Why is Jewish Spiritual Therapy so Effective?
In order to change, a person needs to have emotional resources. Jewish Spiritual Therapy first teaches a person to connect to the Source of all existence, to feel our Creator’s love and presence in our lives. This creates a very powerful resource from which place the healing can begin. Next, our Jewish Spiritual Therapists have the tools to enter the subconscious mind to find the true causes and roots of one’s negative emotions and behavior. Jewish Spiritual Therapists use the wisdom of Judaism to gove a person healthy alternatives to old habits, childhood defenses and unproductive behavioral patterns. Ultimately, Jewish Spiritual Therapists, with the help of G-d, can help you live to your utmost potential and receive all the goodness in this world that G-d wants to give you.
About Our Therapists
Founder and Director
Efim Svirsky, founder and director of the Institute of Spiritual Therapy, former Educational Director of the Russian Program of Aish HaTorah (an international Jewish outreach/educational organization) is an acclaimed worldwide lecturer and teacher on topics such as Jewish philosophy, Torah and psychology and Torah and science. His students number in the tens of thousands. Efim has also touched the lives of hundreds of thousands through a weekly radio show broadcast to more than one million Russian Jews in Israel and Russia. In addition, he is known from his numerous television appearances in Israel and Russia, and from his feature pages in a popular newspaper.
Born in Moscow during the era of the Iron Curtain, Efim is the son of a famous dissident writer – one of the first to shake the foundation of the Communist party. After his family’s fortuitous immigration to the West, Efim graduated from Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy. Afterwards, he took a host of post-graduate courses in manual medicine at Michigan State University, post-graduate medical school, culminating in Cranial-Sacral Therapy and became the first instructor of Cranial-Sacral Therapy in Canada.
A highly successful therapist, Efim opened the Institute of Cranial Therapy, a comprehensive treatment center for chronic stress and pain in Toronto. While doing deep tissue work, Efim became acutely aware of the role our emotions play in the creation and maintenance of pain and stress-related disorders. Deciding to go to the root of the problem, he then became a certified hypnotherapist.
Efim’s journey into the subconscious mind led him to realize the importance of the spiritual dimension in healing emotional blocks. As a child in the Soviet Union cut off from his heritage, Efim only knew persecution because of Jewish roots. As an adult, he began to explore the spiritual side of his heritage as it interfaced daily with his work with his patients. Hence, he embarked on another journey into the deep, spiritual world of an observant Jew connecting with his Creator.
Combining the ancient wisdom of Torah with modern psychology, Efim spent over 20 years developing and refining a system of spiritual and emotional growth, the subject of his book,Connection. With an accompanying CD-ROM containing 60 spiritual exercises, Efim leads his reader to be able to feel the presence of the Creator, work on his or her individual emotional blocks and experience life-changing spiritual growth.
Efim has published a number of well-known books in Russian: Without Dialog – Abyss, Freedom and Choice, Torah and Psychology, and Transformation: A Journey of Psycho/Spiritual Healing.
Efim currently lectures internationally and also trains rabbis and rabbinical students in his Torah-based system of psychological/spiritual counseling, as well as maintaining a private clinic. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and five children. Efim is available for consultations in English and Russian.
Alexander (Sasha) Fridmar
Alexander Fridmar was educated both in Russia and Israel in the fields of psychiatry and rehabilitation medicine. He also served in the medical corps of the Israeli army.
Alex began learning Jewish Spiritual Therapy with Efim Svirsky in 1997. He has worked at the Institute since 1999. Alex has developed a unique ability to receive information about the causes of a person’s problem (or the situation in which they find themselves). This technique of “instant evaluation” can be done in person, through a photograph or through information about a person.
Alex also can instantly evaluate a person’s strong and weak character traits and help a person to maximize his strong points and change his weak ones. In addition to helping a with a variety of problems, this methodology is extremely helpful in treating children, helping a person to choose a life partner, and working through marital and family issues.
Alex works with individuals and also leads groups, teaching the techniques of Jewish Spiritual Therapy. He has lectured many times to both religious and non-religious groups in the United States, Canada, Israel, Russia and the Ukraine. He is also available for consultations on the telephone and through Skype.
Alex was born in Moscow and immigrated to Israel in 1990. He lives with his wife and five children in Jerusalem. Alexander is available for consultations in Hebrew, Russian and English.
Sample Spiritual Exercise
Sample Audio Class
Because the Creator is One:
- He is almighty. He can rule on any level, from the spiritual to the physical, both at the micro and macro level.
- He is omnipresent. In fact, He is right here. Rabbi Israel Salanter* used to say, “When you say that God is everywhere, remember that He is in you too.”
- He is eternal. He will always exist. It means that the Creator is present now.
- He is perfect. All character defects are caused by a lack of something. But because the Creator encompasses everything, He has no defects. He has created and sustained everything in the world, and at every moment.
- He is kind. He created us to give to us. In fact, He created the concept of kindness and the feelings of both kindness and love.
At this point, the question of evil might pop into your mind. We will deal with evil and where it comes from a bit later, but for now we are concentrating on feeling the presence of the Creator here and now. If you take seriously that the Creator is here right now, that He is your father — the best father you can ever have and more — who wishes to give you everything that you need for your spiritual growth, how should you feel? Here are some popular answers:
- Able to do anything.
The next question for you is how do you actually feel when you think about the existence of the Creator? This is precisely what you are going to find out during our next exercise. While in a state of deep relaxation, you are going to focus on this. Before you begin, you may be wondering, “What am I supposed to see?” The answer is “nothing.” On one hand, it is impossible to see the Creator, and on the other hand, everything that exists is a manifestation of Him. What we can focus on, however, is the thought of His presence here and now. Allow me to clarify. When you meet someone you love and haven’t seen for a long time, you rush to embrace him or her. You close your eyes and take time to enjoy being with the person. You don’t need to look at them at that moment; you just want to feel their presence. The same goes with our Creator. We do not have to create His image in our minds; we can focus simply on the fact that He is presently here. The key to this exercise is to think only about this one thought and to notice what feelings result from it.
We will start again with our deep relaxation exercise. Remember Mozart’s music? If you study it but don’t hear it, you will not understand it. The same is true for these exercises. Take your time to put yourself in a state of deep relaxation. I will wait for you. Sit comfortably without crossing your arms and legs. Close your eyes. It is time to relax. Allow yourself to relax. Relax the muscles in your shoulders. If necessary, shake off the tension in your shoulders and relax them. Your shoulder muscles are relaxing. The relaxation is moving down to your back muscles and to your legs. Your leg muscles are relaxing. They are very well relaxed all the way to your feet and toes. Make sure that the muscles in your feet and toes are relaxed. Now the relaxation is beginning to move up from the bottom of your feet. A wave of relaxation is moving up your legs. The relaxation is moving into the muscles of your stomach. Your stomach muscles are relaxing. Your chest muscles are relaxing. Your breathing is becoming deeper and more rhythmical. Now the relaxation is going through your shoulder muscles into your arms. You are relaxing the muscles in your arms, hands and fingers. Now let the wave of relaxation go to your forearms, upper arms and shoulders. And now your shoulders are relaxing even more. The relaxation is moving into your neck and head. We are relaxing the muscles of the neck, the back of your head, and then the muscles of your face — the muscles around your eyes, nose, mouth and ears. Take a deep breath in and out. Imagine that the air around your face is like a wonderful steam, filled with relaxation. Every time you inhale this relaxing steam, it fills your head and your mind starts to relax. The steam is then filling your chest, and from there it spreads around your whole body. It is a deep, pleasant relaxation. And now this pleasant wave of relaxation is going through your already relaxed muscles from head to toes. Follow it with your mind’s eye all the way down to your toes. The second wave of relaxation is returning from your toes and into your head. Allow yourself to relax even deeper. While you are relaxing deeper and deeper, focus on one single thought: The Creator is here now. The Creator is here now. The Creator is here now. The Creator is here now. Focus only on that thought. Now switch from this thought to your emotions and feelings. What are you feeling right now? What emotions or moods are coming to you? Spend as much time as you need to register these feelings. Just become a passive observer. Complete these statements:
- I am focusing on the fact that the Creator is here and now, and I am feeling _____.
- I am focusing on the fact that the Creator is here and now, and I am sensing ____.
- I am focusing on the fact that the Creator is here and now, and I am experiencing _____.
The Creator is here and now. On the count of five, you may now come out of the state of deep relaxation. One… two… three… four… five.
People have had various reactions to this exercise from, “I am going to throw up,” (!) to, “I feel fantastic harmony and happiness.” Most people feel peace and a general — but sometimes very deep — feeling of safety and relaxation. Some people feel warmth in their bodies or hands and feet. Many see colors. Some people feel uplifted or feel they are flying. All of these feeling are “right.” There are no wrong feelings. Allow yourself to simply feel and see in your mind everything that happens. The most important thing is to continuously concentrate on the Creator’s presence, without trying to imagine Him. Just register everything that comes naturally. Some people report that they don’t see or feel anything. But this cannot be. They may be feeling something different from what they were expecting to feel or see. If you belong to this group of people, try to distinguish what you are feeling from what you expected to feel or what you think you should have felt. Sometimes it will be a feeling of tension, fear, emptiness, darkness or something similar. But it is a guarantee that you will see and feel something. Speak with this “something” and ask it to leave and not interfere with what you are doing now.