PROGRAMS FOR SEMINARIANS
Pastoral Care Seminar
This seminar is offered to advanced rabbinic and cantorial students at five local seminaries: Yeshiva University, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, The Academy for Jewish Religion, and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah.
A seminar is offered each semester, usually focused upon a central theme. Each session focuses on a different topic; a recognized expert in the field offers a presentation to the group, sometimes accompanied by a person who has had personal experience with the topic under discussion.
A recent seminar was entitled “A Time to Die: Confronting the Loss of a Child.” A psychologist, pediatric chaplain and a social worker, who had brought a stillborn child into this world, offered varying perspectives on this challenging theme. Another seminar, “Not in My Community,” focused upon sexual abuse, eating disorders, and substance addiction/abuse.
Where appropriate, Jewish texts are studied so that the topic of the evening is examined from the perspective of Jewish tradition. Afterward, the students discuss the evening’s topic over a dinner.
This seminar, which is offered in the fall and spring semesters, provides a respectful space for seminarians across the Jewish denominational spectrum to study and learn together.
Seminarians obtain first-hand experience in pastoral care-giving in one of Chaplaincy’s clinical pastoral education sites in New York City. Under the supervision of a board certified chaplain, seminarians make hospital rounds to learn how to greet and approach the sick, how and when to offer guidance and comfort, and how to conduct bedside prayer for patients of all religious backgrounds.
Students also attend seminars given by doctors, chaplain educators, psychiatrists, and social workers in key learning areas such as facilitative listening, palliative care and medical ethics.
Each rotation is developed in accordance with the needs and objectives of the partner seminary. Some are weeklong intensive sessions; others extend over a period of weeks. For all students, these rotations are a unique opportunity to learn and practice the art and science of Jewish pastoral care in a hospital context.
PASTORAL SKILLS SEMINAR FOR RABBIS AND CANTORS
The Department offers intensive seminars for rabbis and cantors to enhance their pastoral care skills on behalf of the members of their synagogues.
Recent programs included presentations by experts in medicine, psychiatry, social work, and clinical pastoral care on topics such as suicide, mental illness, live organ donation, and responding to the needs of children of gravely ill parents.
These conferences enjoy the co-sponsorship of the rabbinical organizations from all religious movements, as well as such organizations as JBFCS-New York Jewish Healing Center, New York Board of Rabbis, Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, Metropolitan Jewish Health System, and National Association of Jewish Chaplains.
Forums on topical issues are also sponsored for the broader public. These are co-sponsored with partner organizations and reflect the full spectrum of today’s Jewish world.
Programs have included “A Public Forum on Organ Transplantation,” which was held at UJA-Federation and co-sponsored with The Jewish Week. The President/CEO of the New York Organ Donor Network, Ms. Elaine Berg spoke about the medical and public policy issues. Ms. Blu Greenberg, author and communal figure, related how her family made the decision to donate their late son’s organs. An opinion piece, “Organ Donations Affirm Jewish Values,” which appeared in The Jewish Week shortly before the event. Click for a comprehensive information paper on organ and tissue donation medical facts, ethical challenges and religious perspective from a multi-faith perspective and another from the Jewish perspective.
A second forum co-sponsored with the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan was held on eating disorders. It featured a recent documentary, “Hungry to be Heard,” and was followed by comments by psychologists and a woman who related her successful bout with an eating disorder.
Public education on appropriate issues is an important goal of the Department. Click to access an Opinion piece published in The Jewish Week , “Celebration in the Face of Loss,” and for an article in PlainViews, “’L’Chaim’ – To Life!” about the unique challenges chaplains face attending to their patients on the High Holy Days.
RESEARCH AND SCHOLARSHIP
Scholarship and research are important goals of the DSJPC. The Department is involved in various educational and research projects with other sectors of HealthCare Chaplaincy to further the understanding of the interface between religious ideas and clinical practice, and the worlds of healthcare, chaplaincy and medical science.
HealthCare Chaplaincy recently published a monograph, “Bikkur Holim: the Origins of Jewish Pastoral Care,” which examines the concept and practice of the sick visit in Jewish texts, and relates Jewish tradition to CPE practice. For information on any of the programs at Department of Studies in Jewish Pastoral Care, please contact the following:
Rabbi Dr. Bonita Taylor
Director, Jewish Chaplaincy Education
65 Broadway, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10006-2503
(212) 644-1111 ext. 221