We notice them in the city, enjoying coffee and laughing together. Their loving connection is apparent, expressed in each and every exchange between them. We know them as close friends, sometimes raising their families in the face of real hardship yet maintaining their supportive and nurturing oneness. We are familiar with them, these fortunate people who seem to have found their "soul mates." And once again we ask ourselves, "Will that ever happen to me? When will I find my soul mate? How do I find my soul mate? Can I find my soul mate? Do I need to do something in order to access my future, to find and live happily ever after with my soul mate?" We walk through our lives with shopping lists in hand of all the qualities we require/expect/demand of our ultimate other. As time passes and we grow older, we extend and refine our personal lists, assuming that by focusing on what we want, we will find what we are looking for. We've defined and redefined our spiritual, emotional and physical needs - yet often we neglect to explore what we have to offer as individuals seeking our zivug (pairing). Many of us expect him/her to just knock on the door, pick us out of a crowd, and live happily ever after. We are all waiting for it to "happen" to us. Finding your soul mate doesn't just "happen," says Prof. Joshua H. Ritchie, MD, who runs the Refuah Institute's course for singles "Finding Your Soulmate - The Thirteen Steps to Love" in Jerusalem. Like all things worthwhile, he says, we need to prepare ourselves for our ultimate other. We need to stand back and look at our own reflections, study our inner desires and define and refine ourselves. Only by exemplifying the qualities we pray for in our soul mates can we ultimately attract the true reflection of who we really are - the caring, nurturing and loving person we search for outwardly is within ourselves - and our ultimate other is truly ezer kenegdo, (a helpmate who challenges us) a perfect symphony of balance between two souls. This is what we truly desire. Ritchie established the Refuah Institute - a philanthropic organization - in New York in 1994. It is dedicated to providing educational services that promote holistic healing of the body, mind and soul in accordance with Torah hashkafa (outlook) values. Among the Refuah Institute's many accomplishments is the establishment in Jerusalem in 1996 of the Refuah Institute MiLev Center for Crisis Counseling, an Israeli non-profit organization. Through the Refuah Institute's training program, over 800 crisis counselors, supervisors and facilitators have been trained. In 1997, Milev established the first English speaking Crisis Hotline in Israel, which has received over 25,000 calls so far. Ritchie has been a professor in numerous medical schools and and a teacher and practitioner of counseling and psychotherapy for over 30 years. His closely typed 10 pages of academic degrees, awards and honors, appointments and publications are succinctly described, in Ritchie's own words: "I have been a spiritual seeker for 52 years, committed to Torah for 48 years, devoted husband for 48 years, a father for 45 years, a medical educator, published author and physician for 42 years, a student and supporter of Rav Shlomo Carlebach and ben bayis of the Amshinover Rebbe, and a cancer survivor for 19 years." Ritchie lives with his wife, talented author and artist Liliane Ritchie, at the edge of the Ramot forest. They have five children and many grandchildren. The Ritchie's continue their outreach and training programs, developing and contributing to the harmony of life in Israel and worldwide. According to Ritchie, some of the key elements for encountering ourselves and finding our soul mates are:
Knowing ourselves and who we really areâ€¦
Developing good midot - quality of character and behavior
Defining what we really want, our true goals
Discovering our meaning, purpose and fulfillment in life
Exploring our ideal - our image of a quality marriage
Learning to find and recognize our soul mate
How we can facilitate the process of finding the one to marry
Knowing quickly when someone is not for us
The Refuah Institute is currently expanding its curriculum with on-line "webinars" for long distance course participation. The Refuah Institute aims to meet the needs of the Anglo and native Israeli community at large, by "reinforcing the principles of mind body soul Torah connection."
The Jerusalem-based Refuah Institute is now offering a dynamic interactive course via the internet for singles [as well as shadchanim (matchmakers) and counselors], based on Ritchie's book, "The 13 Steps to Harmonious Relationships."
Students will be able to view the course in Jerusalem and participate live via video and audio connection on their home computers. This course will prepare them for their combined future by training you in these essential 13 steps and will provide indispensable guidance to help you find your soul mate quickly and easily.
The course is comprised of five workshop sessions conducted by the Refuah Institute in Jerusalem and broadcast worldwide over the internet for live interaction. Each session is 1 hour 40 minutes of live audio interaction between all the participants. For more information, click here for information and registration, www.refuah.net.