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The Torah Jew as Certified Life Coach

Source: Hamodia Magazine

By Ahuvah Appelbaum

May 25, 2011


There is no such thing as an unimportant person. Each of us is infinitely valuable. Still, it is human nature to want recognition and status. We look for the best. We gravitate toward the expert — someone who has received good training and has credentials that we trust.


These are the criteria people use to choose a doctor, a counselor, an attorney or any other professional on whose expertise we depend. We admire their milestones of achievement, each of which represents a level of increased knowledge and skill. Achieving each milestone confers status, confidence and respect.


Torah Jews in Professional Careers


As the need for higher education and accreditation grows, members of the frum community have become increasingly resourceful at finding "kosher" ways to enter well-paying professions. Schools and training programs have been created where a frum person can earn that certification — achieve that status — in a way that is compatible with Torah values and lifestyle. Life Coaching is now one of the professions well-suited for a Torah Jew.


How Do Coaching and Torah Judaism Fit Together?


To examine why coaching is a field that a frum person can feel proud to enter, one that fits well with Torah hashkafah, the key is, "v'ahavta l'reicha kamocha," "love your neighbor as yourself." That's the essence of life coaching. The interaction between coach and client is based on ayin tov and lev tov, a good eye and a good heart — seeing the client's G-dly soul and potential and guiding him or her to reach goals which reflect that potential.


Learning the skills of life coaching is wonderfully valuable; it is a soul-enhancing experience to coach and to be coached. Another significant benefit of becoming a certified life coach is that it can lead to a profitable new career or advance someone in their current career.


The Refuah Institute Answers the Need


Established in 1994, the Refuah Institute is a Torah-based learning community where frum Jews bring together Torah hashkafah with the research based skills and techniques of coaching. Refuah, as its name implies, gives over the art of healing.


Dr. Joshua Ritchie, M.D. is the dean and founder of the Refuah Institute. He is a Certified Professional Coach, Reality Therapist and NLP Master Practitioner, a published author, educator and a retired professor of medicine.


Aided by other faculty members and guest lecturers, Professor Ritchie gives over his coaching methods to students. These methods are a synthesis of his secular training and what he learned through years of close association with the Amshinover Rebbe, zt"l. As a ben bayis and shamash to the Rebbe, Rabbi Ritchie was privileged to spend hundreds of hours observing the Rebbe coaching individuals in yechidus.


A High Level of Training


The 180-hour one-year training program includes interactive lectures, demonstrations and supervised practice sessions. Students gain valuable coaching skills enriched with an overview of positive psychology, cognitive therapy, reality therapy and NLP. Students are provided handouts, textbook and headset.


Among Refuah Institute's distinguished faculty members are Rabbi Zelig Pliskin; Rabbi Eliezer Glatt, M.A., Associate Dean; Rabbi Zev Leff; Rabbi Natan Schafer, MSC; Stewart Hirsch, J.D.; Rebbitzen Liliane Ritchie and Rebbitzen Rifka Finkel.


Students attend via phone, Skype, or WebEx, or they can come to the Yerushalayim campus. To date, hundreds of individuals have graduated Refuah's training programs.


What Do Refuah Graduates Do?


Refuah Graduates receive the Refuah Institute's professional diploma, and certification by the AAPC as a professional coach. The student then has the credentials and the skills to practice as a life coach, or may utilize their skills to successfully work in a variety of organizational and educational settings. They have acquired skills and credentials that are recognized and are in growing demand. Refuah graduates are using their coaching skills as: life coaches, school counselors, administrators, educators, kiruv professionals, shadchanim, marriage, family and career counselors, and community leaders.


Program Beginning in June


Classes for the upcoming course will, iy"H, be held weekly on Sundays, beginning June 12, 2011, and can be attended via live interactive phone conference, video conference or on the Jerusalem campus.


Free Open House and Lecture in Boro Park Sunday June 5th


The Refuah Institute will be hosting an exciting event open to the public on Sunday June 5th at the Seville Manor, 5602 11th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY.


Dr. Joshua Ritchie, MD the Dean of the Institute, will lecture and answer questions on "Coaching the Refuah Way" at 11:00 am EST via Video-Conference. This will be followed by a reception for guests, graduating Refuah students and alumni with a light luncheon buffet at 12:30 pm EST.This is an opportunity for prospective students to meet and talk to our graduates and faculty. The graduation ceremony will begin at 1:30 pm EST.


Join the June 5th Open House by Telephone Conference


The entire program will be broadcast via interactive telephone conference, and by video conference. Please contact the Refuah offices for details.


Anyone interested in learning more about coaching and about the Refuah Institute is welcome to join this unique free event.


For information Telephone: 646-395-9613, 972-2-571-5112 (Israel), email: or visit

R' Pliskin, Prof Ritchie, and R' Leff presenting Yona Pollack with his Refuah Diploma

Thank you so much to all of the Refuah Staff! This has been a wonderful year, and I really appreciate all of the support and great information we received.


~ Elayna Weisel MSW, AAPC


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