Dear Simcha, Your presentation on “Jewish Ghost Stories and Views of the Afterlife” was utterly delightful. Clearly there was a hunger for more than lox and bagels at Congregation B’nai Harim today. People were bubbling with excitement afterwards. Even the most extreme rationalists were willing to entertain the possibility that there might be something more out there than science and reason can explain. Thank you for a lovely morning/afternoon of teaching.
Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum
Congregation B’nai Harim
Pocono Pines, PA
Dear Simcha, Thank you again for the wonderful series of programs you presented here in Duluth last weekend.   We have had much positive feedback from our congregants and other community members who attended.   Many were surprised and impressed to learn about the richness of Jewish traditions concerning afterlife and olam haba.Your divrei torah, story telling and talks were well received and have triggered many deep discussions in our community. We are so appreciative of your visit and I would heartily recommend you as a potential scholar-in-residence for other Jewish congregations. B’shalom,

Rabbi David Steinberg
Temple Israel
Duluth, MN

Dear Simcha,  It was a privilege to have you present your wisdom on Jewish views of the afterlife to our End-of-Life class last month. Thank you so much for making the time to share your very special blend of pastoral, theological and textual perspectives. Your integration of pedagogical insights added a whole new dimension to the students’ learning. I know that these emerging rabbis will draw on your unique synthesis of our tradition’s approach to eternal life many times as they accompany dying individuals and their dear ones.

Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman
Director, Hiddur – The Center for Aging and Judaism
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College 
Wyncote, PA

Dear Simcha,  Thank you so much for being a guest on SpiritTalk Live! You were fabulous – informative, insightful, profound and passionate. You have the great ability to make deep and difficult theological concepts easy to understand. You took us on a well-guided journey through Jewish history, and you brought us to the modern world, where age-old ideas are honored and at the same time, reshaped to reflect contemporary sensibilities. Your patients and clients are so fortunate to have you as their spiritual guide. I am very happy that you had this worldwide forum to share your wisdom and your inspiration. Many, many thanks…
Rabbi Wayne Dosick
SpiritTalk Live!
La Costa, CA
Dr. Simcha Raphael is an incredible workshop leader. He engages the participants and gains a sense of where they are at and what they need from the workshop at the start. His use of stories and his wonderful ability to tell stories is an extremely useful and powerful tool. Reference to text and history helped to put into perspective from where our connotations of the theme originate. He has a very real philosophy about dealing with the topic and especially in dealing with children which is not to be afraid to talk about death but also be aware of the developmental ability of the child to process the information.

Amy Geboff, M.S.W.
Director Youth and Family Education
Congregation Ohev Shalom
Orlando, FL

Dr. Raphael please accept our sincere appreciation for your outstanding presentation on “Spirit in Hospice Care: Moving from Apologetic Discomfort to Deathbed Soul-Guiding.” This program was highly anticipated and had the largest participation of any program in our year-long series, Living with Dying. The mission of this continuing education programming is to open dialogue about end-of-life experiences, particularly raising issues that are less commonly discussed. Our audience of healthcare providers crossed many disciplines from nurses to administrators, chaplains to social workers. Your professional ability, both as a speaker and educator, raised everyone’s level of consciousness to a new awareness of the deathbed experience.  Your captivating energy and passion for the subject moved the audience to embrace spirit as a larger concept of existence than life itself. For this audience who deals with death on a regular basis, they felt suddenly empowered to assist beyond the physical and emotional support that they provide to their patients and families. They came away understanding the concept of soul-guiding.

Ritajean Reed, M.A.
Director of Volunteer Services
Wissahickon Hospice
University of Pennsylvania Health System
Philadelphia, PA

Last week our Miami spiritual care initiative sponsored with our Board of Rabbis a Yom Iyun with Rabbi Simcha Raphael, author of Jewish Views of the Afterlife. Simcha brought up again and again that Jews have so many questions regarding the soul and the afterlife, and are under the impression that Judaism has nothing to say about it. He mentioned the poverty of discourse around these issues. If you are looking for a fascinating scholar-in-residence, I highly recommend Simcha. He has programs which are eclectic and original, deal with both standard Jewish ritual as well as Kabbalah.

Rabbi Frederick L Klein, MPhil, BCC
Director,  Mishkan Miami: The Jewish Connection for Spiritual Support
Executive VP, Rabbinical Association of Greater Miami

Through lively storytelling and fascinating scholarship, Reb Simcha Raphael invites us to stretch assumptions about Judaism and the afterlife. Who knew there was so much in our teachings and literature about the experience of life after death? Why has that been downplayed in recent centuries? Adding the perspective of his own training and experience in psychology, Simcha has created an accessible synthesis of mystical teachings of the stages the soul goes through from the death of the body to spiritual unification with the Source of Life. He also reminds us how our forefathers spoke openly about and prepared for their deaths. Simcha calls on us to embrace that tradition by making choices and having conversations with our loved ones about our own deaths as a gift to all involved, especially the survivors. I find him to be a knowledgeable and engaging teacher.

Jean Berman
Portland Chevra Kaddisha
Portland, ME


I benefit tremendously from monthly Skype sessions with  Dr. Simcha Raphael.  He provides valuable support and guidance, helping me integrate my many roles of rabbi, activist, parent/child/sibling/spouse, and spiritual seeker.  His grounding in Jewish thought, his insights gained from long acquaintance with Reb Zalman, and his expertise in psychotherapy make him uniquely qualified to serve as a counselor to religious professionals.  I hope other people will take advantage of this opportunity.  We owe to those whom we serve to take care of ourselves.

Rabbi N., California


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