Rabbi Reuben Modek was born in Israel to deeply committed secular Zionist parents. His home had instilled in him a passionate concern for the welfare of both the people and the state of Israel since a very young age.
Reuben was raised in Haifa, during the 1960s and 70s, and actively participated in the Socialist Zionist Youth Movements Dror and HaShomer HaTza'ir, both as member and subsequently as leader. During those years of activism, he developed a strong sense of national Jewish identity. At the same time, these years of immersion in the Israeli secular experience left Reuben questing for a sense of Jewish, as well as personal, identity that would be more coherently rooted in Israel's cultural and spiritual heritage, and would complement his own evolving sense of spirituality.
This quest, along with a taste for creative exploration, led to a broad array of learning experiences. Reuben has engaged in the study and practice of eastern spiritual disciplines that included yoga, meditation and tai chi. He has also engaged in western Human Potential work. Extensive world travel broadened his perspective and provided opportunities for personal integration. This richness of experience was eventually grounded in Clinical Social Work studies at Haifa University, Israel.
In the United States, during the 1980s and 90s, Reuben recommitted to Jewish life and leadership. He developed a passion for Jewish spiritual practice and learning. He became an enthusiastic participant with the Renewal Havurah Movement, acting as leader, artist, and activist with both the Boulder Gesher Or Havurah and the Philadelphia Pnai Or Havurah. Reuben has become a champion of Jewish body/mind-centered spiritual practice, and received certification in Otiyot Hayyot, Living Letters, a dance and movement meditation based on the shapes of the Hebrew alphabet. He has been teaching seminars in this discipline internationally.
Reuben's committment to the path of rabbinic training and service has been furthered by the inspiration, encouragement and love of teachers and friends such as Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi, Rabbi Marcia Prager, Rabbi Shohama Wiener, and artist-educator Judith Rose.
Reuben currently lives in Nyack, NY from where he works, plays, grows and nurtures Phaelan, his utterly beloved son.