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Irwin Katsof

Irwin Katsof was a Rabbi from 1982 to 2005. After 25 years of serving his community, he decided to move into business and became an investment banker. In 2012, he realized he had achieved all the material possessions that signify success: beautiful houses, cars and vacations. Yet, despite his perfect home, wife and grandchildren, he realized that he was missing something in life and that all the success in the material world did not bring him happiness. He began Jungian analysis, telling his analyst that though his life looked great from the outside, he simply couldn’t go on. He had hit rock bottom and had stopped being able to function at work or home. He spent a year in analysis before realizing he wasn’t connecting with it. At this point, Irwin discovered Gestalt Therapy and Core Energetics. These modalities are a full body experience, and fit into his belief that early childhood wounding stays with us as a full body experience. In essence, our bodies never forget shame, they remember every little hurt and every time we feel we aren’t enough. The body is a full muscle memory. Over time, most of us contract our bodies, emotions and muscles and allow ourselves to experience and express less and less emotional range due to a fear of being hurt.

Irwin spent a year in Core Energetics starting to work through his childhood pain. Following this therapeutic breakthrough, he decided to invest time and effort in helping others through Core Energetics practices. Together with his wife, Judy, he began a four- year training program that included intense group therapy retreats. During this time, they worked to move through their own pain and discomfort. Irwin has also spent the last 3 years working with Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (or TRE®), a simple yet innovative series of exercises that assists the body in releasing deep muscular patterns of stress, tension and trauma, created by Dr. David Berceli, PhD. After a rigorous training program in TRE, Irwin was certified as a TRE facilitator by the Worldwide TRE Institute.

Irwin is always searching for new ways to connect to one’s inner self. He has also embarked on a training program in using the Enneagram as a tool for personal growth, and he is completing a Certificate in Meditation training. 

As a guide at the Jerusalem Center, Irwin believes in holding space for others. He works to release trauma while creating a feeling of safety, through a journey that is uniquely curated for each individual. His practice is a process of guiding through a transformation where he provides the tools needed for self-empowerment and trauma release.

Today, Irwin lives in Jerusalem and begins each day with mindfulness and meditative practice followed by a daily TRE tremor to release the trauma he is holding. 

Irwin has garnered a reputation as a conscientious businessman that seeks out opportunities to both aid businesses and the global good.

Before Irwin was a businessman, he was a father and a rabbi. As a father of eight, Irwin wants to see his children (and 20 grandchildren) inherit a world that is on its way to a more peaceful and harmonious future. As a rabbi, Irwin believes that people have a responsibility to be kind and compassionate to each other. These are the foundations of Irwin’s business philosophy.

In 1982, newlywed, Irwin took his bride, Judy, and moved from Jerusalem’s Old City to Los Angeles. There he organized Jewish adult educational programs. These programs were very successful and became the world-class model for Jewish adult education. Among these courses was the cutting-edge “Twenty-Something” seminar which was featured on the front page of the Los Angeles Times View section and which has been reproduced around the globe.

Irwin was ordained as a rabbi in 1992. With his new title, he wanted to inform the world of Jews and their current situations. In 1994, he organized the largest-ever international satellite broadcast in the Jewish world called “Help Our People Know.” The show shed light on the plight of Jews in the former Soviet Union who had been denied knowledge of their heritage under the communist regime. Vice President Al Gore, Simon Wiesenthal, Sumner Redstone, and Jeffrey Katzenberg took part in the broadcast, which reached ten countries on four continents.

In 1995, Irwin founded the Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah and shortly thereafter relocated to New York with Judy and their eight children in tow. He served as its Executive Vice President until mid-2004 and thereafter as a Board Member. While working for the Jerusalem Fund, he recruited countless senior level Officers of Fortune 1000 Companies and United States political leadership for his high-level Jerusalem Fund missions to Israel and Jordan between 1996 and 2004.  Former Attorney General John Ashcroft and Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz were just two of the many powerful leaders that took part in the missions. Because of Irwin’s creative, soft-spoken approach, many celebrities, and business leaders were encouraged to connect with their Jewish roots. CNN’s Larry King and AOL Time Warner Investments President Len Leader are among the many that Irwin inspired to get involved in Jerusalem Fund programs.

Irwin launched “Words Can Heal” in 2001. It is a nationwide campaign to strengthen America through the power of words. As Executive Director, he oversaw the fastest and highest-profile media launch of a non-profit organization ever. “Words Can Heal” was featured on over 100 national TV shows, including Oprah, Fox, CBS and ABC primetime news, as well as in 150 leading media outlets – among them the New York Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today – and in an exclusive National Press Club event hosted by Goldie Hawn and broadcast live on C-SPAN and NPR. 

Irwin has written three books and is currently working on his fourth. In 1998, he co-authored with Larry King, Powerful Prayers: Conversations on Faith, Hope and the Human Spirit with Today’s Most Provocative People. The book was ranked the tenth best-selling religious book of the year according to Publishers Weekly. His second book, How to Get Your Prayers Answered, was published in 2000 and reissued in 2002. The third book, The Words Can Heal Handbook: How Changing Your Words Can Change Your Life, was released in 2001. His fourth book – a memoir tentatively entitled A Time of Living Dangerously: Trying to Get Rich While Staying Connected to God – is in progress.

In 2005, Irwin founded the World Congress of Christians, Jews, and Muslims. This organization’s mission is to harness the spiritual power and religious wisdom of these faiths in the service of universal peace and tolerance. 

With his continued desire to grow and learn, Irwin enrolled in a four-year program to become a Certified Core Energetics Practitioner in 2014. Core Energetics was developed by John Pierrakos, MD.; it is a marriage of Body Psychotherapy and Spiritual Development. The work brings consciousness to how individuals block their energy and recreate defense patterns learned in childhood that keep themselves limited and disempowered. He is also completing a specialty in marriage therapy.

Today, Irwin Katsof lives with his family in Monsey, New York. He has twenty grandchildren, seventeen of whom live in Israel.