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The Daily Freeman: Heart’s Destiny

October 20, 2010

Originally Published: Sunday, September 12, 2010

By ROCHELLE RISERVATO
Correspondent

When Oprah Winfrey Show producer Hilary Jane Robe searched for couples for the show’s “Greatest Love Stories” she discovered a story about Dr. Moti and Ronit Peleg in a New Jersey newspaper.

Not only are the Pelegs destiny-driven soul mates with an incredible love story spanning four decades — and which eventually led them to Esopus — but they’re also humanitarians whose Ego to Heart workshops emphasize heartfelt listening and communication between other couples.

It started when a 17-year-old boy became smitten with a magazine cover in his homeland of Israel. The cover photo portrayed the newly crowned Miss Israel of 1964 — Ronit Rinat.

Needless to say, he was not the only young man drawn to this beauty. But Moti said, “Indeed, many men in Israel fell in love with Ronit’s image. She was the most soulful and gentle beauty queen that Israel ever had. There was some kind of spirited glow in her that I saw, in addition to her striking beauty.”

He stressed that her eyes beckoned to him, and he kept that photo, feeling they would someday meet and marry.

Being a romantic farm boy, he said, “I always believed in my ability to reach and practically fulfill almost every dream and goal I set out to do. It might sound grandiose or delusional, but it was as if her eyes knew me and signaled me.”

Meanwhile, Ronit married a physician from the United States at age 19. She moved to the States and had three children.

“I had my three kids by the age of 25, went to college while my kids were growing up and then opened an international store in Beverly Hills,” she said.

Ronit said her husband was not only 20 years her senior, but was neither a communicator nor spiritual as she has always been.

“We went to a workshop for couples called “Flesh & Spirit” and it was just what I was seeking: to be listened to without judgment, to be spoken to from the heart and, most of all, to listen to my own heart before I spoke,” she said.

The workshop gave Ronit a new communication and connection with her first husband, allowing 30 years of accumulated “shadows” to come to the surface and to learn how to forgive, share and be compassionate.

She then studied for five years under Dr. Jack Zimmerman and Dr. Jaquelyn McCandless, certified in the couples’ intimacy practice of “Flesh and Spirit.” She brought this counseling method back to Israel in 2002. Ronit became the founder of “Council” in Israel. She trained people throughout the country, and “Council” rapidly spread throughout Israel, with many followers and facilitators.

According to the Californian-based Ojai Foundation, “Council” helps one openly explore, offer heartfelt expression and learn to listen attentively. It is said to be the gateway to deeper communication, intercultural understanding and the non-violent exploration of conflict.

After her husband’s death, Ronit was empowered to continue with a full life, as she was able to feel love, peace and harmony with those around her.

“I have trained, mentored, spread the council practice all over the country (Israel),” she said, “and, today, it is recognized as a way to reduce violence in schools, empower women, men, and children — to build community and connect through dialogue between Arabs and Jews.”

Simultaneously, Moti came to the states in 1970 to fulfill his dream of becoming a psychologist. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in psychology from Queens College, got married and had two children.

“Sadly, my wife and I didn’t have communication skills,” he said. “We struggled with fears and insecurities that eventually drew us apart and caused us to divorce.”

Peleg completed his Doctorate at Yeshiva University, and, after years of clinical hospital work and in his own private practice, he received his state board psychology license.

Moti Peleg has been in the clinical field of mental health as a psychotherapist and psychologist for more than three decades. His New Jersey private practice specializes in traumatic stress associated with pain and relationship issues.

However, one thing in his life had always remained a constant: His desire to meet the girl with the eyes that seemed to signal him. So in 2004, a friend called Ronit to say he had someone who wished to meet her.

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