The Central Park Guru Becomes an Old City Jew
by Gil Locks
ISBN: 0-9766946-0-3, Hardcover, 362 pages
PRICE: $26.95
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Follow Gil around the globe, as he makes his amazing spiritual journey from corporate America to the depths of South India to the holy city of Jerusalem. Join him as he transforms himself from a successful businessman into a long-haired hippy, a mystical guru, a Christian healer, and finally an Old City Jew: The incredible adventures of this God-intoxicated man will not only enlighten you, they will warm your heart.


How many books can one read that are not only inspiring, but also entertaining, that make you laugh and make you cry?  Gil's story is of his spiritual journey from a Hippie, to a Guru, to a religious Jew.  His story was one of our best interviews ever, and his book is a 'couldn't put it down-er'. 

Read this book, it makes you a better person!

Israel National Radio - Arutz 7


"Coming Back to Earth" is a special book, one which is truly difficult to put down while reading or to forget some of the fascinating adventures of the author as he evolved from a searching soul looking for spirituality to a proper religious man, with a effervescent outlook on the world and Judaism.  I would recommend this as great reading that will complement every Jew's knowledge of Judaism and G-d.


Eliezer Cohen, the editor of the Jewish Magazine, http://www.jewishmag.com




Gil Gutman Locks was born into an assimilated Jewish family living in the Washington Heights section of New York City. His was the fifth generation of his family to be born in America. Gil currently resides in the Old City of Jerusalem, where he has been for the past twenty years. He is a well-known presence at the Kotel, where he prays with the sunrise minyan, and spends much of his time there assisting fellow Jews in putting on tefillin.

His goals in life are to "reach up" and to "reach out". "Reaching up" means reaching up in order to reveal Hashem's Presence in this lower world. "Reaching out" means reaching out to help one's fellow man along his spiritual journey.





I met you on December 28 at the Kotel when taking off the tefillin.  I bought your book, "Coming Back To Earth".  You took some pictures of me and invited me to your house for Sabbath dinner.  I am sorry my tour didn't allow me the ability to hook back-up with you.  However, your book and our meeting was what I needed.  I don't know if you remember my story, but I got heavily involved with the transcendental meditation movement for 12 years and they got me married to a non-Jew which luckily turned into a quick failure.  Enough of that.  Since meeting you and getting to know you through your book, I have been putting tefillin on daily, going to the local Orthodox temple for 3 hours of classes weekly on Tanach, History and Law, besides going on Saturdays.  I have spoken to the Rabbi about purifying my house and myself since, unfortunately, with the TM women came idols... which I have recently destroyed... the TM movement was big into pujas (worship services) for the Hindu deities.

It is good to be back.  Hope you find this interesting.



I just wanted to let you know, I saw you at The Kotel on a recent visit to Israel. My son told me you spoke at his Yeshiva and that you had a fascinating life story to tell.  I read your book and was inspired to reacquaint myself with G-D and Judaism. Thank you for taking the time to write your story so that others like me could find inspiration.


Hi Gil
I am having a great time reading your book "Back to Earth". I specially liked the part of your book about Gematria and Tora! After reading this part, I started to study some Tora by myself but I got a doubt and I cannot move on. May I send you the question? I am sure it is going to be an easy stuff for you…


Shalom Aleichem Gutman

I'm sure that our brief encounter back in 91' during the Gulf war  won't be clear in your mind. But perhaps it is. You saw a puzzled and searching young man sitting in the Old City. Trying to make sense of spirituality isn't always easy, yet it's close and accessible. Sometime we need the right guides to point us in the right direction so that we may see Hashem's ways, which are truly pleasant. I thank the Almighty for my brief encounter with you. You showed me your home, making me feel comfortable and welcome. Being hospitable, you gave me a drink, played some music and gave me "There is One". In Growth you inscribed it and pointed me to the local Chabad House, encouraging me.  Now almost 15 years in time, I have spent time in Yeshiva in Kfar Chabad, spent months by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, married and have 4 beautiful children with Hashem's Blessings. We have been 11 years on schlichus of the Rebbe in Zululand, Umhlanga Rocks South Africa.(20km from Durban on South African East Coast.)  Your good friend... who resides in... are involved here in Umhlanga (pronounced Oom-shla-ng-ga) I spent 10 days with them now while  launching an International project for education/bursaries/ drug awareness programs etc  here in SA.  I spent my late evenings reading Coming back to Earth. Fantastic. I never finished it though. Could you some how send me a copy. Also... tells me about The Raging Mind and a CD you put together. This would be appreciated so much. If there is an expense I would be glad to contribute.  I was happy and excited to receive your email. Thank you for your kind words and your brachas.  We wish you my bracha and hatzlacha in everything you do both physically and spiritually. With joy and happiness. May we see True Peace in our Holy Land.


One day I was standing in the Old City wearing my new Tefillan bag...  A pious Jew with a flowing white beard told me a story of a man called Leibel who risked his life to put on Tefillan with Jews in the death camps... After speaking to him a bit I found out that he had just written a book about his life story, his spiritual journey. I bought the book. That Shabbos I picked up the book just after the meal and didn’t put it down until the very end. He uses all his experiences from his life previous to Judaism to inspire and reconnect the reader to his religion and make him feel special that he is a Jew. He also inspired me to contemplate more in davening through showing the power of contemplation and what it can achieve. Thank you very much Gil.


 Thank you. My daughter told me that she read the book in one sitting, she was so enthralled by it.


Dear Gil,
I read your autobiography over the first day of yom tov, and I really enjoyed it. I am FFB as they say, and I've been studying Hassidus and Kabbalah (in addition to the usual Yeshiva curriculum) for a long long time. But I've always felt a very intense curiosity about what is on the eastern  side of the fence.  Since I am quite comfortable in my Torah observance and whatever spiritual life I experience, I know that it would be to my detriment to actually go-over to a different way. I have tried to learn as much as I can, if only from the standpoint of comparative spirituality, and to comprehend the Torah more fully in light of its "natural alternatives". But still the curiosity about what its like...and how does the eastern experience differ from or complement the Jewish one is an issue that I have never found discussed in a frank and open-minded manner. I appreciate your wealth of experience and your willingness to share it with me. Not only are you helpful to those who seek the way, you also satisfy a need amongst those born into observance who until now have never had someone who (aside from bigoted diatribes against what they don't understand) could help us live with the fact that we never had anything but what we were born in to.
I'm in Jerusalem quite a bit, and will try to look you up.

Dearest Guru Gil,Sheyichye
I got Sciatica on a Friday in Tzfat.So I couldn't walk, & all I had in my room at... was your new book.   All Shabbos I read it from cover to cover.  Besides the very preachy parts which I skipped, I laughed out loud many times. The next week I saw a very quiet South African whom I know, in the... library, that had just purchased your book. He started laughing out loud. I went over to see what book was making this uptight person laugh out loud. Guess what? It was your book. It is really funny. You did a great job; & you were only writing the truth!
Hatzlacha !
Dear Guru Gil:

My name is... I have been to your home many times over the past years, June 2003 the most recent. I don't know if you remember me, but I was one of the Hebrew U students from the famous Purim incident in 1989. (It was my knee upon which the girl sat, sparking the chain of events to follow). I just finished reading your new book, coming back to earth, which I purchased this past June in the old city. It was a great read. I must tell you, that I was waiting on the edge of my seat to see if the purim incident would be included. That you made me wait until nearly the end, and gave it almost two pages of text, added to my thrill this past sunday a.m, when I finished the book after only 2 days of reading. Let me tell you that, contrary to your fear, those in our group that I maintain contact with are still committed to judaism, the jewish people, and Israel. In fact one of them became Bal Tshuva soon after the incident. I am encouraging everyone I know to read your book, because y(our) story is truly inspirational.

Hi Gutman
…I'm the Brazilian guy that visited you a couple of times (in your meditation classes and at the Kotel).
I hope everything is Ok with you…
BTW, I'd like to thank you! Because your book (Back to Earth) I decided to buy a Tfilin (I bought it from a Chabad sofer in Safed) and TO USE IT !!!
            I greatly enjoyed your book “Coming back to earth”. In fact I could not stop till I finished it. My story has a lot in common with yours: I went through everything one could imaging, including various yogas, different schools of meditations, christianity , philosophies, sciences, other religions and cults, married and divorced in between, and so on. Barukh Hashem I quietly landed in Eichlers bookstore on Coney Island Ave., and without thinking too much bought hundreds of books, read them all, and just felt the truth through those books, and immediately started to observe everything I could find out. This happened about 10 years ago. Now Baruch Hashem I have a family, live in Lakewood NJ, learn in BMG - Lakewood Yeshiva, and hardly can perceive my previous life as my own, rather like vague memories of a movie about somebody else.
            But there is one major difference: I was lucky enough to be born in Russia, where they just killed any person who did not fit their standards, so by the time I was around there was no anybody there alive who could teach anything at all, so I had to pick up little from here and little from there, but when you are on your own in these matters generally there is no way go get to advanced level in anything, so I tried everything, but did not reach any serious level in any of the areas I tried. Of course I could not leave Russia – at that point it was absolutely unthinkable. Who knows what would happen if I got to India or to whatever other countries I could go to and meet people on high level and be influenced by who knows how much… So I read your book, and I see what happens to somebody who does go much further than I did, and even at the very end there is nothing real there, and the only right way to advance is to get to old-fashioned idishkeit… Even after I embraced idishkeit I was still sure that in all the Indian and other ways I tried there was something there, I just did not have right tools to get it – for a long time already being frum I still carried with me books of Sri Aurobindo (my very last attempt), and finally one day I discarded even that – not that I understood that there is nothing there, I could not possibly know that, but rather because I felt it was wrong for me to deal with it. Now I know that there is nothing there that I missed – I feel bad though that I achieved this understanding by your expense – by an expense of you going all the way just to come back years later.
            Thank you very much for your book. I understand it is not easy at all to reveal too much about yourself, obviously you would prefer not to mention certain details, but at the end I do not think there is anything extra there, it should and will definitely help many people who are searching all over and missing the very best and the only way that could possible lead to truth and to the life in the World to Come.
            By the way, your book is sold in the front of Lakewood Judaica stores (as you might know most books from the judaica section in Barns&Noble would never make it there, so this is a good sign, and even though your life story is absolutely exceptional and unique it joined the mainstream which is a sign of a right direction!!!)
            Good luck, and many more productive years to you filled with Torah and Mitzvos!
Yaasher Koach on a wonderful book!
I am involved in Kiruv Rechokim in the Baltimore area and just finished your book!
May you be Zocheh to continue your wonderful work for years to come!



Dear Reb Gutman,

I loved your autobiography and have read it three times since purchasing it three weeks ago and have told everyone, from and fray, about it. It cleared up many things that I had heard from various people and serves to inspire me. Thank you so much for writing it!  I hope to meet you one day and look forward to your reissuing your book on meditation.
Blessings in all of your holy endeavors,


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