Rabbi Nancy Wiener, D.Min.

Fieldwork Coordinator; Founding Director of the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling; Dr. Paul and Trudy Steinberg Distinguished Professor in Human Relations

Contact Information

school/program: Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music, Rabbinical School (US)
department: Dean's Office, Museum
academic field: Professional Development, Rabbinics and Liturgy
campus: New York

Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener, D.Min, is the Founding Director of the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling at HUC-JIR/New York. She was named the Dr. Paul and Trudy Steinberg Distinguished Professor in Human Relations in 2012. She also serves as the rabbinical program’s Fieldwork Coordinator. Rabbi Wiener was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1990, where she also received an M.A. in Hebrew Letters in 1988. She earned a Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Counseling from HUC-JIR in 1994. Dr. Wiener is a board-certified chaplain with the National Association of Jewish Chaplains and holds a certificate in Pastoral Counseling from the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, New York. She earned an M.Phil. in Jewish History from Columbia University in 1986 and her B.A. magna cum laude in 1980 from Brandeis University.

As the Director of the Blaustein Center, Rabbi Wiener has created a program that integrates coursework, fieldwork, supervision, and mentoring, so that students can reflect on dynamic ways in which their work and study contribute to their intellectual, spiritual, and psychological lives and the lives of those with whom they work. Dr. Wiener’s innovations have resulted in changes in the pastoral care and counseling and fieldwork programs at all of HUC-JIR’s campuses and at other Jewish seminaries as well. She helped create and teaches the integrative seminars that are now the hallmark of the Professional Development required courses on the New York campus. She also offers electives in pastoral counseling and co-teaches an elective with Professor Merri Lovinger Arian on The Art of Creating Meaningful Worship. Dr. Wiener has been a consultant from the inception of the Blaustein Center in Jerusalem, and taught its first cohort of Israeli professionals. For over 20 years, Rabbi Wiener served the Pound Ridge Jewish Community, a small chavurah in northern Westchester, as its rabbi, finding the work fulfilling and a source of constant enrichment for her supervision and teaching. 

Rabbi Wiener has been a pioneer in the exploration of how Moral Injury and Soul Repair and the Jewish tradition relate to each other. She has conducted research, published articles, and taught at national conferences on Understanding Moral Injury and Soul Repair from a Jewish perspective. In the spring of 2021, she co-chaired the first ever Moral Injury conference focusing on Jewish teachings and values. Throughout the Covid pandemic she offered virtual workshops for rabbis and mental health professionals on Moral Injury and Jewish teachings. Rabbi Wiener also serves on the advisory board of the The Soul Repair Center at Brite Seminary. This work serves as a complement to the work she did during her 2013 sabbatical, where she studied with Father Michael Lapsley at the Institute for the Healing of Memories in Cape Town, South Africa.  

Rabbi Wiener has been on the seminary faculty of FASPE (Fellowship at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics). She is a certified facilitator-trainer for Respecting Choices, a national program for Advanced Care Planning conversations. She is also on the board of What Matters, a New York based affiliate of Respecting Choices. In 2001, Rabbi Wiener offered counseling at Ground Zero to first responders, and to individuals and families at emergency family centers following 9/11 under the auspices of the Red Cross Disaster Spiritual Care Unit. She was also trained to train other clergy to respond to September 11.  

In the 1990’s, Rabbi Wiener helped draft the resolution passed by the CCAR on officiation at ceremonies for Gay and Lesbian couples, created materials for CCAR members to use for pre-marital counseling and same-sex ceremonies, and helped draft the CCAR’s first official statement regarding transgender Jews. She served on the UAHC (predecessor to the URJ) Gay and Lesbian Inclusion Committee, URJ Departments of Jewish Family Concerns and Outreach and Inclusion, committees, as well as a range of UJA/Federation Task Forces.  

Rabbi Wiener sits on the national board of T’ruah: The Jewish Call for Human Rights, and was its past co-chair. She is active in Jews for Racial and Economic Justice in New York City.

Rabbi Wiener has written 4 books and over 20 articles.

Books

Maps and Meaning: Levitical Models for Contemporary Care, MN: Fortress Press, 2014, co-authored with Jo Hirschmann—Finalist National Jewish Book Awards 2014: Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice and Modern Jewish Thought and Experience.

Beyond Breaking the Glass: A Spiritual Guide to Your Jewish Wedding (revised edition), New York: CCAR Press, 2012. 

Judaism for Two, VT: Jewish Lights, 2005, co-author by Nancy Fuchs Kreimer.

Meeting at the Well. New York: UAHC Press, 2002, co-author by Dan Judson.

Beyond Breaking the Glass: A Spiritual Guide to Your Jewish Wedding. New York: CCAR Press, 2001.

Articles and Book Chapters

 “Insights into Moral Injury and Soul Repair from Classical Jewish Texts, in Military Moral Injury and Spiritual Care,” St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2019. Co-authored by Kim Geringer.

“Insights into Moral Injury and Soul Repair from Classical Jewish Texts,” Journal of Pastoral Psychology, 2018, co-authored by Kim Geringer.

“The Ketubah,” in Navigating the Journey: The Essential Guide to the Jewish Life Cycle, NY:CCAR Press, 2017.

“A Reform Understanding of To-eivah, in The Sacred Encounter: Jewish Perspectives on Sexuality, ed. Lisa J. Grushcow, NY: CCAR Press, 2014.

“Jewish Marriage Innovations and Alterations: From Commercial/Legal Transaction to Spiritual Transformation,” in The Sacred Encounter: Jewish Perspectives on Sexuality, ed. Lisa J. Grushcow, NY: CCAR Press, 2014. 

 “Seminary-Based Jewish Pastoral Education,” in Judaism and Health, eds. Prince and Levin, co-authored with Julie Schwartz and Michele Prince, Fall 2013.

“Pastoral Care in a Postmodern World: Promoting Spiritual Health Across the Life Cycle,” in Judaism  and Health, eds. Prince and Levin, co-authored with Barbara E. Breitman, Fall 2013.

P’tach Libi B’Toratecha (Open My Heart to Your Torah): Jewish Pastoral Theology in Process,” CCAR Journal, Summer 2012, co-authored with Barbara E. Breitman and Mychal B. Springer.

ed., Symposium Issue on Judaism, Health and Healing, CCAR Journal, Summer 2012.

Insights about a Self-Care from the Torah: Spiritual and Geographic Transitions of the Caregiver. NAJC Journal of Jewish Spiritual Care, Spring 2011.

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues. Relational Caregiving. Ed. Jack Bloom, Haworth Press, 2006. 

Toeivah: A Reform Jewish Understanding. CCAR Journal, 2005.

A Practical Theology of Presence.” Lesbian Rabbis: The First Generation, eds. Rebecca T. Alpert, Sue Levi Elwell and Shirley Idelson. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2002.

Jewish Marriage: From Commercial Legal Transaction to Spiritual Transition. CCAR Journal, 2001.

Counseling Same-Sex Couples as They Sanctify Their Love. New Menorah Journal, Spring 2000.

Of Women and Mirrors. A Women’s Torah Commentary: 54 Women Rabbis on the Weekly Torah Portions, ed. Elyse Goldstein. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights, 2000.

A Celebration of Life: 18 Years Post-Mastectomy, A Time of Thanksgiving. CCAR Journal, Fall 1998, co-authored with Judith Tax.

Of Women and Mirrors in A Women’s Torah Commentary: 54 Women Rabbis on the Weekly.

Wisdom You Are My Sister: 25 Years of Women in the Rabbinate. CCAR Journal, Summer 1997. Editorial Board.

Monograph Series of lectures given at the 1995 Refaeinu conference of the National Center for Jewish Healing. New York: HUC-JIR, JTS, RRC, NCJH 1997. Co-editor with Kerry Olitzky.

Hineni-Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh. Paths of Faithfulness: Personal Essays on Jewish Spirituality. eds. Ochs, Olitzky, Saltzman. Hoboken, NJ: KTAV, 1997.

Moral Injury and Soul Repair: Jewish Understandings

Levitical Insights about Self-Care for the Caregiver

Through A New Lens: Looking at the Counseling Relationship in light of the Jewish Holiday Calendar

Stories of Healing/Stories that Heal

Creating a Caring Community

End-of-Life Decision Making and Jewish Teachings

Creative Life Cycle Ceremonies

Moral Injury and Soul Repair

Self and System

Ma’agal Hachayim: The Jewish Life Cycle – Counseling and Ceremonies

The Art of Creating Meaningful Worship

Models of Care

D.Min. in Pastoral Counseling, HUC-JIR, 1994

Rabbinic Ordination, HUC-JIR, 1990

M.A.H.L., HUC-JIR, 1988

M.A. in History, Jewish History, Columbia University, 1986

B.A., magna cum laude, high honors in History and NEJS, Phi Beta Kappa, Brandeis University, 1980