Unprecedented Jewish Pastoral Educator Conference Examines the Future of the Field

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

For the first time ever, faculty from every major Jewish seminary – across every denomination – are coming together to share insights and explore the current state of pastoral education, as well as visions for the future.

Sponsored by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health and the UJA-Federation of New York, the 2012 Jewish Seminary Pastoral Educator Conference will take place January 10-11. It will be held in New York City at the UJA-Federation conference center. Attendees will include representatives from HUC-JIR, Jewish Theological Seminary, Yeshiva University’s RIETS Rabbinical Seminary, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and elsewhere.

Faculty will discuss the state of Jewish pastoral education and how the unique role of the rabbi has evolved. Sessions will examine the field’s history, how well practitioners are serving communities, and where things may go from here. Findings will be disseminated through the Kalsman network.

Tomorrow’s Jewish leaders must be more than simply skilled at visiting the sick and being sensitive to issues that arise around lifecycle events. Today’s seminaries must enhance how and how much students are exposed to important issues related to the special health needs of subgroups of the Jewish population, including older adults, adolescents, families, and individuals encountering challenges in building their families (infertility, adoption, fetal loss, etc.), special needs families, and immigrant & ethnic-minority populations.

“Kalsman conferences always stimulate new thinking and new projects, and I’m personally excited about the inspiration I know I will experience next week. Putting people in the same room together can create ripples we cannot even anticipate,” said Michele Prince, director of the Kalsman Institute. “These educators have literally revolutionized pastoral education — and rabbinical school curricula — in the last 15 to 20 years.”


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 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