LOS ANGELES -- The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion has received a commitment from the Kalsman Trust to establish and endow, the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health. Dr. Lewis M. Barth, Dean, HUC-JIR Los Angeles School announced the gift and named Dr. William Cutter Director of the new Kalsman Institute. Dr. Cutter is Professor of Education and Hebrew Language and Literature, and instructor in chaplaincy.
Lee Kalsman and Peachy and Mark Levy will serve as trustees of the gift on behalf of the Kalsman Trust.
"We are grateful to Lee Kalsman and Peachy and Mark Levy for their dedication to HUC-JIR's programming in the areas of health and healing. Their generous support will enable the College-Institute to convene meetings and conferences to continue the discussion on topics that bring religion and health together," said Dr. Norman J. Cohen, Acting President, HUC-JIR.
"The College-Institute is profoundly appreciative of the generosity of the Kalsman and Levy families. The Kalsman Institute is an innovative and important program of the HUC-JIR Los Angeles School, and the overall College-Institute, and it is vital to our innovative and creative training for rabbis, educators and communal professionals in the area of religion and health," said Dr. Lewis M. Barth.
The Kalsman and Levy families became involved with the College-Institute's Chaplaincy Program in the early 1990s when the late Irving Kalsman was a patient at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Mr. Kalsman was visited by a young rabbinic student named Judith Schindler. Her rabbinic internship at Cedars-Sinai was part of HUC-JIR's Chaplaincy program. Mr. Kalsman felt that his meetings with now Rabbi Schindler were a critical part of his healing process. In appreciation, the Kalsmans created the Lee and Irving Kalsman Scholarship Fund in Hospital Chaplaincy, funded a major conference at HUC-JIR, Los Angeles and now have established the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health.
"The Kalsman Institute is founded on the principle that health and healing are a fundamental part of the Jewish religious experience. We began exploring the connections between Judaism and modern efforts to provide care and held our first national conference in April of 2000. We will now work towards integrating health and healing with religious themes and serve as a 'think tank' and center for theological and philosophical discourse on Judaism and health," said Dr. William Cutter. He noted further that, "We will work ever more closely with Jewish Family Service agencies, Union of American Hebrew Congregations and a number of healing centers that have opened throughout the country, such as the National Center for Jewish Healing."
The Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health intends to serve as an intellectual center of the healing movement. In addition to sponsoring conferences, the Kalsman Institute will provide a meeting ground for discourse dealing with the medical and patient provision aspects of health care; participate in the advocacy around issues involving health care provisions and ethics; train future religious and professional leaders in the complex issues of health provision and ethics and develop new models of training for the broader field of heath care in the United States.