Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, PhD, is an author, psychotherapist, and founding rabbi of Congregation Nevei Kodesh in Boulder, Colorado. Widely known for her groundbreaking work on Kabbalah and depth psychology and the re-integration of the feminine wisdom tradition within Judaism, Rabbi Firestone lectures and teaches embodied spiritual and ancient wisdom practices that are particularly honed to assist us at this critical time in world history.
Raised in an Orthodox home in St. Louis, Rabbi Firestone’s upbringing and rigorous Jewish education ran counter to her natural spiritual curiosity. Determined to find freedom, she forcefully rejected her Jewish heritage to embark upon a spiritual odyssey that took her around the world and into the very heart of counterculture spirituality.
After years of seeking, Firestone came to Boulder to study natural healing and psychotherapy. Her training in and love for the teachings of Wilhelm Reich and Carl Jung helped to define for her the common boundaries between the body’s deep wisdom and that which arises from the psyche in the form of dreams, intuition and spiritual guidance.
Her career as teacher/lecturer began with courses in Reichian studies, body-mind psychology, and Therapeutic Touch, which she taught at the Rocky Mountain Healing Arts Institute, Naropa University, and numerous medical conferences around the United States. She earned her Masters Degree in Holistic Counseling from Beacon College in 1982.
But her spiritual quest was far from complete. In the mid-1980’s, Rabbi Firestone responded to a deep call to return to her Jewish roots to become a rabbi. She began studies with Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, founder of the Jewish Renewal movement, and in November, 1992, she was ordained as a rabbi by Rabbis Schachter-Shalomi, Gershon Winkler, Shoshana Leibowitz and Akiva Mann. The Jewish Renewal Community of Boulder, later named Nevei Kodesh, emerged soon thereafter.
The story of Rabbi Firestone’s spiritual quest leading to her return to a renewed Judaism is chronicled in her dramatic memoir, With Roots In Heaven: One Woman’s Passionate Journey into the Heart of Her Faith (Plume:1998).
Her best-selling audiotape program, The Woman’s Kabbalah: Ecstatic Jewish Practices for Women, is a two-tape audio course filled with meditations and stories rich in Jewish mystical tradition. Presented in non-technical, practical terms, the tapes appeal to listeners of all spiritual backgrounds.
Rabbi Firestone’s book about Kabbalah and women is The Receiving: Reclaiming Jewish Women’s Wisdom (HarperSanFrancisco, 2003) has been hailed as the “non-fiction companion to Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent.” The Receiving is an historical rendering of seven unchronicled Jewish women mystics and sages whose lives span the 2nd through 20th centuries. In The Receiving, Rabbi Firestone presents Kabbalistic teachings such as the journey of the soul, the Tree of Life, and the sephirotic map through the lens of women’s psychology and spirituality.
Firestone earned her doctorate in depth psychology in 2015 from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California. Her research, about the transformation of collective trauma, draws on three disparate fields: neuroscience, depth psychology, and Jewish literature and mythopoesis. Through interviews, case studies, and autobiographical stories Firestone demonstrates how trauma residue passes from generation to generation.
Rabbi Firestone’s specific focus is on the profound impact of historical trauma on Jewish psyches and on the very soul of Judaism. She contends that unhealed trauma has served to distort and eclipse some of Judaism’s most beloved values.
But it is possible to stop the trauma train! Tirzah’s study highlights ten extraordinary moral leaders and outlines the profound teachings by which they transformed their extreme trauma into wisdom. These teachings are the topic of her next book, Trauma and the Jewish Soul: Tales of Choice and Redemption.
Rabbi Firestone lives in Colorado with her husband David. Together they have three grown children, Brianna, Emily, and Dakota.