Blaustein Center Celebrates a Commitment of More Than 25 Years

April 4, 2024

Nancy Weiner speaking

On March 7, 2024, faculty, students, alumni and invited guests gathered on the New York campus to celebrate the more than 25 year commitment of Arthur and Betty Blaustein Roswell z”l and the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation to the education and formation of future Reform clergy. Over those years, their endowments have established Blaustein Centers at our New York and Jerusalem campuses.

Nancy Weiner receives flowers at 25th celebration of Blaustein Center

As founding director Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener, DMin, BCC said in her remarks, “25 years ago, we articulated a holistic approach to pastoral care and counseling as part of clergy formation. Today, HUC-JIR is committed to centering this holistic approach in its entire curriculum….engaging our students’ whole beings so that they will emerge with a deeper sense of integrity, grounded in Judaism—that they can bring to their own lives and to the lives of those they serve.”

Arthur Roswell, President Andrew Rehfeld, Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener

Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener, Arthur Roswell, President Andrew Rehfeld

As part of the celebration, we honored Arthur and Betty Blaustein Roswell z”l with a retrospective on how their vision and generosity has had an enduring impact upon training at HUC-JIR and has influenced liberal Jewish clergy education at other seminaries. Over the past 20 years, Jewish seminaries have turned to HUC-JIR as a model and resource as they re-envisioned their pastoral care and fieldwork programs.

President Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D. remarked, “As we know, doing anything well starts with education. And we are so grateful that the Blaustein family saw the importance of this endeavor and gave us the resources to create and significantly expand the Center over the last decades. I extend heartfelt thanks to Betty Blaustein Roswell, of blessed memory, and her husband Arthur Roswell who we are honored to have here today, for their support, vision, and commitment to this work.”

Rabbi Wiener suggested that “Like the ancient priests, today’s clergy are invited to hear and see parts of others’ lives that are often hidden from the broader community. We are welcomed… into the Holy of Holies of each person who seeks our support and care. … There, we have the privilege and responsibility to view wounds and scars, to witness and accompany others through life’s highs and lows, to hear about experiences that have crushed a soul and can be soul-crushing to a listener. There, that which has been unarticulated, the ineffable, might be spoken—in all its beauty, its rawness, its messiness, its profound realness. It is precisely when we are called upon to listen to what is hard to hear that we draw on all of the study, all of the spiritual practices, all of the reflective work, to remain present and attentive.”

Mincha service

Mincha service


That image became the backdrop for a keynote panel that discussed the ways in which clergy are called upon to listen to what can be hard to hear and reflected on the ways that specific Jewish teachings and values have helped them meet those challenges. A celebratory mincha service, drawing on the themes of the addresses and keynote, rounded out the public program and offered a space to express gratitude and pray for healing. In a video montage presented at the luncheon that followed, alumni shared the ways the Blaustein Center prepared them for their lives as clergy and continues to influence their functioning today.

The Blaustein Center celebration was also an occasion for pastoral care instructors at Jewish seminaries and Jewish Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) educators to spend the entire day together for the first time in over a decade. In the morning, prior to the public program, they had a chance to reflect on the ways that living in a post-Oct. 7 world are impacting their own experiences as pastoral care providers and educators. Following the public program, they explored possibilities for future collaborations, began to identify ways that their teaching in different settings can be more intentionally complementary, and they discussed how to offer support to each other. The Blaustein Center in NY looks forward to creating future opportunities for these groups to convene regularly.

Learn more about the Blaustein Center’s history