Kabbalah is the esoteric dimension of Judaism and has been reformulated by Z’ev ben Shimon Halevi to become a universal teaching for our age. Known as the Toledano School of the Soul, its guiding principles illustrated on the Tree of Life and Jacob’s Ladder may be used to understand ourselves, our world and our relationship with the One.
The name Toledano derives from the city of Toledo in Spain where, in the Middle Ages, people from the Christian, Jewish and Islamic traditions conversed, shared ideas and translated texts. This fusion of religion and philosophy brought about the modern working method and metaphysics that underpin the Toledano tradition.
Z’ev ben Shimon Halevi and the Kabbalah Society
The Kabbalah Society, founded in the early 1970s, is a loose affiliation of groups worldwide that teach and pass on the Toledano Tradition. Z’ev ben Shimon Halevi was its Principal Tutor and a Fellow of the Temenos Academy in London. Born into an English Sephardic Jewish family in 1933, Halevi began to study Kabbalah in his early twenties. In the 1970s he started to teach and to write books on Kabbalah, and subsequently taught and lectured extensively around the world.
Over the past 50 years, Halevi continued to reformulate the teaching and clarify its principles. He saw it as his task to update its mythology and metaphysics in terms of modern science and psychology. His 14 books (and e-books) on the tradition have been translated into 16 languages and are available internationally.
From those early beginnings, study groups now meet regularly worldwide. Halevi’s books are written so as to inspire individual and group contemplation amongst companions of the light. Together with meditation, conversations and experience, this form of contemplation is one of the most important and effective methods of oral transmission. Each group is autonomous and teaches the tradition in a form that is relevant to its own time and place. Thereby, the Toledano Tradition constitutes an esoteric school operating explicitly within the marketplace of life.
For over 40 years, Joanna Lapage-Browne and Kurt Browne have studied with Halevi, taught groups, and raised a family in their home in NW London which has been and continues to be, a home for the School.
While they help to provide a focus for many, the tradition of the Tree of Life and Jacob’s Ladder is alive and ongoing in the varied autonomous Kabbalah groups throughout the world. Continuing in many forms by way of group work, meditation, ritual and ultimately through our selves – thinking, feeling and acting consciously in the world – the interconnection between companions, tutors and our international community results in a rich diversity of ideas and shared experiences.