All students at the New York campus of HUC-JIR are required to gain practical and reflective skills by participating in a supervised fieldwork programs. The Blaustein Center helped pioneer the supervised fieldwork program at HUC-JIR/NY and provides funding for the on-going fieldwork supervision for students in the rabbinic program. Students engage in reflection through three different modalities:
Each year, the Blaustein Center, sponsors two opportunities for mentors to spend time at the College and expand their knowledge and skills. Over the years, we have explored issues related to power dynamics, transference, family systems, the imposter syndrome, and working with adult learners, among others. Students at congregations and organizations in the metropolitan NY area meet regularly when the student is at the fieldwork placement. For the students who serve small congregations up and down the east coast, field mentors meet regularly with the student in NY and travel to the student’s pulpit at least once during the academic year to observe the student and provide feedback.
In 2011, Rabbi Shirley Idelson worked collaboratively with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality to provide the HUC-JIR/NY community with a wide-range of opportunities to expand their own spiritual practices and awareness. This initiative dove-tailed with the Blaustein Center’s commitment nurturing future clergy’s reflective practices and enhancing their repertoire for self-care. Since 2011, an overwhelming majority of rabbinic students have opted into the courses and spiritual direction offered through the Spirituality Initiative.