(JTA) — Many Jews feel a connection with their ancestors, but how many have regular conversations with them?
Rebecca Rosen, a 36-year-old mother of two, is one who does.
Rosen lists her profession as “psychic medium,” and her specialty is communing with the dead, acting as “the bridge between the spiritual and the physical world.”
Rosen is a far cry from most psychics, with their store-front tables, tarot cards and crystal balls. She has appeared on “Dr. Phil” and “The Rachael Ray Show” and writes a monthly column on Oprah.com. Clients pay $1,000 an hour for Rosen to channel the spirits of loved ones from the great beyond, a rate that presumably includes the 30 minutes of meditation she undertakes first to ensure she and the spirits are “vibrating on the same frequency.”
Rosen says she has a nearly eight-year waiting list for her services. But those who need more immediate assistance can check out her second book, “Awaken the Spirit Within,” which she’s currently promoting on tour. Unlike most book tours, however, each event also contains an “audience reading” in which Rosen detects the spiritual energies she perceives around her listeners.
“We all have the ability to hear from our spirits and guides,” Rosen told JTA. “But because it sounds like something in your own mind, it can be hard to differentiate.”
Rosen, who was raised a Conservative Jew in Omaha, first discovered her spiritual powers during a period of depression as a student at the University of Florida.
“My parents were divorcing, and I was stuffing my feelings with food,” Rosen said. “That was my drug of choice. I was compulsively eating in my sleep.”
Rosen found herself channeling her deceased grandmother Babe while writing in her journal. Her grandmother, who had committed suicide several years earlier, presented her with a plan for curing her depression through a trance-like technique called automatic writing. This advice later formed the basis for her first book, “Spirited.”
Rosen graduated college with a degree in advertising but found that profession “not flowing.” She began doing psychic readings for friends in a coffee shop in West Bloomfield, Mich.
Her first brush with fame came when the Detroit Jewish News featured her on its cover in 2001, touting her efforts to comfort those who had lost loved ones by “bring[ing] energies from the other side.” Since then, Rosen, who now lives in Denver, has built a clientele that includes celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox Arquette and Vanna White.
“I’m not a fortune teller,” she said. “I don’t work with ghosts either, spirits who are trapped in limbo between here and the other world. I work with those who are happily crossed over and want to ease the anxieties of the living.”
Rosen’s powers, she maintains, come from her highly developed “clair-senses” — the ability to see, hear and feel spirits, which often present to her as “sparks or orbs of light.” In her new book, she teaches techniques to develop this capacity — including “clair-gustance,” the ability to sense phantom tastes from the spirits, and “clair-cognizance,” the ability to gain knowledge unavailable through ordinary senses.
Rosen is also working to develop the psychic intuition of her children — Jakob, 8, and Sam, 4.
“My boys are very intuitive and have shown many psychic abilities over the years, and if it’s nurtured they’ll continue to develop that muscle as they grow,” Rosen said. “I encourage both of my boys to pray to their angels and guides and feel comforted in knowing they are never alone.”
Rosen’s brother Baruch HaLevi, a Conservative rabbi at Congregation Shirat Hayam in the northern Boston suburb of Swampscott, is also enthusiastic about her profession. He occasionally promotes her work on his blog and has vouched for her authenticity. The siblings are contemplating creating a series of retreats that will combine yoga, meditation, Jewish spirituality and Rosen’s readings.
“All religion aside, it’s really, spiritually speaking, connecting people to their truth,” Rosen said.
In the meantime, she continues to work with clients and is contemplating creating group sessions to shorten the waiting time for her services. Group sessions would include 12 clients and cost $500 per person for two hours, garnering Rosen $6,000 a session.
Rosen says there is no difference whether sessions are conducted in person or over the phone. But asked whether she was sensing any psychic energy during a recent phone interview, she demurred, saying that she was improperly prepared.
If any spirits were eager to get through, she said, “they would be like pounding down my doorway right now.”