Richard A. Light grew up as a child of the only Jewish family in Gunnison, a small mountain town in Western Colorado. After graduating from the University of Colorado, he studied Judaism in a yeshiva in Jerusalem and in the rabbinic program at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles (now called the American Jewish University). Mr. Light has published four books on Jewish rituals and practices relating to death and dying, one of which won a 2016 Nautilus Book Award. In 1996 he co-founded his local Chevrah Kadisha (a traditional Jewish organization whose members prepare Jewish bodies for burial and support the bereaved in their community) and led it for 18 years. He is a Vice President of Kavod v’Nichum (Hebrew for honor and comfort), a national nonprofit organization that provides information, education, training and technical assistance for bereavement committees and Chevrah Kadisha groups throughout North America. Mr. Light is also a senior instructor for the Gamliel Institute, where he teaches online courses on these subjects to students from the USA (including Puerto Rico), Canada, Israel, and other countries. He lives in Santa Fe, NM, where he continues to teach and raise awareness about Jewish death-related rituals and practices at local, state, and national levels.
Richard A. Light is an instructor of backpacking, rock climbing, and other outdoor skills. After retiring from a career in IT, he became an REI Outdoor School Instructor in Santa Fe, NM, in 2008. He loves telemark skiing, rock climbing, exploring off-trail backcountry, snowshoeing, building igloos, photography, teaching and helping others, and reveling in the silence and wonder of wilderness. He has been designing and leading multi-day backpack treks in remote areas of the Grand Canyon since 1993. He also taught skiing as an RMSIA/PSIA certified alpine instructor in the late 1960s and early 1970s in Colorado.
Richard A. Light has been teaching spiritual development in various ways for more than 35 years and has been studying and practicing meditation for more than 45 years. He teaches about conscious living and dying, as well as Reb Zalman's, "Spiritual Eldering" approach to aging.