Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling, NY

Since its founding, the Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling has been on the cutting edge of Jewish seminary-based pastoral education.

Pioneering curriculum  integrates classwork, fieldwork, supervised pastoral training and mentoring programs, Jewish text study, and community programming on pastoral and professional development. Our students have developed the knowledge, experience, and reflective skills to provide pastoral care and meet new challenges.

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Reflective Practice: The Cornerstone of the Blaustein Center’s Approach

Da mei’ayin bata ul’an atah holeich ulifnei mi ata omeid — Know from where you come, to where you are going and before whom you stand. Pirkei Avot 3:1

The Blaustein Center is devoted to helping students understand the centrality of this dictum by providing a range of modalities to promote the integration of their personal, professional, academic and spiritual lives.


Fieldwork and Pastoral Training Requirements

During their years at HUC-JIR/NY all rabbinic and cantorial students are required to gain pulpit, teaching, and pastoral skills in congregational settings, including at least one year at a URJ congregation. All rabbinic students are required to participate in a pastoral training program, with 95% of the students completing at least one unit of CPE.

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

Rabbinical and cantorial students participate in pastoral training programs under the auspices of the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). Since 2001, The Blaustein Center has made it possible for more than 240 students to spend a summer or academic year gaining valuable pastoral and reflective skills.

Supervised Counseling Placements in Congregations and Agencies

Rabbinical and cantorial students can choose to get training in mentored placements in congregations and agencies to develop skills in group facilitation and individual caregiving. Students have co-facilitated recovery groups, bereavement groups, men’s groups, groups for parents of adolescents, and worked with congregants on diverse pastoral and spiritual issues.

Stipends and Tuition for Pastoral Training

The Blaustein Center provides a stipend for every rabbinic and cantorial student who completes a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education or a Supervised Counseling Placement at an approved site. In addition, The Blaustein Center covers tuition for all students who do CPE.

Supervision & Mentoring Programs

All students at the New York campus of HUC-JIR are required to gain practical and reflective skills by participating in supervised fieldwork programs. The Blaustein Center helped pioneer the supervised fieldwork program at HUC-JIR/NY and provides funding for ongoing fieldwork supervision and mentoring.  Students engage in reflection through three different modalities:

  1. working with a mentor who focuses on the skills-based aspects of fulfilling the task-oriented expectations of a field placement;
  2. engaging with classmates through case presentations and discussions of interpersonal and professional issues that arise during fieldwork, facilitated by clergy with advanced degrees in counseling on the staff of the Blaustein Center;
  3. reflecting on fieldwork placement experiences in individual supervision with a clergy member with an advanced degree in counseling on the staff of the Blaustein Center.

Each year, the Blaustein Center sponsors two opportunities for fieldwork mentors to spend time at the College and expand their knowledge and skills. Over the years, we have explored issues related to power dynamics, transference, family systems, the imposter syndrome, and working with adult learners, to name a few. Students at congregations and organizations in the metropolitan New York area meet with their on-site fieldwork mentors on a weekly basis. For the students who serve small congregations along the East Coast, field mentors meet regularly with the student in New York and travel to the student’s pulpit at least once during the academic year to observe the student and provide feedback.

Since 2011, with the establishment of the Spirituality Initiative at the New York campus in collaboration with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, future clergy have nurtured their reflective practices and enhanced their self-care through its courses and spiritual direction.

Pastoral Care & Counseling Certificate

Rabbinical and cantorial students who complete a requisite number of pastoral electives, 2 units of CPE (800 hours) and a capstone project/thesis with a pastoral care focus may earn a Certificate in Pastoral Care and Counseling. The certificate is awarded in the weeks following ordination.

Facilitator Certification Opportunities

Pre-Marital Counseling facilitator certification

Every other year, the Blaustein Center offers 4th and 5th year rabbinic and cantorial students the opportunity to participate in intensive training to learn to conduct pre-marital counseling sessions. Students gain skills to effectively facilitate conversations with couples utilizing the internationally-recognized Prepare/Enrich program and assessment tools.

End-of-Life/ Advance Care Planning facilitator certification

Every other year, the Blaustein Center offers 4th and 5th year rabbinic and cantorial students the opportunity to participate in a multi-day training to facilitate end-of-life conversations, focusing on personal values and the creation of Advanced Care Plans. Utilizing materials created by Respecting Choices, HUC students gain the skills to conduct these essential conversations with individuals and families.

Learning from the Experts
Community-Wide Pastoral Programming
at the NY Campus
Sponsored by The Blaustein Center

Every year, The Blaustein Center invites experts to come and share their knowledge and experience with our community to deepen and broaden our understanding of contemporary issues and their pastoral ramifications. Together we explore topics such as Jewish Genetic Diseases, Addiction in the Jewish Community, Domestic Violence in the Jewish Community, the Rise of Anti-Semitism and Hate Crimes, Professional and Sexual Ethics, etc. The topics are selected each year to respond to cutting edge issues and to help the next generation of rabbis and cantors understand the unique roles they can play as community leaders and pastoral caregivers.

Blaustein and the Broader Community

The Blaustein Center planned and hosted a groundbreaking Two-Day Webinar June 2-3, 2021:

Moral Injury and Soul Repair: A Jewish Perspective
A Conference for Clergy and Mental Health and Other Helping Professionals.

Over 100 participants attended this ground-breaking conference—the first gathering in the Jewish community to explore and discuss the moral injury and soul repair from a uniquely Jewish perspective.

The first day focused on Understanding Moral Injury. Rita Nakashima Brock, an internationally recognized leader in the field, was the keynote speaker, introducing attendees to the field of Moral Injury. Daniel May, PhD, framed a set of presentations by a panel of rabbis from across the United States. Each rabbi offered cases from their work that illustrated ways in which Jews have been experiencing moral injury. Among the topics they explored were: Covid-related situations, The Rise in Anti-Semitism; #MeToo; The Decline of Democratic Institutions; Jews of Color; Israel/Palestine.

The second day focused on Soul Repair. Rabbi Jonathan Crane, PhD’s keynote address focused on the ways that understanding the nexus of ethics, Jewish ethics and moral injury can contribute to soul repair in the Jewish community. Following the Keynote, Jewish spiritual and mental health professionals offered workshops based on Jewish teachings and practices that dovetail with the expanding literature on modalities that foster soul repair. The conference ended with a personal reflection by Judith Clark, in conversation with Rabbi Felicia Sol, on her own journey from perpetrator of moral injury through soul repair.

June 2:
Understanding Moral Injury: A Jewish Perspective

Welcome and Opening Remarks (1:00 pm ET)

Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener, D.Min., Founding Director, Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling; Dr. Paul and Trudy Steinberg Chair in Human Relations, HUC-JIR/New York

Rabbi Kim S. Geringer, MSW, Adjunct Instructor in Professional Development, Rabbinic Supervision, HUC-JIR/New York



Keynote: Identifying and Understanding Moral Injury (1:05 pm ET)

Rita Nakashima Brock, Rel. M., M.A., Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Director of the Shay Moral Injury Center Volunteers of America



Case Presentations: The Experience of Moral Injury by Jews in Our Time: Moral Injury Revealed in Pastoral Interactions (2:10 pm ET)


Framing the Issues that Contribute to Moral Injury Among Jews
Daniel May, Ph.D., Instructor, HUC-JIR



Case Presentations:

COVID-related Situations
Rabbi Max Reynolds, Palliative Care Chaplain, The Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai



The Rise of Anti-semitism and Hate Rhetoric
Rabbi Rachel Schmelkin, Associate Rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel, Charlottesville (2016-2020)



Rabbi Mary Zamore, Executive Director, Women’s Rabbinic Network



The Assault on Democratic Institutions
Rabbi Michael Latz, Senior Rabbi, Shir Tikva Congregation, Minneapolis; Former Co-chair, T’ruah: A Rabbinic Call for Human Rights



Jews of Color
Rabbi Ruth Abusch Magder, Ph.D., Director of Education, Be’chol Lashon



Rabbi Elliot Kukla



Rabbi Amy Eilberg, MSW, D.Min., peace and justice educator, spiritual director, and kindness coach



Breakout Workshops: Facilitated Reflection Groups by Professional Discipline (4:10 pm ET)

Attendees will participate in a facilitated discussion with peers about their own clinical or pastoral encounters with individuals suffering from moral injury.


June 3:
Understanding Soul Repair: A Jewish Perspective

“You restore my soul.       נפשי ישובב”  Psalm 23:3

Soul repair is the process of restoring belief in oneself as a responsible moral agent, worthy of being in relationship with others. Soul repair is most often achieved through a multi-disciplinary approach focused on helping individuals to once again experience life as reliable and meaningful, by validating their experiences and integrating them into a newly-constituted sense of themselves in the world, built on justice, trust, and hope.

Keynote: Ethics, Jewish Ethics, and Moral Injury (1:00 pm ET)

Rabbi Jonathan Crane, Ph.D., Raymond F. Schinazi Scholar of Bioethics and Jewish Thought at the Ethics Center; Professor of Medicine, Emory School of Medicine; Professor of Religion, Emory College of Arts and Sciences; co-editor, Oxford Handbook of Jewish Ethics and Morality



Workshops: Restoring the Soul through Jewish Teachings and Practices
(2:10-3:00 pm ET; 3:20-4:10 pm ET)

Restoring the Soul through Reclaiming and Reimagining Ritual: Ritual Resources for Care

Rabbi Kim S. Geringer, MSW, Adjunct Instructor in Professional Development, Rabbinic Supervision, HUC-JIR/New York


This practice-focused workshop will demonstrate ways that clergy can create healing plans for those suffering from moral injury. We will look at traditional, contemporary, and re-contextualized rituals—all familiar to most rabbis and cantors—which can be used to build creative, impactful, and individualized programs for relief and recovery.

Restoring the Soul through Insights from the Jewish Holiday and Mourning Cycles

Rabbi Sonja K. Pilz, Ph.D., Editor, CCAR Press


Praying has always been a human coping mechanism: In moments of great despair, pain, and loneliness, even the non-religious or outright anti-religious find themselves turning to ancient formulas of pleas, cries, and lamentations. However, the healing process does usually not lead us instantly to opening our prayerbooks. And yet, over the course of the year, Jewish liturgy offers moments and words of utter human-ness: acknowledgment of our pain, remembering and holding the brokenness, the arrival at a narrative of healing, and joyful celebration.

Restoring the Soul through Embracing Core Values in Jewish Liturgy

Rabbi Nancy H. Wiener, D.Min., Founding Director, Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling; Dr. Paul and Trudy Steinberg Chair in Human Relations, HUC-JIR/New York


Through an exploration of some key daily prayers, we will gain an appreciation for Jewish understandings of what it means to be human, what it means for humans to be in relationship with other human beings, themselves, God, and the world, and what it can mean to embrace life with wonder and commitment. We will consider how the messages of traditional Jewish prayers (whether or not the traditional form speaks to an individual) can serve as guides for personal exploration and meaning for those engaged in soul repair.

Restoring the Soul through Spiritual Peer Reflection Groups: Rupture and Repair — Sharing Lived Experiences in Light of Jewish Spiritual Teachings

Rachel Ettun, Family Therapist; Founder, Chaverut; Spiritual Care Provider and Instructor; Director of Rikma, Spiritual Care Training Program, Jerusalem


Drawing on more than a decade of experience leading groups for physicians in Israel, Ettun will share the fruits of the spiritual peer reflection groups she has led. Her groups initially focused on creating a space in which participants could develop Buberian I-Thou relationships. This evolved through regular meetings into a forum in which group members could reflect on their functioning at work, including work-related moral conflicts in light of Jewish texts and teachings.

Restoring the Soul through Repentance and Forgiveness

Louis E. Newman, Ph.D., John M. and Elizabeth W. Musser Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, Carleton College; Associate Vice Provost and Director of Undergraduate Advising and Research, Stanford University


In this session, we will study some key Jewish texts on repentance (teshuvah) and forgiveness, and explore the ways in which they enable us to address the sense of moral failure at the heart of moral injury. These texts suggest that the process of moral rehabilitation, while difficult, is possible, for those willing to engage in the work of repentance and to offer themselves the gift of forgiveness.

Restoring the Soul through Psalms

Rabbi Andrea Weiss, Ph.D., Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost, HUC-JIR


Applying Walter Brueggemann’s conception of psalms, we will study psalms of disorientation and reorientation as we explore the power of these ancient texts to speak to us today.

Restoring the Soul by Confronting Shame: What a Shame —
Rabbinic Ambivalences and Paradoxes

Rabbi Jonathan Crane, Ph.D., Raymond F. Schinazi Scholar of Bioethics and Jewish Thought at the Ethics Center; Professor of Medicine, Emory School of Medicine; Professor of Religion, Emory College of Arts and Sciences; co-editor, Oxford Handbook of Jewish Ethics and Morality


Explore classic and modern resources on different aspects of shame. When is shame eschewed and when embraced? What good can shame provide individuals and society?

Restoring the Soul through Reconciliation

Rabbi Amy Eilberg, MSW, D.Min., peace and justice educator, spiritual director, and kindness coach


We will explore the subject of soul repair through the lens of Judaism’s rich teachings on peace and forgiveness. We will consider how seeking peace and finding forgiveness — with others and with ourselves — can define a path toward healing from moral injury.

Restoring the Soul by Addressing Despair: Individual Responses to Despair — The Case of Job

Adriane Leveen, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer in Hebrew Bible


The stunning and magisterial book of Job depicts moral injury inflicted upon a pious man by the Satan, explicitly with God’s permission. Job spends much of the book moving from submission through grief to indignation until he has found his voice. His growing integrity in the face of his suffering and that of others demands an accounting from God. Job’s journey leads to a profound shift in his understanding, healing, and restoration.

Restoring the Soul through Rebuilding the World: Turning Anger into Action – Teachings of A.J. Heschel

Daniel May, Ph.D., Instructor, HUC-JIR


Abraham Joshua Heschel was a leading Jewish philosopher who was also a political activist. In his book The Prophets, he explored the ways in which anger can become a catalyst for action and reform, rather than becoming all consuming, self-directed, and immobilizing. His teachings can contribute to understanding how channeling anger into action can lead to healing for the individual and the world.

Restoring the Soul through Mussar/Spiritual Practice: Tikkun HaNefesh – Repairing the World from the Inside Out

Rabbi Jan Katzew, Ph.D., Director of Service Learning, Blended Track Associate Professor of Education and Jewish Thought, and EMA Senior Educator, HUC-JIR


מוסר [Mussar] is a Jewish discipline (study and practice) for living an ethical life that engages the rational mind, the empathetic heart, and the inspired soul. In this session, we will focus on the soul-trait of “resilience” [in Hebrew חוסן נפשי – Hosen Nafshi] through text studies, case studies, and practices. Developing the character-trait of resilience is consonant with the process of post-traumatic growth.

Restoring the Soul by Reuniting Body, Mind and Soul: “Giving and Getting Love: Ahavah Rabbah to V’Ahavta, A Jewish Spiritual Path to Loving Self and Other”

Rabbi Sheila Weinberg, Spiritual Director, HUC-JIR, Faculty Institute for Jewish Spirituality


At the heart of moral injury is the sense that you are unworthy of love. We will explore Jewish teachings related to love that can help individuals reconnect with their whole being and their capacity to love themselves and, by extension, love others.

Restoring the Soul through Music

Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller, Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman Professor of Liturgy, Worship and Ritual and Professor of Cantorial Arts, HUC-JIR/New York
Merri Lovinger Arian, Faculty-Artist in Liturgical Arts and Music Education, HUC-JIR/New York


This workshop will look at Jewish teachings about the power and place of music to promote healing. We will explore text and music through song, story, and reflection to gain an appreciation of how Jewish music can help move a broken soul toward wholeness and integrity (the two meanings of the Hebrew word shleimut).

A Living Model of Restoring the Soul: A Conversation between Rabbi Felicia Sol and Judith Clark (4:20-5:15 pm ET)

Rabbi Felicia Sol, B’nai Jeshurun, New York
Judith Alice Clark, American activist, convicted felon, and former member of the Weather Underground


In the early 2010’s The Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling at HUC-JIR/NY hosted two two-day, cross-movement master classes entitled “Explrations in Jewish PStoral Theology,” organized by Rabbi Nancy H Wiener, D.Min. (HUC0JIR/NY) Rabbi Mychal Springer (JTS) and Barbara Breitman, CSW, D.Min. (RRC). The Master Class offered a unique learning environment as a catalyst for serious theological reflection for students and alumni. Each participant prepared a verbatim of an exchange that took place in a congregational setting, that raised theological issues either for the congregant or the rabbi or both. Through discussion, reflection and role-play, the participants and faculty explored theological themes that emerged, and considered the important ways that our lived experiences inform our theological perspectives. The content of these master classes was utilized by Wiener, Breitman and Springer for their own scholarly writing and pedagogical applications in their classrooms and supervisory settings. Their article based on these experiences “P’tach Libi B’Toratecha (Open My Heart to Your Torah): Jewish Pastoral Theology in Process,” was published in the CCAR Journal, Symposium on Judaism, Health and Healing, Summer 2012.

  • Mezorim
  • Sugiyot Chayim
  • Practical Rabbinics curriculum

  • FASPE (Fellowship at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics)
  • Soul Repair Center, Brite Divinity School, Ft. Worth, TX
  • The Institute for the Healing of Memory, Capetown, South Africa
  • The Shay Moral Injury Center, Volunteers of America
Nancy Weiner speaking into microphone

History of the
Blaustein Center

In 2000, the Blaustein Foundation committed $2.5 million to HUC-JIR NY to create The Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Center for Pastoral Counseling, the first center dedicated to pastoral education at a North American Jewish seminary.