Thursday, February 11, 2010

West Coast spiritual care institute hires new assistant director

Back in January I heard a rumor that the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health had fallen on hard times. So, I was glad, today, to get an email from them announcing a new hire and listing a series of programs they remain committed to.

Below is the text of the letter from institute director Michelle Prince. [I'm a little disappointed to see no explicit connection to Clinical Pastoral Education, which I would hope would be a main focus for any group interested in education around spiritual care. . . . It may be a result of the fact that much of the pastoral care in the Jewish world traditionally has been done by social workers rather than clergy. But new movements to focus on pastoral care education at rabbinical schools -- especially at the Jewish Theological Seminary and at YCT seem to be changing that, and making pastoral care a part of what rabbis are expected to do (and be well-trained to do during their seminary education).]

February 11, 2010

Dear Friends,

It is my great pleasure to introduce you to the new Kalsman Institute Assistant Director,Adi Bodenstein. Having recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a masters degree in Social Work, Adi returned to her hometown of Los Angeles with expertise in areas such as leadership, communication, community building, research, and fundraising.

Prior to joining Kalsman, Adi worked with several well known social service organizations whose focus is also on health and healing, including the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, the March of Dimes, and Take Back the Night.

With a passion for growing non-profit organizations and creating new ways to strengthen them, Adi (pronounced add-ee, like Annie) will be of great assistance in the growth of the Institute. Please welcome her at 213-765-2131 or I am extremely grateful to Rachel Sisk, MSW, MAJCS, who worked as interim project manager for Kalsman through January. Rachel skillfully helped with our ever-growing list of projects, while bringing a strategic eye to our long-term planning.

Kalsman’s efforts are currently focused on:

  1. ASSAF
  2. Research Roundtable (Templeton)
  3. Consulting Projects
  4. 2010 Events


A new group of healthcare clinicians began the ASSAF program earlier this month with an opening retreat in Phoenix, and are now engaged in chevruta study on texts and materials related to Judaism, health and healing. The ten-week program is designed to help these practitioners learn more about Jewish sources, and learn how to use this experience to strengthen the connection between their personal and professional lives. They hope to fight burnout and reconnect to the meaning of their work and commitments. It is a privilege for me and my partner Howard Silverman, M.D. to watch the immediate bonding and camaraderie of this second ASSAF group. Many thanks to Kalsman intern, Courtney Jacobson, from HUC’s School of Jewish Communal Service, for her work on this project, with Phoenix’s Temple Chai staff Sharona Silverman and Rabbi Mari Chernow.


Growing and professionalizing the work of the Jewish healing movement is an increasingly important goal of the Kalsman Institute. We were awarded a grant by the John Templeton Foundation to help develop a scholarly foundation for the field of Judaism, health and healing. Advisors are assisting the development of a Research Roundtable whose members will gather in 2011 to help set priorities and an agenda for this work.

Advisors include:

· Jeff Levin, Director, University Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health
Professor of Medical Humanities, Director, Program on Religion and Population Health (PRPH), Baylor University (Scientific chair of Kalsman’s Research Roundtable)

· Kenneth I. Pargament, Ph.D., Professor of Clinical Psychology, Bowling Green State University

· Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min., D.D., Director, Department of Jewish Family Concerns, Union for Reform Judaism

· Steven M. Cohen, Ph.D., Research Professor of Jewish Social Policy, HUC-JIR

The advisors met last weekend in Southern California. In addition to identifying research priorities and creating a professional community of scholars, scientists, and practitioners who will research the interconnections of Judaism and health, four outcomes are in the works as a result of this project:

1. A national program assessment, providing an overview of projects and offerings from congregations, healthcare settings, and other institutions

2. A literature review of the field, resulting in a searchable online archive

3. An initial survey on health and the Jewish population

4. Ongoing publication of journal articles and other scholarly writing projects.


The Kalsman Institute continues our work as a matchmaker, convener, and consultant for others in the field of Judaism, health and healing. Several congregations are strengthening bikur cholim efforts, engaging healthcare professionals, or creating healing centers, and we have been privileged to provide resources and networks for assistance. The Institute is also working with Cedars Sinai Medical Center to provide a complete assessment of the hospital’s Chaplaincy Program.


The Academic Coalition of Jewish Bioethics (ACJB) completed a strategic decision to become a Working Group of the Society of Jewish Ethics (SJE), which meets annually in January. Highlights of the most recent gathering, Jan. 7-10, in San Jose, CA, included papers on empathy, shame, and gender roles. More information is available


We have very exciting news: Jewish Lights Publishing will publish Midrash and Medicine:Healing Body and Soul in the Jewish Interpretive Tradition, due out in Spring, 2011. Bill Cutter is the editor and he is crafting the contents, which include materials from the Midrash & Medicine conference in Monterrey in May 2009.


I invite your collaboration while the Kalsman Institute is in the process of planning programs and events for 2011 - 2013.

  1. Regional Kalsman one-day gatherings – we will explore partnering with institutions such as the NAJC, NCJH, congregations, and the URJ
  2. A major conferences, following on the successes of “Mining the Jewish Tradition” and “Midrash & Medicine”
  3. Maintaining and building our international health & healing connections, including those in Israel and South America


Mayyim Hayyim Community Mikveh and Education Center is hosting the international Mikveh Conference, “Gathering the Waters International Mikveh” conference to be held in Boston, October 10-12, 2010. The conference will provide an in-depth exploration of the contemporary mikveh in theory and practice. Internationally renowned scholars, clergy, and educators will teach about immersion as a powerful tool for spiritual renewal, marking life transitions, and observing mitzvot.

8th North American Chevra Kadisha and Jewish Cemetery Conference
Atlanta, GA - Marriott Perimeter Center - June 6-8, 2010

Advance registration deadline extended until February 15, 2010. Co-sponsored by Kavod v’Nichum and the Jewish Cemetery Association of North America (JCANA).


Addressing the Spiritual Journey of Jews Beyond Midlife was held on November 19, 2009, in New York City. Click to listen to clips of the presentations and link to a conference

Current Research: Gratitude, Religion and Health among Jews and Christians
A new study investigates the relevance of religious and non-religious gratitude to mental and physical well-being and distress among Jews and Christians. Researchers are looking for non-Orthodox Jewish individuals, 18 years of age and older, to complete a 20 minute online survey. Click here: . The JPSYCH website is an online laboratory to investigate the role of Jewish religiousness in psychological wellbeing.


In these times when we continue to hone our ability to live with good and evil in the world – I send you blessings of health and community. A Kalsman colleague is recovering from recent surgery, and as I return to agility, strength and balance (after my broken ankle, cast, and crutches for two months), I hope this creative English interpretation of the asher yatzerprayer from Rabbi Ruth Adar resonates with you.

Asher Yatzar (“Who brought forth”)

Thank God it all works!


Thank God enough works.

For all our science, and all our technology,

These bodies You have made in Your wisdom are wrapped in mystery:

Rooms within rooms, openings and closings,

All work so wonderfully

That we only notice when they don’t.

We are able to stand or sit before You, our Creator,

Because enough works today.

Blessed are You, Eternal our God,

Ruler of Time and Space,

Who heals our flesh and continues doing wonders.

Interpretation by Rabbi Ruth Adar

My warmest regards,



Michele F. Prince, LCSW, MAJCS

Director, Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health

Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion

3077 University Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90007

213-765-2149 - telephone

213-749-1192 - facsimile


Adina said...

Thank you for posting this. I wanted to share a press release with you from our institute. We are working hard to strengthen the field of Jewish chaplaincy. I hope this finds you well. Please see the press release below...

Kol Tuv,

Adi Bodenstein

Assistant Director

Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

3077 University Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90007

213-765-2131 - telephone

213-749-1192 - facsimile

Follow me on FaceBook:

Follow me on Twitter:


CONTACT: Michele Prince
Tel: 213-765-2149
Fax: 213-749-1192

Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health Secures a Required Pastoral Internship for All Rabbinic Students

The Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion/Los Angeles is excited to announce that the HUC-LA faculty just approved our proposal for a required pastoral internship for all rabbinical students, starting with students entering HUC in the 2011-2012 academic year.

What are Pastoral Internships?
Pastoral internships provide a highly reflective method of learning pastoral counseling in a clinical setting under supervision. At HUC-LA, pastoral internships are currently a voluntary opportunity in hospital settings in LA and around North America. There are two basic forms of pastoral internships:
1. CPE, or Clinical Pastoral Education, a 400-hour hospital unit, our “gold standard” experience
2. Other pastoral internships, 200-hour units, at hospitals and other healthcare settings
From an educational standpoint, a pastoral internship provides a synthesis of academic, clinical and professional learning.

Why Do We Stress Pastoral Internships as a Requirement for Rabbinic Students?
Previously, at the HUC-LA campus 53% of students did a full pastoral internship, 52% did the Rabbi, Community and Hospital class, with some hospital work, and 81% of all students gained bedside experience. Rabbis with pastoral experience, comfort in interpersonal relationships, self-reflection skills, familiarity dealing with life-cycle changes and challenges, and have a heightened emotional intelligence are in high demand. Ruth Alpers says, “Members of the faculty consistently comment that they can tell who has completed CPE by the manner in which students ask questions in class, and particularly because our professors notice a qualitative change in the way those students listen to the professor and to each other.” We are excitedly planning for placements for 15 students to do 400 and 200 hour pastoral internships with stipends to support tuition and living expenses.

We at the Kalsman Institute are pleased that our proposal has been accepted and that more students and congregations will benefit from the pastoral experiences of all future HUC Rabbinic students.

The Kalsman Institute provides pastoral education to students at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion/Los Angeles, and contributes a new perspective in Jewish thought and practice through conferences, workshops and collaborative dialogue at the intersection of Judaism and Health.

Adina said...

Also, thank you for your mention. I am pleased to be a part of your posting and am incredibly blessed to be working for the Kalsman Institute to further the field of Judasim, health, and healing.