The All New Whole Health Forum
The Whole Health Forum is taking the country by storm. Here’s the inside story of one couple’s dream that has become a five day residential health gathering in Even Sapir, Jerusalem from May 15-20.
Question: What is the basic concept behind the Whole Health Forum?
Sheldon and Ginat Rice: Israel is known to be on the leading edge of biology, technology and innovation. What people may not know is that Israel is a world leader in holistic and natural health. There is so much talent and interest in naturally obtaining and maintaining optimal health. People want to find out what they can do to ensure their own and their family’s well-being. The Whole Health Forum is the answer in five days of natural health presentations.
Question: How did you conceive of the idea to create the Forum?
Sheldon and Ginat: We’ve been macrobiotic guides and teachers for the past 35 years. For decades, we’ve been traveling to Europe and our native US to teach at international health festivals. Each year we postpone our dream to create something similar here at home. Finally, it’s our turn.
Question: Do you have experience in organizing something on such a broad scale?
Sheldon and Ginat: Yes and no. Every year we organize a macrobiotic conference during the intermediary days of Sukkoth. We also run monthly dinner / lecture evenings in Jerusalem, and previously cooked and served lavish healthy dinners for up to 25 guests on a bi-weekly basis. But we’ve never done anything on this scale. It’s a nice challenge for our old age–Ginat is almost 65 and Sheldon is already 80.
Question: What was the process for you in creating the Whole Health Forum?
Sheldon and Ginat: We began with the idea to create a two-day conference at a private home of a friend. We were amazed when almost 150 natural healers and practitioners responded to our appeal for speakers. After conducting individual interviews around the country, we chose 92 of the best speakers presenting over 50 topics of health.
Question: What were the challenges in organizing this event?
Sheldon and Ginat: Our original chef was a lovely young macrobiotic woman from Jerusalem. Her fees were steep, but we decided to make the quality of the food a top priority. When she suddenly decided to get married and pulled out, we turned to Venu Sanz, macrobiotic chef extraordinaire from Spain, who will grace our tables with madrileño specialities. We are thrilled to have attracted someone of such high international caliber.
Kashrut was also important, as we want our message to be available to all sectors of Israeli society. We know that kashrut l’mehadrin can be prohibitively expensive, but we were not willing to compromise. Serendipitously, on a visit to meet with presenter Rabbi Benzion Lehrer in Safed, we found out that he is a certified mashgiach, able to supervise all our food. Amazingly, he is also a trained macrobiotic chef, familiar with our cooking methods and specific dishes. Rav Lehrer will even bring a Torah to the Forum in order to lead daily prayers and a morning study group.
Question: What do you envision for the Whole Health Forum?
Sheldon and Ginat: The wonderful energy and spirit of all the people we have met already ensures that this event is something to experience! Health is a much talked about subject, yet taking one’s health into one’s own hands is still not something most people have the confidence to do. Preventive health care has to be the predominant health paradigm of the future! This Whole Health Forum gives us the opportunity to share knowledge, to motivate and to inspire each other, to explore and experience different therapies and to demonstrate how to better ourselves in all aspects of health!
The Forum aims to build community, support healing and teach a life of success. It’s a relaxing, informative and enjoyable educational gathering in the beautiful Judean hills for health-minded English speakers in Israel. It doesn’t get any better!