Kalsman Institute On Judaism and Health Update

Friday, February 1, 2008

Rabbi Julie Pelc, in her first six months as assistant director, has linked the Kalsman Institute to a new network of peers and teachers who are working at the intersection of Judaism and health. She and Director Michelle Prince have been working with Kalsman Partners from around the country, Israel and South America, and HUC-JIR students. She is focused on several projects, including developing the 2009 Midrash and Medicine conference with the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center and the Kalsman Institute's many partners, including the National Center for Jewish Healing, Hiddur: the Center for Aging and Judaism, and others. 

Rabbi William Cutter, Founding Director, is teaching three courses this term, traveling between both coasts, and preparing lectures and three new books. One of his many events was a February 2 Shabbaton of Healing at Temple Beth El, San Pedro, California, where he and Anne Brener led workshops on Judaism and health. 

Bill and Rabbi Mari Chernow, of Temple Chai, Phoenix, are the rabbinic scholars for the first session of the physician education program. Howard and Sharona Silverman, also from Temple Chai, will be welcoming 18 Jewish doctors from all over the country to the program's launch next month in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

The 2007 Cutter Pastoral Education Scholarship fund exceeded expectations and two summer student interns are now annually endowed. 

The Jan. 6 Academic Coalition for Jewish Bioethics (ACJB) conference was held in conjunction with the Society for Jewish Ethics in Atlanta. The theme that emerged most strongly related to plurality of thought in Jewish bioethical decision making. Future plans for the ACJB are in progress. 

The work of the Kalsman Institute has shifted to include enhanced efforts toward Pastoral Education on the HUC-JIR/Los Angeles campus. The institute is very proud to continue to guide the work of a taskforce that is assessing and improving already strong classroom and field opportunities for rabbinical students to learn about Judaism, health and healing. Students are strengthening their spiritual assessment and pastoral counseling skills. One new group we will teach includes students in HUC-JIR's Rhea Hirsch School of Education. A proposal for a two-hour session on Judaism and health morphed into an entire quadmester of learning around facets of this important subject. Curriculum writing will begin later this month, as will exploration of how to bring this pastoral expansion to HUC-JIR alumni from all programs. 

Visit the Kalsman Institute at www.huc.edu/kalsman

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu