Monty Eliasov, Executive Director and spiritual leader of the Twelve Tribe Torah Institute, was born in the Cape Province of South Africa and came to the United States at the age of sixteen to study rabbinic literature at the Telshe Yeshiva Talmudic Academy in Wickliffe, Ohio.
He received his undergraduate training in both Jewish history and in economics at Yeshiva University in New York, and then went on to complete his M.A. in rabbinic literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1971. He served for many years as religious educational director in both Conservative (full member Jewish Educators Assemby) and Reform (full member National Association of Temple Educators) synagogue schools and went on to study kabbalah and neo-chassidic prayer forms with Rabbi Zalman-Schachter, founder of Jewish Renewal.
Monty received rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Gershon Winkler in a spontaneous ceremony in the summer of 1998 at the end of a Walking Stick Institute retreat, an annual retreat at which rabbis and Native American teachers converge to share their unique traditions and wisdom. In addition to being the director of the Walking Stick Institute, Rabbi Gershon Winkler is the author of many books of Jewish interest including The Place where you are Standing is Holy and is the editor of "Pumbedissa Journal" which is a forum for the uninhibited discussion of Judaic and rabbinic issues.
Rabbi Gershon traveled to Austin, Texas to publicly re-enact Rabbi Monty's ordination ceremony on May 15th 1999 with the members and friends of the Heart of Texas Havurah as witnesses to this unique and memorable event. Monty is now serving as rabbi at Congregation Shalom Rav (formerly "The Heart of Texas Havurah"), a Jewish Reconstructionist congregation in Austin, and was officially installed as rabbi there in March 2000 at a ceremony supported by his colleagues Rabbi Tirzah Firestone of Boulder, CO and Cantor Robert Esformes of Shokan, NY.
Rabbi Monty has been blessed with the task of developing a pathway which he lovingly calls "Twelve Tribe Torah," a view of the Hebrew tradition which consciously integrates and honors all the diverse streams of the Judaism which existed in the first century. The methodology has already spawned new creations such as the tried and tested introductory Hebrew reading course called "Kabbalah Hebrew" and an ecumenical teaching service called "The Psalms Service." His prayer is that these teachings will help us approach both Jewish and Christian scriptures with an open mind and an understanding heart.