Z'ev ben Shimon Halevi (English name, Warren Kenton) is an author of books on the Toledano Tradition of Kabbalah, a teacher of the discipline, with a worldwide following, and a founder member of the Kabbalah Society.
Z'ev ben Shimon Halevi was born, on 8 January 1933, into a Jewish family in London, England, where he continues to live and work, along with his wife, Rebekah. On his father's side of the family, he descends from a rabbinical Sephardi line with roots in Bessarabia which was, at the turn of the 20th century, a province of Russia. On his mother's side, he is descended from a Polish Ashkenazi family. His Ashkenazi great-grandfather was Zerah Barnet, who helped found the Orthodox Meah Shearim district, just outside the Old City of Jerusalem, and a Hebrew yeshiva in Jaffa.
He attended Saint Martin's School of Art and the Royal Academy, studying painting during his time there. After college his jobs included working in general and psychiatric hospitals, as well as in a theatre workshop and at the Royal Opera House. Besides theatre work and practising graphic design, he also taught at RADA and the Architectural Association. He ran workshops for the Wrekin Trust and has lectured at the Theosophical Society, the Royal College of Art and the Prince of Wales Institute of Architecture.
He has been a student and tutor of the Kabbalah for more than 40 years and has taught it since 1971. During this time he has visited nearly all the old major centres of Kabbalah in Europe, North Africa and Israel, while specialising in the Toledano Tradition, a form that derives from the Sephardi Kabbalah which developed in early medieval Spain and France and which included among its focal points the towns of Lunel and Girona and the city of Toledo.
These and other centres flowered, producing among their practitioners of mysticism and Kabbalah Solomon ibn Gabirol, Isaac the Blind and Nachmanides. During this period Kabbalists incorporated into their expositions and exegeses a degree of Neoplatonic emanationism, called Ein Sof by kabbalists, that conformed to the requirements of Jewish theology and philosophy, though, to some extent, in medieval times, it conflicted with the Aristotelian approach to Jewish philosophy by Maimonides and his followers.
A fellow of the Temenos Academy, UK, instituted by the poet, Kathleen Raine, Halevi regularly lectures there. He has taught groups on every continent, including at Interface Boston, the New York Open Centre; The Centre for Psychological Astrology, UK; Omega Institute; New York Kabbalah Society; the Jungian Institute of Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Karen Kabbalah, Atlanta, as well as in synagogues and at rabbinical colleges. He is the Director of Tutors for the Kabbalah Society and for many years ran a series of Kabbalah courses at Regent's College in London.
He travels widely and runs a continuing series of Way of Kabbalah courses and lectures held in many countries, including America, Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Germany, Holland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Scotland and Spain, though few of his lectures have been published and fewer still are online; similarly with his articles. . Over the years, he has also taken part in a series of interviews for various media.
Halevi is as well known a writer as he is a teacher, having published 18 books, including a kabbalistic novel and books on astrology and kabbalistic astrology. Contemporary astrologers such as Judy Hall refer to the work he has done on the latter. , p. 22. In the earlier part of his career he wrote a number of books on stagecraft. Both he and his work on the Toledano Tradition are publicly recognised. and his work has now been translated into over thirteen languages, including Hebrew.
Many of his publications are issued under his Hebrew name, Z'ev ben Shimon Halevi, a contraction of his full family name of Z'ev ben Shimon ben Joshua Haham-Halevi. Both of his families were Levites, according to family records. When his grandfather migrated to England in 1900 the name Haham was recorded as Kaufman; it was later changed to Kenton.