Banned Cult Returns Under New Name

After it was banned by leading Rabbonim last year amid a community uproar, the ‘Call of the Shofar’ – labeled a cult by experts in the field – seems to be attempting a comeback in the Chabad community under a new name: From Galut to Geula.

Purporting to be “a Jewish men’s workshop exploring our personal journeys from enslavement to awareness and embodiment,” the seminar’s promotional material admits that it is “based, but not limited to, our experiences with Call of the Shofar.”

The “workshop” is being led by father and son duo Aaron and Bentzion Shamberg of Baltimore, and will take place over this Shabbos at the Leventhal Farm in East Berlin, Pennsylvania.

All attendees will be required to sign a “supplemental covenant and promise” that “I am attending this training solely for my own benefit and not as an observer, researcher, journalist, investigator, or in any other capacity than as a participant.”

An informed consent form must be signed as well, absolving the directors of any liability. “I… hereby release Aaron Shamberg and Benzion Shamberg and Edward and Mesa Leventhal (Property owners) all they’re [sic] agents from liability therefrom,” says the legally-binding contract attendees must sign.

A flyer for the event says that participation will be limited to 10 people, though an e-mail from the Shambergs says the maximum will be 15.

Responding to an e-mail requesting comment, Call of the Shofar Director Simcha Frischling denied that the new workshop had any affiliation with Call of the Shofar, but gave it his enthusiastic endorsement, saying “I know both Aaron and Benzion for many years. They are both wonderful men and I expect this workshop to be a very good experience for those who attend. Benzion has run several Shofar workshops which were under my auspices.”

Last winter, leading Chabad Rabbonim banned Call of the Shofar, saying that its leader promoted heresy by declaring that the Torah’s commandments only had to be fulfilled if one wanted to, and was labeled a cult by veteran cult-buster Rabbi Shea Hecht and cult expert Rabbi Raphael Aron.



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Aaron Shamberg
Aaron Shamberg
Simcha Frischling, founder of Call of the Shofar.
Simcha Frischling, founder of Call of the Shofar.


  • Torat Hanefesh

    Anyone looking for an authentic program should join Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh’s Torat Hanefesh – Jewish school of psychology distance learning.

  • hat_glasses_beard

    I’m getting the same feeling I get when I hear my favorite TV show is on for another season!

    Let the entertainment continue!

  • The plain truth

    Rabbi Ginzburg may be a great man but with Lubavitch he has a serious problem, he claims that the Rebbe encouraged to go up onto the Har Habayis, this is an outright lie! The Rebbe clearly wrote to Rav Getz (the Rabbi of the Kotel) that the Har Habayis should remain off limits and the Rebbe asked him not to study any possibility of finding any permitted possibilities to ascend any part of the Har Habayis because it will end up being an Issur D’Oiraisa of Chiyuv Kares, so to lie in the Rebbe’s name is a gross insult to the rebbe and his Chasidim.

    • Sholom Ber Cohen

      Who said Rabbi Ginzburg is a great man.
      He seems to run his own race, not in tune with Chabad.
      Is he a Chosid of th Rebbe who is his Rov and Mashpia.
      Lubavitch is not hefker

  • MaidofCH

    The misspelled words scream amateur — one big warning sign. If you, even a con-artist, want to be taken seriously, hire a professional editor.

  • From Scam to Scam

    To number 10

    It doesn’t seem like this will be taking off at all but if it did/does I garuntee the price was meant to/will rise up $50 at a time until it hits a nice number.

    They know they are dealing with a more skeptical crowd now so they are starting low.

    Call of the Shofar started at around $500 and was up to $750 (for men) when it came crumbling down. Women’s retreats were around 800-900 or more.

    As you can tell they are using scamy tactics from the get go. On the paper it says the group will be “limited” to 10 people and in the email it says “limited” to 15 people. So which is it? The answer is it’s not limited and they will gladly take your money. They are just trying to make it seem exclusive and trying to get you to act fast before it “fills up”.

    Amazing that they didn’t at least try to pretend it was separate from Call of the Shofar.

    From Scam to Scam

  • Anonymous

    well if they starve you and weaken you like by cots its not so expensive-
    your lucky if you get cots to sleep on.
    and this is the begining- as they ensnare people to the thepoint that they are sold and coonvince everyone around them to go, they can raise the price.
    hopefully theyll shut down before anyone is foolish enough to join.

    if you need therapy there are many good, kosher options that are not on shabbos, dont control you, and where you dont have to sign off on your mental health.

    hatzlacha to all.


    I have heard that people in New York and Baltimore are receiving calls about this warning them to stay away. It is no wonder to me. I know several who attended COTS and it caused havoc with their relationships and their emuna. They all became self absorbed and noticeably smug. The personality changes were consistent. It appeared as though they all were products of the same factory. Kind of like a bunch of Stepford wives. They all tried to get me to go and refused to provide any details. To me, it has the odor of a cult. Scary stuff.

  • devora leah grossman

    The Call of the Shofar is a just a lame excuse of a psychiatric help resort i know people who went there and when they came back they were completely brainwashed it has helped people but the damage it did on the way to curing them far outweighs the good…

    Ps. anyone notice Moshe Leiblach from the high-school on ocean Parkway wonder if anyone will be sending their children there next year

  • Its a no brainer

    Several Rabbonim said that its a cult or avoda zora. What more do we need. That’s the strength of klipa and avoda zora – keeps pulling you back in.
    Seems that once entrapped, one cannot extricate oneself easily. Those who were involved previously, have a profound effect on those they are teaching or speaking to, as we have already seen has happened.
    Where are all those self help groups that were going to be started after the COTS sham was made public? We need it now more than ever!!!!!

  • Dov

    Lets assume there is a problem with these groups. The mistake that I hear in these comments is not focussing on why people go to groups. Its insulting to label them as brain washed when the truth is they are in pain. There is a serious crisis going on. That’s why people are attracted to self help groups. Face the truth, and face the pain of serious dysfunction going on. That’s all that matters. Deal with that abuse. This is a wake up call. Your wives and husbands and children are suffering tremendous pain. Stop being so self righteous. Face the truth and deal with it. Or keep perpetuating the lies as you watch the most important relationships in your life fall apart.