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Dynamics of Hope Consulting

Rabbi Rafael is a unique human being who radiates appreciation, acceptance, encouragement, under -standing and wisdom. He shares his knowledge, vision and guidance in a kindly and gentle manner. Yet his presence is stimulating, provoking one to think, see and feel more deeply. Asking for help is not easy. I would encourage you to give yourself the gift of his assistance. - L.L.T

My family has known Rabbi Rafael in several capacities as a spiritual leader, guidance counselor, and friend.  He has continually offered us unbound acceptance, compassion, and wisdom.  I am fortunate to have known the Rabbi and to have the opportunity to affirm my religious faith with an individual with whom each encounter is a blessing. - R.H.

Rabbi Goldstein is a warm spiritual leader committed to listening, understanding and helping to the best of his abilities those of us who reach out to him with the hopes of finding understanding, support and tranquility in the midst of our afflictions.  He provided my family and me with practical advice, spiritual support and important solutions to a set of challenges faced during a difficult time in our lives. His wisdom, friendship and profound respect to our situation and necessities had a very positive influence in our lives.  Working with him throughout my father’s sickness was an uplifting experience. - M.R.

Rabbi Rafael's steadiness, warmth and consistent support reassured me that my rollercoaster emotions after my husband's death were normal. He even supported my inability to give my husband's clothes away for over a year.  His reassurance let me recover in my own time until I could move forward.  He also taught me that it was okay to laugh even tho my heart was broken.  I will never forget him.  - D.K.

One Tuesday afternoon in February, I walked into a conference room  and introduced myself to Rabbi Rafael Goldstein.   I had just lost my son and husband and heard about an extraordinary bereavement group at the Temple.  From that moment on there was a calming affect in his presence, which allowed me to begin dealing with my own critical issues. Rabbi Goldstein’s rabbinic genius and counseling assisted me in being able to manage my life through difficult times.  Rabbi Goldstein has helped me to set goals, say many blessings a day, stay in a positive place mentally, and to turn pain into love.

Rabbi Goldstein’s in-depth conversations...gave me new strength to live life to the fullest.   He was instrumental in dealing with my healing. Rabbi Goldstein has implanted new and realistic goals in my life’s journey.  His grief support ... led me to the acceptance of my losses and assisted me to move on with a new life.  - M.S. 

There's a scene in the movie A Fish Called Wanda where Terry Gillam is attempting to assassinate the old lady who is a potential witness against the bad guys.  He drops an eighty-ton block of stone, hoping to get her with it, but only hits her little Pomeranian dog, whom she has on a leash.  She is looking the other way, and doesn't notice the enormous block of stone has fallen on her dog until she jerks on the leash, trying to get the pooch to follow her.  She notices she has to tug much harder than usual; she turns and looks, and gradually the matter becomes clear to her...

Rabbi Rafael has been to my life kind of like that eighty-ton block of stone was to the old lady.  I had to have been the most obnoxious, contentious, smart-assed student in his classes in the four congregations our group morphed into, yet he always treated my questions and hairsplitting with respect, and answered them with more care, understanding, and knowledgeable accuracy than I really had any right to expect.  

I was not born a Jew.  The love of my life and I had been living together happily unmarried for some eight years or so when we finally decided it would be a good time to tie the knot.  I hesitantly broached the subject of geyrut to the Rabbi; he didn't even tell me I was a damned fool for even thinking about it, but said he'd mentor me through it, and allowed as how he thought I had a Jewish soul-- how did he know?, I still wonder.  It took a year, but he sat on my beit din, and not only did he sign my tudat geyrut, but he officiated at our wedding only a couple of months later.  He has been a wonderful teacher.  I wish I could give him something in exchange for all he has given me; I don't even think he knows how much I owe him.

So, whenever I jerk on that leash to get whatever-it-is moving in the direction I want it to move, I turn and look, and there's something Rav Rafael said, did, or answered, sitting like an eighty-ton block, waiting to be noticed...

I sure wish we had him back. - T.K. 

I have IBM (Inclusion Body Myositis), a neuromuscular condition that is progressive, irreversible, and untreatable.   With your guidance, and the group's help, I was able to find "meaning in my suffering".  IBM gave me a second adolescence during which I learned to live with the new, and ever changing, me.

My life is not perfect, but now I am able to say when I awaken, "Lord, you have given me the gift of another day; help me to use it wisely."  Previously, I was more likely to have said, "SHIT! I have to suffer through another day"  Your guidance put me on the road to the most perfect happiness I have ever felt.  I am content with me ... as I am.  I have value not because of what I have or make or do;  I have value because of who I am.  I have "matured" into a person who is ALIVE and wishes to stay that way; at least for now. - H.T.

Rabbi, I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed and learned from your book Access to G-d. As you know I’m working ... Its not an easy job but I have one part of the day that I really look forward to. After lunch I am responsible for getting 6 children down for their naps. After I get them all settled in we play a soothing cd of nursery rhymes to very soothing music. As I sat there and watched the beauty of  sleeping children I read your beautiful book.

My prayer for you is that G-d continues to bless you and allow you to bring your gifts to all who need you for whatever reason. You have been so inspiring to me.  L.G. 

A few times, Rabbi Rafael substituted for my regular rabbi when he was out of town. Rabbi Rafael led services in such a way that everyone felt included, and no one felt the absence of our regular rabbi. During the Torah service, he was able to follow the words in the scroll from the opposite side of the Torah table, in essence reading upside down! Another time, I attended a shiva minyan for a friend whose father had just died. Rabbi Rafael used a prayer book with which he was not familiar, but no one could have guessed. He was warm and exuded support not only for the mourner but for everyone in attendance. - C.G.

In all lives, an occasional Dark Cloud enters. It may be because of a loss, a sickness, a dispute or just an impasse in one's plans. All in all, life does have its disappointments and setbacks. It is at that time, one needs the input of people who are not only experienced at helping us perceive the impact, but also the sensitivities of understanding where we are and how we may go next. Many in the professional world of Consoling and/or Counseling have the academic credentials, but few have the insight to the sensitivities. 

Rabbi Goldstein does have both. Rabbi Goldstein uses his reasonable interpretations of religious tradition as the path he follows. Though he is of the Jewish sources, it is really much more universal than that. Rabbi Goldstein helped me on the loss of my son, who was just blossoming at age 40, and such a circumstance can bring tensions into a family that should not happen at such a critical time, but it does-those who have experienced it know. It was his good advice that fostered the correct thought path through the chaos in my mind.

I am not a religious person, and though a Jew, am more of an ethnic Jew than a religious one. But this is not about me, but an endorsement of Rabbi Goldstein and a bit of advice to all who are facing walls in their passage along the path of living-- that a personal encounter with him may show you a way around that wall which – to you- is very real and can not and should not be disregarded. - S.B.

I first met Rabbi Goldstein in a 3 session workshop he taught. It was a refreshing new way to experience the High Holy Days. Through this first experience I knew I had met a very special person. I brought Rabbi to our temple to do a Scholar In Residence weekend. Rabbi was so inspiring and touched the hearts of all who attended. Through the years I have been lucky to have kept in touch with him on many levels. He continues to touch my soul with his gifts and beautiful neshama. May G-d bless him and allow him to bring his gift to all who need him for many years to come. J.R.

Rabbi Goldstein was a pioneer director of Project Chicken Soup in Los Angeles.  I worked very closely with him to establish a corps of volunteers who cooked Kosher meals to deliver to people with HIV/AIDS.  Recipients were not necessarily Jewish, just in need of these services. During his tenure the warmth and love he projected to clients, volunteers and others helped this project become a viable, strong organization that still exists. - M.P.

What a blessing it was to work with a man who really loves what he does and loves the people he works with. In the few months we were associated, Rafael never stopped thanking me for my small efforts.  This seemingly little recognition meant the world to me and inspired me to want to do more. 

His reaching out to the community in an effort to create a better world was an inspiration to everyone he touched. - S.G. 

For many years I attended Rabbi Rafael's spiritual healing group in San Diego as I was trying to emotionally accept my loss of physical ability due to Post Polio Syndrome. With his guidance, I was more able to accept the changes in my life. One of the many lessons I learned from him was to "compartmentalize" and this skill helps me to more often live in the moment. I have no doubt that without the benefit of his wisdom, my life today would be even more difficult to cope with than it is.   -  H.N.