Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, better known as "Reb Zalman," was born in Zholkiew, Poland, in 1924. Raised largely in Vienna, his family was forced to flee the Nazi oppression in 1938. After almost three years without roots, they finally landed in New York City in 1941, settling in Brooklyn, where young Zalman enrolled in the yeshiva of the Lubavitcher Hasidim. He was ordained by Lubavitch in 1947. He later received his Master of Arts degree in the Psychology of Religion in 1956 from Boston University and a Doctor of Hebrew Letters degree from Hebrew Union College in 1968.
Throughout his long career, Reb Zalman has been an unending resource for the world religious community. He is the father of the Jewish Renewal and Spiritual Eldering movements, an active teacher of Hasidism and Jewish Mysticism, and a participant in ecumenical dialogues throughout the world, including the widely influential dialogue with the Dalai Lama, documented in the book, The Jew in the Lotus. One of the world's foremost authorities on Hasidism, he is the author of the new book, A Heart Afire: Stories and Teachings of the Early Hasidic Masters (co-authored with Netanel Miles-Yepez). Reb Zalman currently lives in Boulder, Colorado, and continues to be active in mentoring his many students the world over.