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Refuah Institute to Hold Torah-Psychology-Medicine Conference

Top lecturers to discuss Torah contributions to positive psychology, preventive medicine, healing at Int'l Torah Psychology & Medicine Conference.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 12/20/2007, 11:30 AM

The Refuah Institute in Jerusalem announces the 1st Annual International Conference on Torah Psychology and Medicine, to be held in Jerusalem next week.  Its two days of lectures and discussion groups will be dedicated to exploring how Torah thought has contributed to the world in the fields of well-being, healing, health care, positive psychology, attaining happiness, and more. 

The conference will be held Dec. 26-27 at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem. It is based on the Refuah Institute's unique manner of studying and teaching Torah psychology and mind-body medicine, which combines the Torah heritage of religious and spiritual teachings with modern scientific appreciation of positive psychology and the mind body therapies.  

Among the speakers will be former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Harvard lecturer Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, Prof. Dr. Gerald Schroeder, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Dr. Miriam Adahan, Dr. Lisa Aiken, Rabbi Simcha Cohen, Rabbi Zev Leff, Rabbi Mordechai Neugroschel, and more.

Throughout most of the two days, four sessions will be going on simultaneously - three in English and one in Hebrew.  Some sample lectures include "Science Synergistically Enhanced by Torah" by Prof. Joshua H. Ritchie, "Finding the Soul within Science and Torah" by Prof. Schroeder, Dr. Chana Stroe and others on "Youth at Risk," and Dr. Ed Pakes and Reuben Tradburks on "Widows, Orphans & Converts."  Coaching, doctor-patient relationships, the right to refuse therapy and other topics will be discussed from the Torah's standpoint.

The Refuah Institute, founded and headed by Prof. Ritchie in 1994, is "dedicated to providing education and services that promote health and healing of body and soul in accordance with Torah Hashkafa principles," its website says.  It offers a range of Training Courses and Diploma programs, having taught over 300 students to date. 

In 1996, Refuah established the Milev Center for Crisis Counseling in Jerusalem, which has trained over 800 crisis counselors, supervisors and facilitators who now staff many of the diverse crisis counseling services operating in Israel today. Milev, in 1997, established a national Crisis Counseling Hotline, the first such service for the English-speaking population in Israel, which has received over 25,000 calls.