, in case of pikuach nefesh [saving a life]. Certainly I would not favor the

use of such a method on a wider scale, least of all to encourage psychologists and

psychiatrists enrolled in our program to use it.

Finally, a point which for understandable reasons I did not want to mention in my letter

accompanying the memorandum: If in the first stage of implementing the program there

would be need for funding the initial outlay, my secretariat would make such funds


Your further comments will be welcome, and many thanks again.

With blessing,

M. Schneerson
(12/13/2013 12:03:54 PM)
Part Two of the Rebbe's holy words
11 Sivan, 5738 [1978]

Greeting and Blessing:

Thank you for your letter of the 2nd of Sivan upon your return from Eretz Yisroel [the

Land of Israel] and previous communication.

I am pleased to note that you and your wife enjoyed your visit in Eretz Yisroel and were

impressed with the activities of Chabad there. As I have remarked on similar occasions,

it is customary to bring back souvenirs from the lands one visits that are characteristics

of native features and products, etc. I trust therefore, that you, too, brought back with

you the measure of holiness, which will serve as a fitting room for improvement in

matters of holiness, Torah and Mitzvoth [commandments], in the daily life. In your case

this is even more important, not only for your own benefit, but also for the benefit of the

many who look to you for inspiration; and one is inspired not by someone else's good

thoughts and intentions, and not so much by word of mouth as by living example, which

needs no elaboration to a psychologist.

Now to the main subject of our correspondence, namely, saving Jews from getting

involved in Avoda Zorah [idol-worship] through T.M. and the like, by offering them a

kosher alternative.

With reference to your letter of April 9, I would like to make the following observations:

Although a well-planned and systematic approach is generally required to ensure

the success of any project, I do not think that we can afford to delay too long the

implementation of our plan through time-consuming preparation, and for two reasons:

Firstly every day that the plan is not in operation means so many more Jews turning

to those unholy cults, and there is no other way of preventing or discouraging this.

Secondly, and this is also a weighty consideration, every new project is provisional

by nature, for it is expected that as it progresses there would be need for changes

and improvements, which is common experience in various fields, medicine, science,

business, etc.

I note in your letter that your discussions with your colleagues have advanced to the

point of forming an ad hoc committee. I therefore believe that the stage can now be set

to start immediately a pilot clinic or similar facility, to start offering actual treatment, on

the basis of your and your colleagues' professional expertise and mutual consultations.

The pilot project should be set up in a way that allows for ample flexibility for

modification and change as may be necessary. As indicated, I will be able to provide

the funding for the initial stage within limitations. You will no doubt send me a tentative

budget of the initial outlay, with an estimate of the period of time it may take until the

setup becomes self-supporting. Indeed, I am confident that before long it will not only be

self-supporting, but also profitable, considering the popularity of the techniques

involved. But it is important to start in a way that will not inhibit the effectiveness and

development of the project even if it costs much more.

With regard to specifics, I do not think it advisable to use the term "Mystic" for the

planned healing center, since the goal is to attract the greatest number of Jews and

save them from Avoda Zorah, and the said term might discourage some. Moreover,

generally mysticism connotes something that lies beyond the plane of human

comprehension, while the therapeutic benefits of the techniques are quite

understandable rationally. Besides, to emphasize the mystical aspect would leave the

door open also lehavdil [to differentiate], to non-Jewish cults. For the same reason it is

advisable to be circumspect in regard to the description of the techniques to be used in

the healing center. For example, you mention the use of "mikvaot." While it is not in my

domain to assess the therapeutic affect of relaxation in a hot Mikve [ritualarium], I fear

that to include a Mikve "officially" in the regimen might be suspected - by some people,

at least - that it is a gimmick to involve them in Mitzvoth [commandments]....

As for calling the healing center by the name "Noam" - it is a name already in use by

various organizations and journals. Another suitable name would have to be found, but

there is no need to make a final decision on this right away.

Finally, let me relieve you of any apprehension that you might be "pushing" me on

this matter. On the contrary, in connection with such a vital project "pushing" could

only be all to the good, since time is of the essence, as I emphasized above.In view

of the fact that everything is by Hashgocho Protis [Divine Providence], it is significant

that your letter and my reply were written in the proximity to the Yom Tov [holiday] of

Kabbolas Hatorah [receiving the Torah, i.e. Shavuot], when we renew and redouble our

commitment to the Torah on the basis of "naaseh" ["we will do"] before "v'nishma," ["we

will understand"] with emphasis on the doing and that "naaseh" is the key to "v'nishma."

With esteem and blessing,
(12/13/2013 12:09:27 PM)
What have we come to?
From the inteview with this guy, Simcha: He sounds like he is talking gibberish, not making even one clear point, throwing in a "holy" word here and there, maybe even a "chassidic" term, to make him sound "genuine", and knowledgable...when in fact nothing of what he is saying is clear, understood or even makes sense at all. Obviously, he doesn't reveal much, because this way you will "run" to pay your 750 dollars to find out "who you really are and how much you count and matter! Then you keep paying more and more again to find out again that you matter!...Oy ..I thought we all knew as Chabad Chassidim that "We Matter"..that we have a purpose and a goal .If one has issues to be resolved listen to a few Manis Friedman lectures ,, do we need this "interesting piece of work" to teach us and drill our brains ..."Our Rebbe would definitely not approve of this, taking a Shabbos and filling it with yellling, screaming,more yelling and more screaming "I MATTER!..Simcha turning purple in the face "Say it louder..say it louder..Oy do we need Moshiach..And for the most part until Moshaich does FINALLYget here we have Manis, (whose learned thousands times more Chassidus than this "money making fruity tooty") whose lectures and weekends really gets you thinking..and teaches you to be a mentch, who you are and where you are heading in a true Chassidsh clear and concise manner!...
(12/13/2013 12:22:00 PM)
I would rather attend a seminar by the chosid doing the interview than the artsy guy with the black shirt. We do not have to understand everything Hashem asks us to do. Would you want to believe in a G-d you fully understood. First do it and then you will understand it later. If I had to understand everything fully and philosophically why I am doing all the mitzot I do I would make no progress or have to live 1000 years.
(12/13/2013 12:28:59 PM)
From Zevi Steinhauser
I went to this workshop and it did wonders for me.... if anyone wants to know anything about it FB me
(12/13/2013 12:43:33 PM)
those who have gone
are happier, but those around them suffer the consequences of having a 'careless' atitude towards important things. be careful.
(12/13/2013 12:50:22 PM)
I am another attendee of this program and have only the BEST, POSITIVE things to say. I am one of 99% of alumni who agree that it is AWESOME because I have experienced it and I know.

I've read the comments from those who have NOT yet had the opportunity to go say things from a place of the unknown. Before I went to the SHOFAR I too was very hesitant and doubtful what I will experience, but I went open minded and


Here are a couple points, proofs and experiences

Shofar is not against halacha. Its VERY in line with observing mitzvas, guides in serving Hashem and uses chasidus as backbone for its curriculum


The main reason what happens there is not discussed is because each participant becomes very close on a humanly emotional level and what happens is very confidential.


3 DAYS of Call of the Shofar's methods of getting me in touch with myself, my surroundings and my experiences/result there-of could not be accomplished through years of therapy. The Shofar is NOT a form of THERAPY but rather an educational perspective that opens your eyes and puts the ball in your court. I choose now.


I went to the Shofar because I asked more than 10 people for their opinion, a few very close friends of mine, and not ONE person could say anything bad. All they said is Schneur, it was awesome, WOW! They told me to go because they wanted me to experience the same WOW they have live the same life changes. Not because they get a piece of the action, chas vsholom. Some of these friends had issues/bad experiences before and some are your run of the mill guys. No problems apparent. They still walked away with a life changer. As your friends who HAVE went.


Google defines a Cult as a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object. in other words AVOIDA ZARA. The FACT is Simcha is not in this for personal gain or for people to worship him or his ideas, cv. The Shofars exercises have simply helped me gain greater perspective, self-respect and applied effort. These Shofar is not geared to be worshipped. In fact on the contrary, the Shofars ideology only works WITH chasidus and helps strengthen yiras shamayim and avoidas Hashem.

HOW I CHANGED MY LIFE a real testament

Feel free to come to me personally and Ill be me more than happy to talk in person as this is not the place for my story. My name is Schneur and I daven at Itchkes shietbl on Maple Street.
Long story short, the Shofar opened my eyes to my problem in a different perspective and gave me direction to choose, helped me SHOW UP in my life.

It has been a few months and I still live my experience. I live my life from a place of well-being, my family life has changed for the tremendously better and its all thanks to the Shofar.

THANK HASHEM FOR CALL OF THE SHOFAR, thank you Simcha and thank you Benzion.
(12/13/2013 1:02:13 PM)
Rebbes letter
Very clear that the Rebbe was for using what we can to improve ourselves on a kosher setting etc sounds like shofar to me
(12/13/2013 1:09:39 PM)
Not a Ponzzi
Any one who calls Call of the Shofar a ponzi scheme- is completely financially illiterate and had absolutly no idea of what the word means- and are just using it becuase its associated with something bad- and they dont know Shofar and are therefore scared of something thats new and they find threatening.

let me clear up the definition of a ponzi scheme so people can stop calling it that.
1) a ponzi scheme is when you are offered an investment with a very good return.
2) The person offering the investment has actually not invested the money in anything.
3) He uses the investors money to pay the returns to other investors.
4) the Ponzi scheme eventually implodes- because once people stop investing- they can no longer keep paying the orginal investor his returns.

so cough cough..... ummmm.... Call of the Shofar is a jewish self improvement seminar which [YES] costs money- (WOW!! you mean its not for free- and they charge for a product as does anyone who makes a product and sells it- like a book, or a hotel vacatio......(sarcasm)!!...

Stop HATING on things you dont know- Today is ASara B'Teves,
(12/13/2013 1:16:02 PM)
I was there!
I live in Crown Heights, and I can tell you that this weekend really changed my life for the BEST. I am more present for my Children, and I am a much happier person since I have gone. that doesn't mean that I never get angry, but now I deal with my anger in a MUCH healthier way. Yes, it is expensive but it is worth every cent.
I am also a better Yid since I came back, I daven and learn better and serve Hasehm with more Joy.
Please, if you were not there, GO! do it for yourself and do it for your children. I am telling you you won't regret it.
P.S. there are quite a few Mashpeeim and Shluchim and Mechanchim that have gone, and they ALL only had good things to say about it.
A gut Shabbos Yidden!
(12/13/2013 1:30:22 PM)
its not digestable to everyone
Most ppl do gain from it.
(12/13/2013 1:31:02 PM)
to those critics (ie never went)
The best test is Lemaaseh, does it translate into an increase in-Torah and Smiles chasadim??

I do wish for the day, that chabad has its own in house shofar program, so that it can be even more saturated with the timeless truths of Torah and chasidus


Those saying, many of these rid
(12/13/2013 1:36:31 PM)
See todays HaYom Yom. The black turtle neck guy says the opposite.
From the Tzemach Tzedek's answer at yechidus: It is written, "Let the wicked leave his path and the man of sin his thoughts etc."1 Aven (sin) is the same as on,2 meaning power and strength. Just as it is imperative that the "wicked leave his path," for without teshuva it is impossible to approach the Sacred,3 so must the "man of strength," one with unshakeable confidence in his reasoning, "leave his thoughts." He is not to insist, "I say so. This is what I think;" every "I", ego, is a source of evil, a cause of divisiveness.
(12/13/2013 1:48:57 PM)
99% of articipants become kinder and more not less loving
I'm really sorry for you, talk to a Yedid Maven! The Rebbe 's breaches cmendavka via this proccess.

(12/13/2013 1:50:27 PM)
Bet your bottom nickle on this!!!
I personally know many alumni... only 3 of which came back and complained.

Common denominator?

They had a lot more to work on themselves that this weekend could have done for them. Yet, they were locked in their issues, cynical, and unwilling to have faith in something other than their bitterness and issues.

I have pity on them, because they have not moved on in life. not one inch. they are still stuck and bitter. and still complaining...
(12/13/2013 2:03:03 PM)
For heaven's sake, stop complaining about the money! they offer you 100% money back if you're not happy.

Ask for it back!

But your pride and empty ego won't let you. because you know you are at fault for not maximizing on this experience...

(12/13/2013 2:03:43 PM)
Observing this thread
three types of comments:
1. positive (open minded people, or successful past participants)
2. complainers (closed minded people, failure past participants)
3. ignorant (talking from hearsay and/or insecurity)

(12/13/2013 2:06:24 PM)
repackaged chassidus?
It's like saying every song in the world is another song repackaged.


There are notes on the scale that can be played in any way you like... but they are always the same notes...

Truth is universal.

Anyone who tunes into the truth can present it in whichever way they want.

much of what goes on is more understood by someone who learned chasidus.

I'm loving watching this thread!
(12/13/2013 2:11:02 PM)
i have been to shofar
And I will be very honest with you: it is a cult. I regret ever going but I am also happy I went so that now I know the truth. I was persuaded to go by someone who I really respect (and still do respect, ss) but just feel that he, and many other people have been badly brainwashed. Call of the sshofar is a dangourus cult.
(12/13/2013 2:28:40 PM)
Berry Schwartz
Feel free to email me ( any concerns or fears you may have with Shofar.

The only thing I expect from you is being open to being wrong about your concerns.
(12/13/2013 2:37:28 PM)
i know a guy that went
I know this guy, he's a real piece of work, he went and guess what.... he's still a jerk!! so i don't think want to go
(12/13/2013 2:40:31 PM)
to 102
sorry that you went because you had to.
thats part of your problem. doing things that other people did the thinking about...
your conclusion that it is a cult is puny and infantile.
your only salvation to not having made the most of it is putting others down.
how sad.
I truly feel sad for you.
(12/13/2013 2:46:42 PM)
from 40 ppl in my group ONLY 3 hated it, and the other was look warm
myself and 37 others had a very intense and positive experience!

my wife and children gained the most from that weekend, it has helped me be more focused and present and giving! from a place of love and inner peace, no longer out of guilt or pressure.

for me at least, it was worth every penny!

if it helps me be a better husband, father and friend (which it definitely has) its surely mitzad hakdush!

re Cult, Yes it has many Weird Cultish shtick, so what, how else do u get ppl, to go soo deep in such a short window of time!
(12/13/2013 2:52:31 PM)
(12/13/2013 2:56:20 PM)
To 108
Say who you are if you want to make such statements. Anyone can say that they went and that it's a cult. Tell us WHY it' say cult. What is your definition of a cult. Then let people decide for themselves if they think so too.
(12/13/2013 2:56:47 PM)
Since Eitz Hadaas.. everything of this world has a mix of Tov and Ra
here is my observation:

contains some CULTISH SHTICK, for sure!
is it AGAINST HALACHA? 100% not!
is it very very MODNEH? absolutely yes!
is it (for most) enlightening and transformational for the good? yes!

should one go?

The Rebbe says that with any important life decission, in order to attract maximum sayaata dshmaya, one should consult and follow a Yedid-Mavin (aka Aseh Lecha Rav).

If you get a clear green light from your personal Rav, then (for u at least) this is mitzad hakdush, and it will be iy"h worth your while.

If you decide to join (or for that matter make any important decisions) on your own judgement alone, then, good luck! but your on on your own Daeah then!
(12/13/2013 3:08:14 PM)
Informed Outsider
I have not been to their weekend however I have several friends who have been. All are frum lubavitchers and all came back from this experience with only positive things to say. One guy reconnected with his family and now dedicates himself to yiddishkeit and torah. I'm not sure how these "enlightened" individuals wanting to share their positive experience with a friend or relative would be considered "cult like" any more than me sharing info on a good deal or a good restaurant with a friend. If I experience something good, I'd like my friend to be able to experience the same.
(12/13/2013 4:31:45 PM)
A cult?
Do you know that one one of the main criticism on the Rebbe and the Chabad of today is it's "cultishness"?

It is simply a borrowed term used to describe a group/community of people who are really commited to something they know is true and real, are willing to live by it in a powerful way, and get other people to experience it as well - even at the risk of others thinking its weird.
(12/14/2013 12:57:20 PM)
This thread is great stuff!
"Any publicity is good publicity".

Any of you un-positive commenters, ask yourself: What exactly about this program, which is helping so many, causes you to react so strongly? What are you taking personally here?

The answer is the reason you need to go!
(12/14/2013 1:05:00 PM)
Ignorance may deride it...
"The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is."
- Winston Churchill

I think most - if not all - of the negative posts here belong to the "ignorant" group. Get your facts right! If you haven't gone to a weekend or thoroughly spoken to someone who has, it is not honest to give an opinion!
(12/14/2013 1:39:37 PM)
This is so sad!
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.

- Plato
(12/14/2013 1:47:01 PM)
At 18 minutes into it, he talks about bittul, meaning i choose who I want to be bittul to, be it my family, an organisation or G-d. I have a major problem with that statement. it says in chassidus that a Jew cannot and does not want to ever be separated from Hashem. ........ for that reason I'm out!
(12/14/2013 1:48:47 PM)
It's actually scary that so many pple are falling for this bs. Heaven help us
(12/14/2013 6:09:28 PM)
from the Rebbe's letter quoted in comment 90
"I would like to make a further point, though entirely not in my domain, namely, in reference to hypnosis as one of the techniques used in psychotherapy, as mentioned in your letter.
I have always been wary of any method that deprives a person of the free exercise of his will, and which puts him in the power of another person, even temporarily - except, of course, in case of pikuach nefesh [saving a life]. Certainly I would not favor the use of such a method on a wider scale, least of all to encourage psychologists and psychiatrists enrolled in our program to use it. "

Shofar, by Simacha's own admission, makes a person "vulnerable" to them. This is exactly what the Rebbe apposes, especially if applied to the masses.

P.S. The face that everyone who went there raves about it, is clearly a result of the above, i.e the fact that once someone is there he is vulnerable to them. Human nature is that people disagree on things, and I have yet to seen something that literally every person who wet there agrees on and speaks about with conviction. It is too me the biggest sine the methods they use are one's that take away the person's ability to think on his own about this place.
(12/14/2013 6:13:12 PM)
Thank you Simcha!
It was worth going to a weekend just to meet Simcha! A sincere real honest opened minded person. I've been at two weekends and almost everybody there experienced very positive changes. A Mashpia who I was with, recommended every Mechanech to participate in these programs. Please reserve comment on Call Of The Shofar till you've thoroughly researched the subject responsibly. Many lifes have been changed for the better so please be cautious with anything not positive. Again, thanks Simcha and all the leaders for giving it your all. Thanks Berry for the interview and thanks all Shofar alumni for ongoing support. I'm very much IN!!!
(12/14/2013 6:36:29 PM)
Completely Misconstrued! Go learn Chassidus!
For anyone that has learnt chassidus knows that most of the things he says are completely negating ideas to what chassidus says. So lubavitcher chassidim first go learn chassidus!
(12/14/2013 6:39:21 PM)
Great line!
(12/14/2013 6:51:23 PM)
watched the entire video
A few points! A. The yisod of Chabad Chassidus is dirah bitachtonim - his whole shtick is based on being a healthy Other as in Lihetiv in their cannot be a healthy relationship if your wellbeing is not taken care of. B. His vort about the Aibshter first making us free and then giving us the Torah (we need to choose ourselves etc.) Seens to be the opposite of what the Rebbe says that true kabbolos Hatorah was by Purim because there was no I involved in the many sichos on Nase b4 nishma...davka bc of the Infinite connection to Hashem...not because of a decision made from wwellbeingfrom getting in touch with yourself...just a few red flags that I noticed...
(12/14/2013 7:03:44 PM)
Why don't those who went to Shofar share what it's all about instead of just saying "wow, you should go!" ?
Why are they afraid of writing a comment explaining the schedule and what is done and and how it's done and why it's okay, instead of saying - "you want to know? contact me pesonaly..."
And why are they so insistent on getting everyone else to go too? Do they want to prove to themselves that they're not the only ones with problems who "needed their lives to be fixed"? Or maybe they won't feel so guilty for going if everyone else goes?
(12/14/2013 7:04:30 PM)
agree with 125
Kabolas Ol is doing what needs to be IRELEVANT of our feelings. Choosing bitul. Sorry, thats the opposite of Chassidus.
(12/14/2013 7:20:57 PM)
agree with 125
Meant to say I agree with 121
(12/14/2013 7:31:19 PM)
to 128
In addition to Davening and good meals:

there are several goals and methods used.

the basic goal is to become aware of how we think, that we tend to color things with lenses we got as children.

For example: did you ever say that someone got you angry? Is it true that someone can get you angry (making you a victim of circumstances) or are you angry because of the way you perceive and interpret the facts.

There are objective data and then the subjective interpretation.

There are exercises to help you appreciate the difference between issues and your issue with the issues.

There are exercises that help you discover your "story", the story that you convince yourself with and that limits you and how to free yourself from it.

There are exercises that stretch your physical endurance, proving that you can do more than you think.

There are exercises that aim to help you remove your protective armor that inhibits your contact with yourself as well as with others.

There are classes about different things, such as how to improve your listening skills. Helps you be a better spouse, father, brother, human being.

There are exercises that help you feel what you are feeling and why.

There are activities that help foment cameraderie and sharing vulnerabilities.

One activity focuses on 2 questions: 1) who are you? 2) what do you really want?

The whole weekend revolves around the messages of the yoimim tovim. Rosh hashana, min hameitzar; Yom kipur, asking for and giving forgiveness; sucos, valuing yourself as a prat within the Klal, etc.

That's more or less it.

They give you tools and it is up to you to use them.
(12/14/2013 7:42:44 PM)
I would like to correct some errors in my prior comment - #43 (please see there). I usually use "all CAPS" when writing on the internet and when my comment was published by COL Live, almost everything was rendered in "small letters", including for example, "Hashem" and "G-d"...please know that I did not intend this to happend and am hereby retroactively asking His forgiveness and asking you to "read" my comment again making those mental corrections for yourself. Thank You and Gut Vork!
(12/14/2013 7:52:22 PM)
Of course there are aspects of this group that attendees will feel were helpful, or maybe even extremely helpful. However, from what I have heard from some who have attended is this program sounds dangerous. It is all about me, myself and I. It certainly seems to lure its attendees in a direction that is hepach of yidishkeit/chassidus. If there is even a RISK this is tumah I think one should stay far away from it.
(12/14/2013 7:57:37 PM)
Cult or Not
There have been a number of posts calling this group a cult. I for one don't know. But in these kind of things the Rebbe always said, ask the expert. And we do have an expert in our community in this area. He wrote a book about it. The book was recently republished. Yes, I'm talking about Rabbi Shea Hecht. Did anyone ask him about this?
(12/14/2013 8:14:34 PM)
Thank you Call Of The Shofar!
Look at the bottom line. How many lives have been changed for the better? How much has it improved Sholom Bayis issues? Has it improved relationships parents have with their children? Are the children in my classroom happier coming to school everyday? To all these questions, and many more of my daily interactions with people, the answer is a resounding YES! I want to improve my life! I want a better quality of life for myself, my family, my students and my friends! From my knowledge of Chassidus, I believe it works together. From the Mashpiyim and Shluchim who spent a weekend with me, they were supportive of this organization. I challenge you on how real this is. Spend a weekend with an OPEN mind. I'm very IN!!
(12/14/2013 8:22:49 PM)
Open mind!
Go for a weekend and see for yourself! Forget all these comments. We have many Mashpiyim in Crown Heights to ask for advice. Some have been there and expirienced what Call Of The Shofar is about. I'm IN!
(12/14/2013 8:44:09 PM)
Thank you for making so many people aware of the options out there
good to read this article on col. ive been to landmark, ive been to call of the shofar, my issues dragged with me.

hired a coach that is chabad, that is a master and really good, i have changed with working with the coach for two months now.
(12/14/2013 8:52:03 PM)
im in -
what are you expecting to gain??
(12/14/2013 9:12:01 PM)
I think a big reason why some people may feel that Shofar is cult-like is because guys don't talk about the weekend too much because they don't want to say who was there as they took an oath of confidentiality.

Just as a therapist is legally bound to keep his patient's issues private, so too in the groups, every guy undertook to not speak about others' experience.

So for example, if I went to a farbraingin that was only shofar guys

(where by the way, guys open up and talk about REAL ISSUES instead of the modern version of farbraingin where everyone listens to someone talking...)

and someone asks me who was there, I won't say as it's not my place to say Yossi was there since maybe Yossi doesn't want people to know he went to shofar. Just as it would be a crime to say who goes to therapy.

So people might feel that the secrecy is cult-like. Which is understandable. It's ok to have that initial reaction.

Just understand where it's coming from and understand that the need for confidentiality and security is essential and necessary.
(12/14/2013 9:20:35 PM)
Save face
Based on all the pro post here. It looks like all of you who went are just trying to save face and are afraid of being wrong. If this is about becoming a better person shouldn't you be open to the fact that maybe you made a mistake?
(12/14/2013 9:21:35 PM)
It is abundantly clear that we are at an impasse here and thus, we need the guidance of Eli Federman.
(12/14/2013 9:23:17 PM)
This was the most bizarre conversation I have ever experienced
(12/14/2013 9:35:30 PM)
wasn't there
I wasn't there so I have no opinion. But, what's with all this obsession with whether every opinion of director is in line with chassidus? And if it's not? Are all AA coordinators in line with Chabad Hashkafah? No! I guess Lubavitcher alchaholics should stay away. And internet asifa? Chas vesholom for a Lubavitcher to attend. Besides for the fact that there isn't a lubavitcher on the planet that would need such an asifa, not all the organizers shitos are aligned with the Rebbe's... Or maybe not all problems in life have to be solved by a Lubavitcher, perhaps you can reach out to people not in the Tzach book for help? Maybe I'm crazy or a very shvach mekushar. I don't know.

Again, I wasn't there and don't know whether it's good, dangerous or a poshute rip-off.
(12/14/2013 9:54:10 PM)
(12/14/2013 10:36:37 PM)
the litmus test for a chossid
1. Ask your personal Rav, he has sayaata dshmaya to guide u in the direction that is right for u (such is our mesorah!)
2. Look at the outcome for those u bhashgacha pratis now went, if their experience was positive or negetive.

As the Rambam says: any endeavour approached with a sincere prayer and quest for truth will lead u to the answer (hashem wants for u)truth. Aka Shomer psaim H
(12/14/2013 11:19:33 PM)
To 144
Wouldn't the same apply for all the negative comments? I.e. They could all be the same person!
(12/14/2013 11:22:37 PM)
wow soo many comments!!
I'm Dan lekav zechus
Those pro, genuinely care for others who may gain much, if not scared off by the few but vocal nay sayers.

Those anti, genuinely are worried that this cannot be chuck full of authentic chabad practices (such as real idea of farbrengen) real achdus, real emphasis on hisbodedus, real emphasis on giving for the sake of duty and not from a place of selfish need for approval.
(12/14/2013 11:27:33 PM)
To # 60
You have got talent
(12/14/2013 11:33:23 PM)
123 is its own disproof
It claims that simcha programs participants to be pro...

He did not do a very good job, read 123 is proof
(12/14/2013 11:47:27 PM)
131 ty!! finally!!
This is the type of overview I as an outsider needed to read.
(12/14/2013 11:58:53 PM)
source please
I listened to the entire interview, and would like to ask the interviewer berry shwartz, who quotes the rebbe asking how can torah/Hashem expect every bar mitzvah boy to fulfill the entire torah if he's not obligated before bm? and that the rebbe supposedly answered that the torah doesn't expect that, on the contrary the torah takes this into account that obviously the bm boy will transgress and grow with time, as it is impossible. please provide a source for this!
the rebbe asked this a few times, and the answer which i saw in likutei sichos is that from this we can see that a child before bm is mechuyav to prepare as otherwise he will not know!
people go around saying things in the rebbe's name kelo hoyo, i'm not saying i learned every letter or sichah, but bH was zoche to learn and read hundreds and thousands of them and never saw or heard what this guy is quoting.
(12/15/2013 12:58:53 AM)
Better go to Landmark than Call of the Shofar
I have been to both landmark and call of the shofar, and in my experience, I would recommend Landmark 1000% over call of the shofar. First off, it's much more effective and professional. Secondly, it's not runned by one per it's who everyone is looking towards for "guidance" which automatically makes it less cultist. Thirdly, and most importantly, landmark has nothing to do with religion, and therefore is not in anyway an alternative to chassidus or Yiddish kite.
My experience of simcha is that he's a well meaning person, but he comes across like someone who has all the answers. And the people n the program look at him as a great sage. Which clearly he's not. Whereas in Landmark, its clear to any normal chassidishe person that they are there for coaching and not for spiritual guidance. But at call, it not clear, at all...
(12/15/2013 1:04:15 AM)
for chasidim, results is the ehven haboichen
Has this program increased or decreased your Ability for Avodas Hashem, Avodah im hazulas, Avoda im atzmo (tikun hamiddos)?

I know of only 2 cases where the outcome was negitive
1. The paricipant is still very selfish, closer minded and insecure.
2. Another friend who was part of my group was misteated by a staff member, (who had his own issues get in the way) that was unfortunate, and I have found that staff member o be in need of some humility and further work himself before he turns off more (otherwise sincere) participants!

The program itself needs to be open to corrective introspection!

Dont get stuck with a certain staff member just out of loyalty or seniority.

If this program is to last, it will have to be open to constantly growing and improving or (if need be) replacing some of its staff who have become too reckless or flipent with the humanity of alarticipants.

I hpen to know one participant who was nichnas bshalom but had a nasty flipant staff member (allow his personal issues to) interferer with a sincere participants proccess.

All who were in my group know of whom i speak. It is wrong and sad.
(12/15/2013 1:21:20 AM)
151 im not berry
I dont either know of a source from the rebbe

However, hirshil fried from bp has a makor, I believe from a posek that maturity today may take as late as 17 before lemaalah he/she will be punished for transgressions

Idk if that is relivant to the discussion
(12/15/2013 1:26:31 AM)
152 has a point
Simcha does not have all the answers!! Not even close!
It is true that his issues may have him pretend that he does!

That being said, I did still hold my noes and because I did I gained much mainly from the proccess and participants

Not soo much from simcha 's know it all ideas!

He really wasnt mechadesh any chidushim! He merely allowed us chasidim an oppertunity to have a real farbrengen and a real cheshbon hanfesh!

If not for some of his shtick, it would have taken 10 three day weekends to accomplish the same introspection and open camerodery (which chasidim of the past had at farbrengens amul)
(12/15/2013 1:34:23 AM)
re a reckless staff member
I have to agree! I did witness a insincere, somewhat arrogant staff member needlessely mistreat and disrespect an otherwise very decent and sincere participant!

Now that participant feels that the whole thing must be a waste, simcha should investigate...
(12/15/2013 1:41:24 AM)
This is a great Zechus!
In the world, Judaism is not understood and derided, within Judaism, Chassidism is not understood and derided. Within Chassidism, Chabad is not understood and derided and called a cult. All of this derision stems from lack of knowledge about what it's really about or just plain jealousy, intolerance, disrespect, etc. Now, Shofar is not being understood and is being derided. I am proud to be one of the torch bearers in yet another facet of truth.
(12/15/2013 2:04:35 AM)
Which Mashpim have gone?
Please write names of mashpim that have gone. I would like to discuss it with them, perhaps.
(12/15/2013 2:18:24 AM)
Call is a Cult - here is why
It is clear that the shofar is a cult like

1 long lectures set in a monologue setting
2 discussion outside of lectures with peers discouraged
3 bathroom breaks highly discouraged
4 calling people highly discouraged
5 an oath of secrecy "for the security of the group" is made
6 none of the ideologies are publicly offered by the organisors
7 people who are "skeptik" are coerced to leave in the beggining leaving only people that "want" to be there %100
8 there is an emphasis made at the end on "sharing" a.k.a "recruiting"
9 there is a large fee paid per person to join
10 there are advanced courses for further follow ups (more money)
11 tactics of promising "answers" which are not answered are used
12 tactics of promising "tools" which are not taught are used too.
13 people are "broken down by the leader" and told to make "a call" - those of you that were there know what i'm talking about , yes you may say you only did it if you wanted, but admit it, it's cult like)
14 though the schedule may "allow" it, practically NO-ONE, sleeps well 5-6hrs max
15 the list goes on and on and on.... it's really ridiculous

Seriously those that went are not being objective. this is a cult.
those that didn't go, your simply smart and have done good research

to those claiming "even if it is a cult, cults can be good - look at the outcome",
My answer to you is simple.
Cults are good, but only for the leaders. those that follow are simply subjective and blinded to the bad they are experiencing in their own lives, and putting on to others.
In general the "high" that is felt is strong enough to keep you "blinded" to the bad impact it has had on your life, for a few weeks or sometimes months. but then, there is the low. everyone knows about it. some then decide to go again - blaming themselves for not keeping it up enough. some just say "it changed me"..."but then i changed back".
everyone has the low. and all post shofar guys know it.
the question is why are you blinded? the answer is your self esteem is warped in shofar. ANYONE, who has read some good books on self esteem, and has been to shofar, if he is objective, will see that every idea expressed in shofar, is warped and tuins your self esteem. that with a healthy self esteem you don't need to "put yourself first" and "care about yourself first".
someone with a good self esteem doesn't need to be first, nor feels secondary be last. the way to help people with unhealthy self esteem isn't by ruining it further. it's by teaching them good self esteem in the first place.
Many of you have no clue what self esteem is, and therefore have no clue how warped your minds have been. i agree with the posters above, read some self esteem books.
i would reccomend some favorites of mine, but assume the people on this board prefer not to hear about chochmas chitzonim. a simple google search of the top ten should yeild you great results.

also #79 good stuff!!
(12/15/2013 2:55:30 AM)
A friend of mine went and it had such a negative influence on him. It took him a long time to recover. This is pure brainwash.
(12/15/2013 8:54:09 AM)
I was there, there were 3 other Shluchim in my group, most of who who went because they were encouraged to go by other Shluchim and Chabad Rabonim.

It was an amazing experience. It helps me to be a better Yid, Chossid, Shliach, Husband, Father, Fundraiser, Friend......

It is not a cult!

It is all based on Chassidus.

I highly recommend it for everyone, you have nothing to loose!!

Keep in mind that they do NO ADVERTISING it is all word of mouth. That says something about customer satisfaction.

Most of the people who are against this haven't gone!!
(12/15/2013 9:13:48 AM)
To 159
1 long lectures set in a monologue setting
A. Baloney.

2 discussion outside of lectures with peers discouraged

A. in the beginning, to keep you focused and inward bound

3 bathroom breaks highly discouraged
A. Baloney

4 calling people highly discouraged

A. Not true. Forbidden. The idea is to focus on yourself.

5 an oath of secrecy "for the security of the group" is made

A. Only about who was there. Hilchos Lashon hora 101

6 none of the ideologies are publicly offered by the organisors

A. Huh??

7 people who are "skeptik" are coerced to leave in the beggining leaving only people that "want" to be there %100

A. no one is coerced to leave. The point is made that no one is coerced to STAY

8 there is an emphasis made at the end on "sharing" a.k.a "recruiting"

A. Totally not true.

9 there is a large fee paid per person to join

A. Large and small is relative.

10 there are advanced courses for further follow ups (more money)

A. True.

11 tactics of promising "answers" which are not answered are used

A. Meaning?

12 tactics of promising "tools" which are not taught are used too.

A. For example?

13 people are "broken down by the leader" and told to make "a call" - those of you that were there know what i'm talking about , yes you may say you only did it if you wanted, but admit it, it's cult like)

A. I was there and dont know what you are referring to.

14 though the schedule may "allow" it, practically NO-ONE, sleeps well 5-6hrs max

A. cuz theyre busy talking to roommates.

15 the list goes on and on and on.... it's really ridiculous

A. Agree. your list is really ridiculous.

(12/15/2013 10:06:31 AM)
#134 & #159
#134. Good point. Did anyone speak with Shea Hecht first hand? Eveyone knows what the Rebbe said about going to experts.
#158. If what you say is correct. I'm not doubting you, I just haven't gone myself. Just based on the comments posted here it seems that what you say is correct. Then I totaly agree woth you!
(12/15/2013 10:14:14 AM)
accountability please...
So far I count three people who identified themselves and said they are open to discussing why shofer is overall a positive thing.

Conversely no one claiming it's a cult or that it's a waste of time has identified themselves.

Looks like the cultlike behavior is more on the detractors...
(12/15/2013 10:43:46 AM)
I found comment 159 to be the most informative
If you go somewhere where someone humiliates you and tears down your self-esteem and worth and then builds it back up, he, in essence, "re-designs" how you think about yourself and you become dependant on him for how you feel, and greatly appreciative that he "allows" you to be be seen in a positive light.

That sounds very dangerous. I would never hand over my mind or my sense of self-worth to someone else. Period. Its dangerous.

In my opinion, reading the comments pro and con, I strongly feel that this exercise of "tearing down" is extremely detrimental and is not corrected by the 'building back up", so that people become dependant on this man to how they view themselves.

To me, the effect seems very much like the Stockholm Syndrome, where people start to identify with their tormentors and kidnappers so much so, that they are willing to lay down their life for them.

I find it highly, highly offensive, to see people defend this program as not being a cult, by pointing that people considered the Rebbe....and I will not finish this line. That a Chabad chassid can even put the two in the same sentence proves to me, more than anything else that was written in these comments, that this program strips the attendees of their healthy perspective.

Parents: Hug your children, affirm their natural talents, criticize intelligently and in a balanced way. Be a good role model. That there are so many who seek this highly questionable therapy speaks to a lack of a centered childhood. Don't let you child grow up and be vulnerable to people who make money on other's issues.

Hashem Yerachem.
(12/15/2013 11:06:14 AM)
I'm a Baal tshuvah and shliach and I went to shofar
With my pre-frum experience and being a Buddhist and a person involved with eastern spirituality, I found it shocking and horrible that so many ideas and exercises from shofar are directly from eastern religions and spirituality which stems from klipah and Avoda Zarah R"l. Shofar is clearly inspired by non pure sources the man behind shofar works for an organization which purifies people with a fusion of eastern spirituality and western psychology. The organization is called emclear you can search them on google. The man behind shofar is actually an official counselor of this avoda Zara based program he does the branch in Maryland. Search on google frischling emclear Maryland and you'll see it as first link for yourself. It's the most darkest Golus that mashpiyim, mechanchim, shluchim and chassidishe yud den are caught up in klipa and sitrah achara and avoda zara. Oy meh hoyo lonu!!! Ad mosay!!!
(12/15/2013 11:10:37 AM)
This is far from perfect!
As an alum of cots, I can speak from my personal experience

It was essentially the first ever AUTHENTIC chasidishe farbrengen experience I've ever had!
(+some time on thorough cheshbin hanefesh)

As for the cultish shtick, non of it violated Halacha!

Vus a chasidisheh farbrengen ken oiftun...
This is it!!!!
(12/15/2013 11:30:20 AM)
Take the good
Chasidim are taught to sift and extract the good from any situation (as long as it's not against Halacha)

I have found plenty of good and zero aspects against Halacha!

Granted some of techniques are very unusual, and even disturbing, so what! I wanted my monies worth so I went along with it!
I'm glad I did!
(12/15/2013 11:34:17 AM)
I admit
It is abit eckeledik to sit through simcha's know it all persona.

The program will work just as well if you only participate with the actual group activities and exersizes, minus simcha's imrei beten.
(12/15/2013 11:38:10 AM)
the magic is in the authentic farbrengen NOT in the few speeches
Most of what is soo powerful is the fact that ppl (via the techniques used) open up, share and express their real thaughts feelings and fears! And they do so in an atmosphare of genuine brotherly love and acceptance devoid of judgemnt or fear of mockery
(12/15/2013 11:43:20 AM)
truh is truth
The Rebbe's letter makes it clear how creating a Kosher alternative is ideal! So long as it does not include any of the actual avodah zarah

To whoever claims that it includes any avodah zarah
1. Meditation exists first in kedusha then in leumas zeh
2. The ice breaking techniques of singing, dancing, with closed eyes... that has been used by chasidim of the past with authentic farbrengens to get everyone loosened up and the egos abit suspended.
3. Walking in the woods, aka Going into nature (hisbodedus) a practice many chasidim did to set their mind ready for deep contemplation of Truth-Getlishchkeit and cheshbin hanefesh
(12/15/2013 12:06:29 PM)
just bec eastern spirituality borrows relaxation/meditation techniques from Mekubalim doesnt make it klipa
Hisbodedus, hisbonenus techniqes are part of jewish spirituality and practice and are not to be construed as necissarily only usable for Tuma cha"v
(12/15/2013 12:10:49 PM)
berry schwartz
The sicha I referenced is in likkutei sichos chelek 35 pages 65 to 69. Duk vetimtza nachas.

The rebbes Torah is vast and complex. It's not accurate to think you know it all even after decades of learning it. That's our Rebbe so carry that around with pride.

(12/15/2013 12:14:47 PM)
moshiach does not become treif just bec cristians hi-jacked the concept in a avoda zara way
Techniques are just that, techniques!

Tools, klipas Nogah, neutral tools, if imployed for the good ten its elevated to kedusha, if used for the worship of avoda zara Budhism etc then its klipa
(12/15/2013 12:15:34 PM)
The Tip-Off for me is this:
At the end of the interview, The Call of the Shofar director, claims he doesn't really know how people register???????????????????????????

Claims, he doesnt know about pini whomever e-mail address?????????

Wow, is that man's dishonesty transparent$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Listen, a Jew has to make a living. Free publicity on COL doesn't hurt....
(12/15/2013 12:24:45 PM)
if u got hurt by a staff member
Then I do sympathize for u!
U did not get ur monies worth, go get a refund! Better yet, go to another weekend and ask that he (that arogant) staff member not be in ur group.

Please dont just anonymousely post a dozen comments claiminh its all bad.
(12/15/2013 12:26:28 PM)
the Rebbe's approach
Since this is a forum for chabadniks,
Please frame future comments and opinions from a frame work of sources, Halacha, Igros, Sichos etc

Anyone can claim anything here, for the sake of those who wish to discover clarity from a Torah perspective, please backup any claim with concrete Torah source.

Thank you!

(Especially claims such as, such n such practice is avodah zara)
(12/15/2013 12:31:57 PM)
Desperately Thirsty people will drink dirty water.
Toras Chassiduss Chabad = Source of pure water.

Shofar = Not a source of pure water.

psychology is psychology, but torah is like water.

Advisory: Drink Clean Water!

(12/15/2013 12:34:52 PM)
Is Simcha Frischling a Rabbi or a Psychologists?
Rabbis should not give advice as if they were psychologists.
Psychologists should not give advice as if they were Rabbis.

if You need Psycho therapy go to a Psychologists.
if You need chassiduss go to a Rav Mashpia.
(12/15/2013 12:37:40 PM)
not a frishlig fan,
U can attack frishlig's integrity, that does not negate the value herein of the chasidisheh farbrengem component which (to me its obviouse) is where the power and effectiveness results from,

Even if he's insicere and just for the money, the techniques he uses still work to get the group to the point where they are all being REAL with eachother, THAT is the power of that I believe produces such profound benefit for soo many.
(12/15/2013 12:38:49 PM)
What is Stockholm Syndrome?
From Wikipedia

...Stockholm syndrome can be seen as a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario, but which describes strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses,.... abuses, or intimidates the other. One commonly used hypothesis to explain the effect of Stockholm syndrome is based on Freudian theory. It suggests that the bonding is the individuals response to trauma in becoming a victim. Identifying with the aggressor is one way that the ego defends itself. When a victim believes the same values as the aggressor, they cease to be a threat.

Again: Identifying with the aggressor is one way that the ego defends itself

(12/15/2013 12:40:57 PM)
2 basic attacks
1. Its avodah zara
2. Its run by a manipulator who is taking advantage of ppl

Re 1. Let a Rav/Expert in (a"z and halacha) pasken that,
Re 2. Who cares what his motives are!! Does the system (aka authentic chasidisheh farby) work?
(12/15/2013 12:42:43 PM)
frishlig is not the draw! (he wasnt even at all recent weekends)


being real, being there for eachother, forcing eachother to take responsibility for our selves and our circlenof influence
(12/15/2013 1:01:02 PM)
Shifty eyes and Creepy Feeling
What's with all the shifty eyes of this guy? Why does he give off such, a creepy, smug, know-it-all feeling? Why would reasonable people subject themselves to this opportunist? How much CA$H does he walk away with at the end of each session? Why does he feign ignorance about how to register? Really? And finally, finally, what is in the Crown Heights water that makes so many people gullible to very questionable rehabilitative tactics?
This man is not a rabbi and not a trained psychologist? Who is he? Is his "Call of the Shofar" a personal therapy for a messed up childhood and a financial therapy for not having a job?
Ask yourselves these questions.

People! Put on your thinking caps!
(12/15/2013 1:10:17 PM)
I wont defend the staff
I do defend what is clearly good within the program = ie a real chasidisheh farbrengen the way it was always meant to be.
(12/15/2013 1:22:32 PM)
Hakol kol yakov
seems like eastern non- torah philosophy delivered in chassidus lingo
(12/15/2013 1:35:48 PM)
vos a chasidisheh farbrengen ken oiftun
There is a reason why this concept resenates soo well Davka with lubavichers

Bec we always longed to experience a real farbrengen, like the ones described in likutei diburim etc etc

Finally when someone designs a weekend in a way that facilitates all the key elements present in an autentic chasidisheh farbrengen, its no wonder that it has such a pull and soo much positive power for soo many.

Our community needs more not less of this...

It can go a long way towards directly and indirectly solving many of the crisis which have resulted from a lack of chasidus implimented
(12/15/2013 1:59:02 PM)
To Berry, #173
You're seriously misreading the sicha. It's only a theoretical discussion about mitzvas chinuch m'd'oraisa, and only from the child's perspective! This is serious m'galeh panim ba'torah shelo ka'halacha. Do you really think a bachur ever came to the Rebbe for a tikkun and the Rebbe said, 'nah, it's fine, you were in your post-bar-mitzvah sinful grace period'?!
(12/15/2013 2:09:00 PM)
eastern ppl drink water, should we now stop??
Water is Nogah aka nuetral

What technique used on this weekend which is necissarily of the domain of Avoda zara?

Relaxation breathing?
Nature walking?
Sharring with a group confidential fears? Struggles? Past trauma?

If you want to claim Abold claim such as A"Z u be ready to back it up with specifics, otherwise your attacks look like insecurity on your part.
(12/15/2013 2:09:44 PM)
the lesson to take from this is
Chasidus authentically applied works!

It took this unsuspecting messager to slip passed our sinical deffensive mechanisms when a regular mashpia verbalizes instructions from the book

Here we tasted the real thing bec we did not realize where he was going with it, this allowed us to have the REAL experience of what a real chasidisheh farby was always intended to be
(12/15/2013 2:15:39 PM)
I'm "IN" !?
your in a what?
(12/15/2013 2:19:16 PM)
take the long chabad road.
Go farbreg: with a mashpia that works on himself.

learn chassidus regulary! and understand it.

Share and discuss it with others.

daven beavoidah.
(12/15/2013 2:23:12 PM)
the true isparation of "Shofar"
is clearly not jewish yiddishkeit.

they only use torah lingo as a tactic.

(12/15/2013 2:29:49 PM)
the whole vibe is strange.
something here stinks.
(12/15/2013 2:32:19 PM)
192 is right
Its not an either or


(12/15/2013 2:38:15 PM)
Call it what it is.
"ECP geared for frum Jewish men"
not "Shofar" based on chassidus kabbala bla bla's Not!

it is:
Emotional Clearing Process (ECP):
Based on An EAST/WEST inner-directed method.

Don't make like its chassiduss.
Gime a break!
(12/15/2013 2:59:04 PM)
COL Headline is perfect

Man Behind "Call of the Shofar"

Yes "Man" not G-D.
(12/15/2013 3:01:06 PM)
shofar only works bec it makes really farby
(12/15/2013 3:24:45 PM)
its a mix
Tae the good
(12/15/2013 3:30:11 PM)
results is the best test
Thats what the Rebbe taught
(12/15/2013 3:31:34 PM)
to 134 and 163
someone asked shea hecht and he said it fits all the characteristics of a cult. he did not say that it is neccecarily wrong to go but it is a cult.
(12/15/2013 3:54:24 PM)
Please think before you comment!
There are so many yiden/ lubavitchers that are really hurting. whether it be emotionally, in their marriage, or in any other way. This may be the right method for them to alleviate their pain and start living a happier more fulfilling life...

Please do not comment negatively just for the fun of it. Do you want your comment to be the one responsible for stopping a fellow yid in pain from reaching out for help?!?!
(12/15/2013 4:05:57 PM)
So is it chasidus?
Nichnas bsholom Yaitzai bsholom

For those who are seeking to grow in Torah and Darchei hachasidus, to them this is clearly chasidus or at least hechsher mitzvah

To those who came in just for themselves... To them they left with more of themselves Vidal

For most at least in my group of forty (including kids off the derech) it sure seemed to help many grow less resentful and thereby more open to avodas H
(12/15/2013 4:17:40 PM)
This comment is only intended to those who espouse to care about Torah, chasidus and the Rebbe's way
1. at the end of the day, as chossid, if you want to make the right decision (in any situation) u do not take a pol on collive, rather you present ALL concerns pros and cons (to the best of your ability) to your "Aseh Lecha Rav" (yedid mavin), according to the Rebbe, this process Davka via this procces can one get the right answer for him, (milmaalah, as though the Rebbe himself gave his brocha and haskama).
2. About the igros where the Rebbe clearly encourages the development of a Kosher retreat for those who can benefit or would otherwise go elsewhere, Only a Rav, Mavin can examine a particular retreat and have sayaata dshmaya to determine if it is "oisgehalten" or seems to violate the intent of the Rebbe's igros
3. There's no question that many aspects of this weekend mimic the traditional concept of a Chasidisher farbrengen, would it be nicer that our own mosid produce a program which allows chasidus to reconnect to each other as was common by chasidim horishoinim? Of course!

It seems that instead of bashing this imperfect attempt, we need to see what's right about it and try (as the Rebbe's letter instructs) modify and improve it, to where it keeps getting closer and even closer to the ideal.
(12/15/2013 4:36:09 PM)
Berry Schwartz
Not only do I think that the Rebbe did that many times, in fact, it occurred with my father!
(12/15/2013 4:49:35 PM)
If you'd really like to talk to someone who went

It is quite obvious why many people who went, whether Rabonim, Shluchim, Mashpiim, teachers, etc., are not comfortable with posting their name on this spewing and deriding forum. I don't think anyone is looking for extra harassment and plain ole loshon Hara.

If you'd really like to talk to someone (Mashpia, Rov Shliach, etc. )who went, I highly suggest you contact and ask to be put in touch with someone in our community who is willing to talk about their experience. I am sure that there are many who are. Make an informed conclusion!
(12/15/2013 5:14:22 PM)
204 is correct approach
(12/15/2013 5:16:13 PM)
Please think before you comment!
There are so many yiden/ lubavitchers that are really hurting. whether it be emotionally, in their marriage, or in any other way. This may be the right method for them to alleviate their pain and start living a happier more fulfilling life...

Please do not comment negatively just for the fun of it. Do you want your comment to be the one responsible for stopping a fellow yid in pain from reaching out for help?!?!
(12/15/2013 5:19:23 PM)
It's not just for troubled ppl
Most participants are average healthy normal ppl who want to live a more fuller life as husbands, fathers yidden chasidim ovdei Hashem etc
(12/15/2013 5:28:45 PM)
Keep this in mind,,,
Simcha rocks!

It started at $500 a weekend
Moved on to $600 a weekend
Is currently at $750 a weekend
Rumor has it - it already did or will move up to $800

The women's weekend is $1000

There is also "follow up" calls for a fee which is "highly recommended"

There is also an "advanced weekend"

But of course its "only ONE weekend to change your life".

Only one...

Simcha is the best!

(12/15/2013 6:16:44 PM)
To Berry, #205
The Rebbe told your father 'it's as if your sins never happened, because you didn't have enough time from the day you turned 13 to figure out all the things which are forbidden, so just totally forget about it, and feel no need to rectify it in any way', and your father had a conventional frum chinuch (and didn't suffer from some unhealthy form of anxiety)? If yes, please specify what sort of transgression your father was reporting, or at least the equivalent; blanket statements really won't do.
(12/15/2013 6:29:33 PM)
to 210
whats wrong with making money?
(12/15/2013 6:41:52 PM)
BUT why does it cost 700$ ?
(12/15/2013 6:46:28 PM)
to sum up this thread
if you want to look into it, get in touch with alumni and someone via

if you are just a closed-minded, ignorant, afraid of the unknown bystander, post negative comments to assuage your guilt for not looking into something that may stretch your comfort zone

if your are someone who went and did not accomplish, you only have yourself to blame. just as those who accomplished can take credit for their hard work.

seriously people. get a life!
(12/15/2013 7:13:04 PM)
voice of reason
A sensible approach

With $700 per head x 40 = sounds like a good buisness modle

as for the product itself, seem obviouse that it does offer value to 497 of the 500 Lubavichers who already attended

Is it loony or cultish definitly has that vibe, is that a bad thing? To most it seems to be a worthwile price to pay for the experience!

Are the truisms similar to budhism? In some ways yes! ...kabala? In some ways yes! ...chasidus? In many ways yes!

How is that possible?

The frierdikeh rebbe said it best,
All man made ISMs are a mixture of good and bad, advantages and disadvantages, truth and shtusim,

Only judaism (which is not man made) is pure good, truth and contains All the advanteges present in the other (man made) ISMs

So the fact that, there is overlap between chasidus and elements from other systems is to be expected,
Otherwise those systems would never have any shelf life at all if not for the traces of truth sprinkled within them (to keep themin buisness),

The question here is , does this system represent more truth than shtus or more shtus than truth?

The answer may be depend allot on who is attending, with what mindset? What frame of refference as your filter?

To one who is saturated with chasidus, maamorim and sichos, this will only compliment and further his avodas HASHEM

To one who's mindset is in the gutter, RL, any program even seagate or mayaanot may not be helpful.

Kavana lshmah has everything to do with the outcome,
Those who came in ready to become better husbands and fathers, most definitly got that benefit etc etc

It has allot to do, where u wanto go...
(12/15/2013 7:14:51 PM)
I know people who have greatly benefited from the program, for them the fee was well worth it, even a bargain.

People should not judge by others comments. Investigate this for yourself. If it helps people lead healthier, more balanced more productive lives, then all the power to the program; people should be encouraged to go, not discouraged.

My only beef with the program is the aspect of 'breaking down' the person. I can't understand how this could be beneficial to anyone, let alone someone who already struggles with one thing or another.

We do need chabad retreats, maybe this whole hoopla is a wake up call to a need that is not being filled in the community.

(12/15/2013 7:37:33 PM)
I love it so much... now get all your friends to go to COTS
The underlying rulenof COTS is "go spread our light and get me new sucker clients.... To go spread the light so that they can influence the 3rd group in this pyramid scheme"
If people went and kept their moths shut about not would be best. But no.... When you sign up you are commiting to bring another few people into the cots fold. Remember all those phone company schemes that didn't pay for advertising... All they did was got bunch of suckers to pay them few hundred dollars to get a kit to spread the light? That's what this cots is. A scheme.whoever went there and is now a better mechanech.... Just be quite... I'm sick and tired of every second and third person I meet pushing me to join this cult.
I'm a frum lubavitcher (even though I'm not a mechanech) and I will never turn away from our frumkeit and chassidishkeit... So just a stop harrasing about this avoidah zoroh... Just stop it.... You went, great. Now stop preaching your shtus to everyone.
I actually met a couple who went for counseling to a christian help group retreat and it helped they're !marriage... They even had kosher food for them.... That doesn't make it less avoidah zoroh.
Good night to y'all and let's move to the next topic.
Please, no more call of shofar, and no more angry kids accusing the whole world of abuse.... Everyone move on in Life. And if you need help. Please please please go get professional help. And don't blame all the world problems and especially dont blame your probelms on everyone else.
To finish off: don't be a schnitzel... Be a man.
(12/15/2013 9:02:24 PM)
Chabad has the answers
Chabad has the answers but there must be volunteers to put it foreward. I believe the answer is an annual Kinus Anash to take place in a hotel that can accommodate 1,000-2,000 people. A weekend of immersive farbrengens, workshops etc. Why an annual Nshei convention and nothing for the men? I acknowledge it will cost a fortune but we need a yungerman with vision to undertake this. It can be partially fundraised by our own Anash gvirim and partly covered by charging a fee for attendees. Chassidim are STARVING to belong. So far that need goes unanswered.
(12/15/2013 9:03:23 PM)
Go to a professional psychologist
The cost for 1 weekend at shofar can get you 5 sessions with a reputable psychologist. If you are struggling with issues, please, please seek professional help with a psychologist who is licensed and trained for many years to help you.

The Call of the Shofar's philosophy can be found in any basic introductory psychology textbook. Please don't waste your money on some guru who is repackaging Psychology 101.

Use your brain, don't fall for the hype.
(12/15/2013 9:33:26 PM)
hteres a need for an IN HOUSE home grown, all chabad alternative
as the saying goes,
Az gut iz gut, iz besser nisht besser??

Lets do this, and lets do this right!

Myusad Beharerei Koidesh!
(12/15/2013 9:39:16 PM)
to 217
man, you are angry :-)
does it perhaps look a bit odd that youre reacting this way?
you have some serious issues to work out...
(12/15/2013 9:44:56 PM)
the main draw
1. Brotherhood and belonging, by a strong and loyal bond, reminiscent of the chasidim of yesteryear

2. Deep and intense introspection and self awareness, reminiscent of the Ch.H"N of chasidim of yesteryear

3. Self improvement, Goals to work towards, in the areas of Middos, Family duties, Avoda im hazulas etc


I hope that the right people come together to do this right, since theres obviousely a great need and benefit for our (poen-minded) community members.

just imagine how the Tznius (self esteem) issues will be solved, the Substance abuse (emotional neglect) issues will be solved, Shiduch crises, (Bochurim and girls will be far more focused, goal oriented, and accomplished, not as confused or immersed in the influences of Hollywood and its hollow urealistic lies
(12/15/2013 9:53:46 PM)
wheres the yarmulka??
Speaking such deep concepts you wonder where's the Yorei Malka??
(12/15/2013 10:10:32 PM)
If real chasidus was understood and practiced, there would be no need or appeal to this program facilitated by fremdeh
fpr now, till something better comes along, (halevai!) this is worth every cent, and every cultish stigma and shtick

those who have any doubt, talk to your mashpia!
(12/15/2013 10:37:41 PM)
Berry Schwartz
Mr #211, I don't like dealing with faceless nameless people. Tell me who you are and we can continue this conversation.

In general, it's quite shocking the level of anonymity going on here.
(12/15/2013 11:10:08 PM)
ive read every 224 comments!!!
Allow me to sum it up!

Its amazing! Its worth every penny!

==Its shtus! its a cult! its A"Z!! oy meh hoyu lanu!
its sanctioned by many chaisidm, mashpiyim, shluchim! no rabbonim came out against it!

==Its all about making money! its not really helpful he just brainwashes u that it is
Its helped me be a better everything in my life!!! thats the bottom line litmus test! it must be mitzad hakdusha!

==Its very similar to eastern spiritualism, its A"Z!
Its using neutral tools, also found in other systems.

==Its a dangerous cult
your just bitter, theres nothing against halacha, idc if its shtick is cultish i care about the outcome!

==All the answers are already in chasidus! why go to outsiders?!
Davka an outsider, had enough unusual shtick to get us to really drop our defenses and issues, which typically constipate a REAL farbrengen from ever happening these days

==Its only for messed up people who need to belong!
Actually, its for all normal people, All people need the benefit of a Authentic circle of carring friends to team up 2 Yetzer Tovs VS 1 YH...

==Its a Scam, Ponzi scheme, Pyramid, Telemarketing kit, Rip off, Business taking advantage of dim witted suckers.
I dont care how much money he makes or what his motives are, Bottom-line it was worth every penny! It allowed me to be a better husband, father, chossid! From a place of choice not insecurity!
==Chabad should make a proper one!
Agreed! Until then, lets try to improve this one and get as many people who can to benefit from the good it has to offer, the good within it is mostly forgotten chasidishe ideals which this huy helps us respark.

==I think its a dangerous cult, no one should go!
Make such decisions with the process the Rebbe says delivers sayaata dshmaya, Aseh Lecha Rav

Good conclusion!

-Fan of agbag
(12/15/2013 11:40:29 PM)
Go u
Go uncle berry
(12/15/2013 11:41:19 PM)
To Berry, #225
Because the internet.
(12/15/2013 11:44:14 PM)
Shimon Liberow
Hi to all. Some people know me other people don't! But let me tell u all: I just got back from a super duper weekend with other brave & courageous men. It was was a most unbelievable humbling experience. I had an awesome first time staffing and participating in the numerous workshops. BH It's NOT my first time going and hopefully not my last. It's a Family! It's a community! Its the real deal! I wish and yearn that's others take a grip in their lifes & takepart in it. Do it for ur YOURSELF! Do it for ur WIFE! Do it for ur KIDS! It's about taking ownership and taking responsibly in life. I highly encourage all men ( and in fact also women) to give the gift to urself! It's not an easy decision!!! But in life we sometimes need to go out of our "cozy" familiar space "Daled Amos" and leave behind our habits/baggage we been Schlepping around with us. I personally know People who's life were altered, whose marriages were saved, whose self esteem/self image were strengthen because of their attendance at the workshop.
Only good news and Hatzlocho to u and all ur family.
Thank you for letting me share!

Shimon Liberow
(12/16/2013 12:39:46 AM)
for those participants who seem (yes seem at first glance) to have taken a step down in yiddishkeit or chasidishkeit since shofar
as Berry explains it very well, 30:00 min in, they have not really changed who they were, they have merely, revealed to everyone that they have no personal appreciation for the Rebbe's horaos, they were all along ignorant or apathetic towards these horaos, and shofar allowed them to become honest and aware of their inner (wrong/unhealthy) motives,

That awareness, is step one to acknowledging that there is a problem, and now with that clarity, if he wishes to grow and give nachas to the Rebbe, and Hashem, he can now choose to approach his mashpia and discuss his current apathy or ignorance of why is it soo important and beneficial for a chossid to dress distinctly like his Rebbe?

all this REAL growth, would hardly be possible, without his becoming sensitized to his REAL perverse (non leshmah) motives.
(12/16/2013 1:16:50 AM)
Theres nothing "Wellbeing" about Dropping a good minhag, Just bec (u realized that) you've been doing it with the wrong motive/perverse motive, such as peer preasure
There is nothing healthy (of well-being) or jewish about encouraging someone to drop a good minhag, a good practice, (ie Staying up Lel Shavuos, or Dressing the way the Rebbe asked to)
just bec his past motivation was not to do the right thing but was rather out of peer pressure.
Just bec his "Motive was perverse and unhealthy" does not maen its "Heathy" to drop a deriable practice!

isent the idea of well being, to YES do the right thing, however to do so from a PRINCIPLED (ie bec its the right thing to do) not bec your in the mood, or peer pressured into it.

if ur motives until today were for the wrong reason, (being healthy) doesnt require you to stop the right practice! only STOP the wrong motive! am i missing something?

i sure hop the mashpiyim supporting wellbeing, dont agree with those who interperet wellbeing to mean, you only do the right thing when and if you feel like it,

to me True well-being is Davka TO DO! what has to be done, even (especially) if your moods, temptations etc are not in the mood.

to me "well-being" represents, first and formost, being mature, and not driven by moods, or peer pressure!
rather, to be driven by your duties, and awareness of what Hashem requires of you!

(if theres any confusion as to what Hashem requires, please dont consult your biased feelings, no no no! consult Halacha and your personal mashpia who knows your level of minhag)
(12/16/2013 1:41:47 AM)
Only HALF of wellbeing is = to be free of peer pressure (as ur motive for mitzvos)
The Other HALF of welbeing is = to do things for the RIGHT reasons, ie for H' for whats needed of me by those who depend on me, (My children etc etc)
(12/16/2013 1:57:32 AM)
organised fabrengens
I think it would be a fantastic idea to organise block fabrengens and to ask for volunteers to lead the fabrengens ... not to darshan away, but to lead in a way of allowing others to open up and share in a true Chassidic brotherly fashion. And guess what? It would be free!!!
(12/16/2013 2:44:34 AM)
So What
The fact that something works is NOT PROOF AT ALL that its okay al pi Chassidus etc. Many cults do things that work and seem to help people so PLEASE!
(12/16/2013 3:54:47 AM)
Why is he so nervous if he is teaching emotianal welllbeing!
(12/16/2013 3:56:51 AM)
A participant and staff member
For all those chiding the cost: the location is not free, the food is also not, there are facilitators to pay, handouts and other miscellaneous costs too.

I'd suggest to everyone to ask your own Rav/Mashpia (if you don't have one, get one. The Rebbe was very vocal in this) whether to attend or not. No one is being forced or coerced in going.

There are and will always be (at least) 2 sides in every situation, one must not judge based on one side alone (either side). Objectivity is key in understanding the approach of Shofar, mainly due to our own personal "baggage" we carry around.

Saying Chabad has all the answers, maybe true, but most of us have serious blockages in finding and implementing them. This program was not created to replace anything (in fact Simcha, or the other facilitators, it's not just Simcha, makes very clear at the beginning that he does not have all the answers, and that this program is but a mere (but powerful) catalyst), in fact, one is encouraged to continue (or start) therapy as needed...

Every aspect of this program has been endorsed by very respectable Rabbonim. Halacha is followed throughout.
As in anything in life, the unknown can be quite a frightening journey, yet it often holds many pleasant surprises. The best method of finding out some of these, is asking close friends whom have been, privately.
By definition, this program is very much a cult, but who wouldn't want to be "devoted" to and believe in their well-being? This program is designed to steer one into a better state of well-being. Our concept of well-being, is by and large non-existence. But there is no (different) "religion" being espoused, at all. Nor should you think it is of some fanatical or fringe group. While this makes for great headlines, it is but mere hyperbole and sensational.

I've been both as a participant and a staff member. I have also some knowledge about how this program is run from a logistical, and very hands-on perspective.
(12/16/2013 4:03:51 AM)
Where there is smoke, there is fire...
I had heard of the call of the shofar before, but really as people on this board have pointed out didn't have much information about it at all..
it was a few close friends that had went.
After reading this board, and seeing the arguments all i can say is something stinks about this.
You don't have to be a genious to know that where there is smoke there is fire.
glad this interview was done, and this program was put on the autopsy table for all of COLLIVE to disect.
I for one have smell something very very fishy here.
still wondering why there is simply so little information available about "COTS".
(12/16/2013 4:05:05 AM)
My positive experience with Shofar
I went to shofar during Iyar of last year.

I have had several beautiful improvements since then. Many of which my friend and family (and myself) are very aware of and appreciate.

One example:

I spent between 30 min. to 2 hrs almost every day on "recreational" internet (col, vin, etc.) even though I have other priorities in my life (family time, shiurim etc). I was somewhat "addicted" to my internet fix.

I spend maybe 1 hour a week on "recreational" internet. And not out of need/compulsion as in the past. I'm always aware that like every avoida I may relapse but I know that that is why Hashem created us - to work and create a dira batachtonim davka in my struggles.

Best of all:
I feel like I'm on a higher plane of operating. I don't need to use my kabolas oyl muscles for many issues that I was challenged with previously. I'm dealing with a much higher level of avoida which leaves me with better places to use my kabolas oyl.

P.S. I spent $650 on shofar and it was from the best $650 I've ever spent. (the best $ spent was my wife's wedding ring - if you're reading this, you know who you are).
(12/16/2013 8:36:30 AM)
Talk to me in person
Dear shofar ppl and dearest nay-sayer ppl,

I love you all regardless of your opinion.

From fine, ehrliche normal people who went, I found the following unofficial results*:

5% didn't find the workshop helpful because they are b"h already living from a very healthy place and don't really struggle with many common issues e.g. social, personal, true relationship with Hashem (they -for the most part- really appreciate doing torah/mitzvos not primarily out of fear/guilt (like me before shofar)).

90% found it transforming in a positive way. (of which 50% will commit to practice this in their lives and continue to reap the benefits and 50% will remain with the one-time-experience which may fade with time).

5% had a bad experience due to the fact that their specific issues/history (albeit moderate - and not necessarily that they are "completely messed-up") interfered directly with the self-introspection/openness aspect of this workshop.

So if a program can make a huge positive long-term change in 45% of anash - it gets my personal approval.

I may be biased though since I find myself in the lucky 45% who are working on maintaining the skills and am really loving life much more than before (even the inevitable "rainy" days are not as dark and rainy anymore).

I will not sign my name primarily because I don't want to open myself up to answering to every nay-sayer out there but you can speak to me one on one - I go to your shul, I live doen the block from you. I am the hundreds of happy shofar alumni across the world.

*These numbers don't reflect the pole numbers on this COL article which includes people who haven't participated or better yet: 2-3 people can write 300 comments! all you need is one pro and one naysayer.
(12/16/2013 10:00:21 AM)
Inside know
Its a business its all about the money......and he uses cult like tactics for recruiting and promothion
(12/16/2013 10:11:46 AM)
to 239
No. In yiddishkiet its not only the results that matter. Was marginally involved in de-programming and can tell you that the cults gave some of these people self esteem! Helped them function better...Not everything that helps ppl in life is kosher or healthy...
(12/16/2013 10:25:36 AM)
to #240
Yeah man! Say it again, and again. No need for new insight since your previous comment(s). Just say it over again. It works like a fresh comment;-)
(12/16/2013 10:34:02 AM)
Response to #219
You are missing something important. You are talking about "talk therapy" which has tremendous value. Call of the Shofar is an EXPERIENCAL workshop. That is altogether different. They both play powerful roles.

I have been to both:)
(12/16/2013 12:42:30 PM)
Response to #220
For decades now, the frum community has bemoaned "if only we can get all of the services, therapy, workshops etc. that are 'out there', filtered through frum people with Rabbinic input so that we too can benefit from them all in a Torah/Chassidisher way.

Well, here you have it. Call of the Shofar is about the principles in Torah to live a life of empowerment, full potential, and happiness. It is facilitated by frum people, in a kosher, shomer shabbos environment and even has endorsements from Rabbonim such as Reb Michel Twerski and more.

What else do we need? How much closer to the "system" does it need to be inorder for us to accept it?

Or will we never accept anything unless it has the fingerprints of the system on it..........

Sad. Sad. Sad. We only say we want a change but when it comes down to it we are to addicted to our own ways to actually accept change.
(12/16/2013 12:51:16 PM)
Who is the cult!!!
Look at how many people are spewing resentment, hate, and bitterness - while they are telling you that the solutions to your problems are in Chasidus!!!
So who is the cult? These people have been brainwashed into believing they are nothing. So, naturally, the Call of the Shofar, a program meant to empower and uplift, must be the devil.
They tell you learn Chasidus, Daven, Farbreng, read 39 volumes of Likutei Shichos, read all of Igros Kodesh and CERTAINLY by the time you're done - youll be happier.
UM... How do they know? Have they been through all of that? NO! but they are brainwashed that they are nothing and their pain and suffering is because they are not good chasidim and not good jews. They have been told all of their life that all they are are "grobb yungen"...
Stay away from such CULTISHLY destructive "CHASSIDISHKEIT".
(12/16/2013 1:05:47 PM)
As long as it does not violate Halacha
And has a positive outcome for many, it satisfies the Chabad litmus test
(12/16/2013 1:11:46 PM)
No one is perfect everyone needs emotional tools
Shofar is the answer to this emotional galus. Everyone has a nefesh habehamis which we try to control. Shofar merely equips you to react in a healthy way from a place of well being. Instead of people walking around feeling inhibited with no feelings of self worth, now they walk around feeling more open to people and less defensive.

I don't understand why people are so opposed to that. Is it because of jealousy?
(12/16/2013 2:08:05 PM)
phony chasidishkeit is the ONLY type that knocks something which helps many (and is not against halacha)
the nay sayers true colors are revealed
(12/16/2013 2:12:05 PM)
From all the comments I summarize:
1 ppl. Need authentic Farbrengens...there r some!! For free!!! Talk to a Mashpia to find them
2. I and others found this "Simch" creepy
3. The mere fact that ppl r encouraging me and everyone else to go seems like there's some odd recruitment going on. While we can all use personal growth not everyone has major issues that need help. Please understand that while it did u good, I am happy working through learning Chassidus for personal growth. I am BH a good spouse, parent and friend!

Sad to c Lubavitch has so many issues...we do need to improve our services but if u need a therapist, psychologist please get one...reserve the retreat-like settings for proven recognized "Madhpiim" they are out there...there's not many but there only need to be a few select experienced ones.

PLEASE STOP encouraging "everyone to go"...smells fishy and some of us AND our families are actually functioning well AND prospering! If someone confides in u that they have issues u can recommend it or conventional therapy which doesn't smell.
(12/16/2013 3:52:23 PM)
c'mon guys
There's nothing wrong with the program. Be open-minded and try it out. you just might become a happier and healthier person.
(12/16/2013 4:42:30 PM)
why not?
This past weekend I attended a Call of the Shofar, Seasons of Transformation workshop, The program was a 3 day experiential, educational workshop which focused on learning and experiencing principles that lead to personal well-being, healthy relationships, and full, powerful, responsible living.

The full benefit of what this program did for me is impossible for me to describe, but I want to share this experience with you, so I am inviting you to join me tomorrow night at 9PM Eastern on a teleconference where you can simply listen in and learn about the program and it's results directly from the staff and participants.

Here is the dial-in info.

Dial in: 712-432-0075
Access Code: 102773

You can dial in, listen, and even ask questions if you like. There is no obligation. You do not even need to provide your name, email or any contact info at all.
(12/16/2013 5:04:55 PM)
Where is all of our rebeyim's teachings and chassidus!!!
We are chassidim and we have rebeiyim which taught everything which is needed for us to become better people why in the world are Lubavitchers falling into such none sence when we have the truth. Shofar is NOT chassidus repackaged its eastern spirituality repackaged into chassidus terms in order to attract us Lubavitchers. Here are some points that bring this out:
1) did the Rebbe or any of the rebeiyim EVER make people start breathing in a specific way during farbrengens or at least mention this way of meditating any where in any of their teachings? No! If this whole shofar thing was so true and wa according to chassidus the Rebbe would have used it on us and changed us instead of teaching thousands of maamorim and sichos. If this was truly a way to become a better person then definitely the Rebbe would have used it.
2) I would believe its repackaged chassidus. But we all know chassidus chabad demands hard avoda which can take a lifetime to change a person. If a person changes instantly over a weekend this is the totall opposite of chassidus.
3) chassidus demands kabolas ol. Doing all Mitzvos even though you don't feel up to it. Chassidus makes you more frum. Shofar does just the opposite.
4) it's one thing if the makers of shofar were chassidim that grew up only learning chassidus and they decided to make it in a practical form then things would be more pure. But here we are dealing with people that were totally fray and were involved in buddisim and that had a massive influence in their way of thinking how can you ever trust them. Unless they are 1000% frum and chassidish then don't give your life in their dirty hands. If the frierdiker rebbe said you can't trust the kashrut of someone without a beard for sure when it comes to your neshomo and inyanim of avoda Zara you can't trust someone with no beard or payos that is half frum. Look at it as a brain surgery you wouldn't get a doctor which might have learnt how to treat you but you aren't sure.
(12/16/2013 6:43:49 PM)
seems like classic scam artist
What seem peculiar to me is that there are plenty comments that seem like they are planted here by Mr. Simcha himself but he made an error that blows his cover. That is all the commenters stating matter of factly that they know of numerous marriages saved by his outfit. Their PR spin is that they're shrouded in secrecy due to "client privacy", sounds good, BUT...
how would the attendees know about the marriages of their fellow attendees that were "saved"? I thought client privacy is empirical? Are people announcing there that my marriage is on the rocks and then seen later all cool? People who can put two and two together can figure this out.
(12/16/2013 7:08:30 PM)
This must be the shoifer gadol of moshiach!
Its saving thousands of lives!
i think moshiach cant come till every yid gets involved in the shofar gadol!
(12/16/2013 7:59:25 PM)
Bitul Hayesh ?
(12/16/2013 9:40:28 PM)
A few major changes then all good...
I went to Shofar recently,.
I enjoyed the info and understood the lessons
Yet wished it would be less cult-like

Maybe if they would take the cult style out, even the attendees who went would feel better about it.

MAYBE FROM ALL THESE COMMENTS - THEY WILL GET THE POINT to keep just the EMES as part of the weekend, and CUT THE SHTUSIM, and instead give more time for DAVENING AND AVODAS HASHEM on the weekend itself!
(12/16/2013 9:56:24 PM)
Where have we fallen
Oy vey we have been so open minded that our minds have fallen out and are being blasted with the call of the vudus
(12/16/2013 10:27:40 PM)
A COTS alumni - Shimon Seringersky
I am a COTS alumni and I'm part of the Crown Heights Shofar group. I just received an email which caused me to be nauseated with the whole shofar thing and it made me realize how it's all a fake. I got an email from a master (staff) at shofar, M. L. Which stated the following: "Please go to and set the record straight about Call of the Shofar.
Moshe." This got me to realize how we are brainwashed and we have a goal to brainwash other uch!! That's really disgusting! If its true and it helps and it's not about money why is shofar so worried and is sending out ALL it's alumni to comment positive on collive!?
Their email ends off by saying "Important notice and agreement: Everyone on this list made an in-person commitment to confidentiality at their first CH meeting. This includes protecting the identity of anyone else they may meet at the meeting and anything that someone else shares. This commitment extends to all activities of our group including this email group. If you do not agree to this, please immediately remove yourself from our group" I have decided to leave this cult. This is horrible.
Shimon S.
(12/16/2013 10:51:36 PM)
Shneur Tarlow:Attn #258 Shimon S.
You are mistaken. The email you received tonight was from ME, asking people to stop telling everyone to go to Shofar.

All M.L. Was saying was to tell people the truth about what goes on, instead of the bogus rumors which have been circulating.

(12/16/2013 11:47:14 PM)
To #258
In addition, M.L. Is not any sort of master at Shofar, and he does not necessarily represent the opinion of the organization.
(12/16/2013 11:51:58 PM)
ML in my oppinion meant share your own experience as opposed to people just bad mouthing it without having gone.

FYI he is not a master staff, he is simply am administrator in terms of enrollment scheduling and bookkeeping
(12/16/2013 11:55:29 PM)
Shimon Liberow & others
Why r u recruiting people u don't know even have issues ?!
This repetitive behaviour you all seem to use is "you should all go. Do it for ur wife, do it for ur kids...".
My wife and I are happy & in a wonderful place. My children are BH Chassidishe, thriving, normal children and teens.
Your alumni similar rhetoric is scaring me...some of u sound messed up & literally need to be deprogrammed than onto real therapy (which u may not have needed to begin with).
Now I understand from this recent post that COTS participants were asked to "set the record straight" which technically should mean the truth, positive or negative but we assume what was meant so this clarifies perhaps some of the consistent encouraging of everyone to attend. Does it bother u that not everyone has major issues that need an intensive 3-day brainwashing cult?!
I hope this publicity doesn't cause curious healthy and happy people to spend serious $ just to c what all hoopla is about.
Someone is happy though...the staff making the $...and then brainwashing u to keep returning and notch telling u u must bring all ur friends. Ok, some CH'ers smartened up...onto the next community
(12/17/2013 12:35:51 AM)
why is shofar so worried and is sending out ALL it's alumni to comment positive on collive!?

(12/17/2013 1:36:23 AM)

(12/17/2013 1:39:46 AM)
GO BERRY! Real proud of you.
(12/17/2013 2:52:47 AM)
To those who are sincere on either side of the debate
To those who have benefitted and want ppl u care about to benefit too. that understandable! doesnt shofar teach u NOT to insist, if someone is closed minded to going, arent u taught to leave him alone?! whoever is pretending that Shofar promotes otherwise is probably anti-shofar and just trying to cast a bad shadow on those who went and are happy they did.

To those who are against it, The approach of a Chossid on all matters of importance is "Aseh Lecha Rav..." did your Rav instruct you to go and write dozens of repetitious comments here to vilify and scare ppl from going?
(12/17/2013 3:35:50 AM)
Most ppl are hurting
whoever denies that, is probably hurting even more!

if you care abt the public, Dont knock it, suggest modifications, to improve it!
(12/17/2013 3:53:23 AM)
267 Best comment!!!!
couldn't have said it better!

thus is the Rebbe's approach.
(12/17/2013 2:56:35 PM)
Stay Away!
Ive spoken to Rabbi SHea Hecht who is an expert in cults.
And he firmly said to stay far away!
(12/17/2013 5:45:05 PM)
They use cult-like methods and have sources from non-kosher places. Stay away
(12/17/2013 5:53:41 PM)
Some people rely on looking for someone to help
When they see that outlets that are offered are mocked and create controversial debate, they may just give up on even asking for help. before everyone decides to fight and throw their "intelligent chassidish" persepctives, remember you may be tampering with people's lives. State your opinions and say THIS IS MY OPINION and nonetheless seek guidance and help that RESONATES. G-d wants his children to stay alive and be happy. That's the bottom line my friends.
(12/17/2013 7:46:44 PM)
Sounds like the Jewish version of Werner Erhard (EST) cult. Resist the temptation to go there. Any time there is a "leader" who has the "solution" and charges money for away.
(12/18/2013 11:50:42 AM)

The Gemara in " states: . this is a theme and a belief that is very prevalent in Halacha and very much emphasized in the Rebbes teachings.

From cursory glance at this interview, it seems that they dont put much emphasis on this angle

Yes, the most healthy relationship with Hashem and indeed the goal - should be one of true love. But until we get there, we still need to follow all Halochos and our treasured Minhagim Mitoch Shelo Lishma, and hope to arrive at the Lishma very soon (and work very hard towards this goal).
(12/18/2013 12:00:09 PM)
to 273
he say that 40:00 min in

do the right thing even if u dont yet it yet!
(12/18/2013 12:23:05 PM)
On the call
to 251
Someone close to me went to the weekend, he came back and all he could say is "you gotta go....". I got on the Tuesday call and I really wanted to throw up. Each guy talks and says, "I love you guys", I'm all in. Really? You love? Its programmed talking and all end up sounding the same. It was painful to hear it. I was embarrassed for the guys on the call.
Also, The interview.......If you know anything about body language.....this guy is shifty, cannot give a direct answer, is very nervous the whole time. So untrustworty.
(12/18/2013 1:43:30 PM)
Money Hungry where is the Money going to ?
Please answer this Question Call of Shofer charges 880 for a person to join the group a group is usually about 40 people 880 x 40 is about 35000 dollars where is this money going to.
Did the participants think of that you are being sucked out of your money.
Can you please tell me why the 2 other questions at the endwere cut out ?
(12/22/2013 12:22:21 AM)
this guy learn befor in india.
he learned this shtusim from the tumah
(12/22/2013 2:52:26 PM)
Rabbi Hecht -an expert- Said its koasher
and sends ppl there all the time!

do u know better than the expert??
(12/22/2013 4:31:54 PM)
hello ppl, wake up we are chabad, we have a rebbe, we have chassidus, we have everything we need to succeed in life why do some feel the need to turn elsewhere to get in touch with concepts that chassidus teaches?
the sad part is that this is such an explosive and sensitive subject/debate in lubavitch
we know that all the good of everything and every theology in the world comes from torah so of course cots has some head on topics, but why go to the retailer when you can go to the wholesaler?-why not go to where those concepts were taken from?
he has a cholent of correct, incorrect and slightly twisted subjects, a program without a "hechsher" why not focus in on our "program" that has the best "hechsher"?
then there is nothing to debate whether his motives are good or not whether he uses mind-control tactics taken from AZ etc etc
(12/23/2013 3:29:40 PM)
I have not experienced COTS but I have taken Landmark Forum
Landmark Forum has had a very positive effect on my life similar to the effect described by many of those who have attended COTS - better relationship with others, less emotional overlay of negative emotions around relationship with Hashem, family and co workers. I feel that the sorting process of choosing to control thoughts as taught to me from Tanya is becoming something I am more capable of doing through practice.
. I am more capable of acting decisively in making decisions based on my education as a bas Chabad. Intellectually the majority of Chabadniks have information about chassidus. How motivated and unified I felt with the intellectual knowledge was not something that I experienced very often. Kabalos ol without simcha shel mitzva was an issue for me.
I participated in EMETT - a self help method made popular by Miriam Adahan, Emotional Maturity Established Through Torah. It was based on a specific method of a psychiatrist that was not frum. She worked on this and had haskoma of rabbonim, including Rabbi Pliskin and others. Rabbi Twersky set up his programs for recovery from addictions based on various systems from pioneers who were not Jewish in the addiction field.; Meir Abehsera brought "healthy food choices" to the CH community before it became popular in the secular world, - Is any of this presently caled a cult? the commentators who have taken the course are, people becoming less blocked in their family lives and Chassidic way of life, what is wrong? EMETT helped people who wanted that self help.....macrobiotics thru Meir Abehsera helped people who were having health issues.
Today it is mainstream awareness amongst the medical profession, nutrition experts that white sugar and flour can have negative effects on health. Was Meir teaching that it's better to eat grains and vegetables and freshly made food a cult, or just the first stream of information that needed to become part of a mainstream after examination and investigations?
A very holy and wise Rebbetzin, when I first was in
CH eating differently than the European Jewish style of food, told me that it was like kissing the cross to do what I was doing. It did not offend me or cause me to think that every time I ate a rice cracker I was doing avoda zara. I just stopped talking about it to her (I actually never brought up the topic with her, she felt she had to tell me her opinion) I also reasoned that she had not studied nutrition and diet and was not an expert in health.
About Yiddishkeit I definitely listened to her and Boruch Hashem for people who are healthy or don't want/need to learn about what I was doing, I was not trying to win people over.
Attraction rather than promotion is always more powerful.
How people are dealing with COTS sounds like the community's reaction to other new things that have come and helped many individuals. These things are not imperatives like Yiddishkeit is for Yidden. They are choices.
The people around me who told me in the 1970's that my children were going to be malnourished and develop severe illnesses if they didn't drink orange juice and milk daily were not experts in nutrition.
Chassidus is not a program of self help. It is something completely all encompassing for a Yid. It cannot be compared to techniques for self help. Techniques for self help should enhance the good aspects of the life we are already leading as frum Yidden/Lubavitchers. Landmark Forum gives tools to motivate people to eliminate negative thinking, procrastination and to work on whatever you choose to apply the tools to in your life. I cannot really encapsulate it in this short form just as any discipline or field of knowledge requires time and attention.
It is not Yiddishkeit, it is not obligatory, and it just is what it is.

(12/24/2013 5:00:28 AM)
to #280
that was a very well written piece, with good points. There is one thing that's actually very important and that is halachik authorities have ruled that landmark is a cult...
(12/25/2013 5:16:35 PM)
100 comments and who did chitas rambam and some other sfarim today? Action is main thing. Go sit in the Beis Medrash and be a yid. The light of torah with bring you back.
(12/30/2013 11:21:56 PM)
I went to a similar seminar about ten yeas ago
Many times I wondered if it was good or bad.

I think th best way to understand it is like a drug. Drugs can be good or bad. Most people have a very strong black and white view of the world. Its either good or bad.

So we usually think that if you buy drugs on the street its bad bbbut if you get it from the drug stor its good.

And that is generaly the case. But what about if you need marewana for something you have and you get it from a frind and its legal in your state. Thats prety much ok.

And what about if a drug is being pushed on to doctors that is harful but it makes a lot of money? So these lines can often become blery.

These seminar is like a rug in another way. Drugs can sometimes fix a certain problem. and it can help you for life. But sometimes it just makes you feel good for the moment and you always want more.

These forums I beleive have a mix of good and bad. And when I say bad it doesnt neseseryly mean terible. If you ave a party at home with some friends and you get drunk, its bad but not terible.

These orgenizations are businesses. The people change a lot of money for there seminars and they want to get rich. They use there position of power to convince you to get other people to come so that they can get more money.

On the otehr hand what they offer is not on the open market and many people need it. And people do get positive changes taht can change their life.

And the reason why people dont say what goes on is because you have to experiene it. It does you hypnosses and it wont work very well if you know what goes on. You will constantly be analyizing it.

You either trust it and you go for it and do it properly or you stay away. There is no benefit in just going there as an observer. You wouldnt tell someone who has never been to a fabregngen everything that goes on there. Would you. Think about that.

So thats it.

Bottom ine is if you are woried about it, dont go. If you feel ok with it and you feel you need it, go.

One more thing. People who are against it are just afraid of the unknown. So they have nothing significant to say. In fact even people who go and are against it can be agraid of the unknown. Thy may have been too scared to let go, and never got the experience and just saw it as a lonely outsider.

I know that sounds like im not giving a very clear balk and white answer but like I said not everything is black and white. I guess if people could redo this program without the strong money aspect, and having a really good leader to do it. that would turn it from gray to white.

See the video from Shea Hecht on youtube. He also doesnt see it as black and white.

(12/31/2013 6:28:05 PM)
I made the comment before about me going to a similar program before
I got my computer fixed recently. I have known the guy who fixed my computer for about 6 years. He has always done a good job and at a very reasonlable price. But this time he gave me a price that I thought was high, but he said that it was because of the motherboard etc and because i trusted him and I dont really know any good computer fixers, I said ok. Afterwards I found out that he basicly ripped me off.

Whats the point of the story? The point is that someone may do a very good service for you but onece they have your trust they can abuse it. It may be beneficials for individuals to go to COS. It may change their life for the better. But ..... for a whole community to put their trust in an outside orgenazation that is clearly a business is very very dangerous.

But you must understand that there is a need for what they are offering, and people have tasted what they have to offer. Just stoping people from going without creating an alternetive is not smart. The best thing to do would be for the community to run it as a non profit. It doesnt have to be done tomorrow but that should be the long term plan. imho.

(12/31/2013 7:10:16 PM)
David Shiller
I've known Simcha for over 10 years and watched him grow and evolve as a human being and teacher. I've watched him invest thousands of hours of his life, unpaid, in helping men grow as Jews and human beings. After 12 years of mesirus nefesh for Jewish men, he's starting to make a little money from shofar.

Anyone who uses this or another public forum to imply that he is a scam artist, huckster, cult-leader, or otherwise manipulating people for personal gain is sorely misinformed and guilty of serious lashon hara. Those who make such comments are not only committing loshon hara, they're being m'akev others who might benefit, and they are putting a block between a man and his honest parnassah.
(1/2/2014 10:05:32 AM)
This goes against chassidus!!
We learn in Tanya, chassidus etc. to feel batik compared to Hashem and others to davenport in length a time which you won't be depressed last but not least it is the same way as the Lamark a Buddhist thing which is Avishag zorah and even if it does help someone in their avodas Hashem yo May still not use it like a animal meant for avodah zorah may not be used etc. bottom line even if it might "help" you now it is still against Halacha and chassidus
(1/8/2014 12:53:21 AM)
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