Hebrew College’s rabbinical school to expand chaplaincy, counseling training

A major grant will help Hebrew College expand pastoral care training for rabbinical students, the school announced today.

The $290,000 award will support the expansion of courses on caregiving, spirituality, and pastoral counseling.

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Hebrew College—Boston’s largest and most comprehensive institution for community Jewish education and home to the area’s only rabbinical school—has also received $200,000 to provide financial aid for students in the master’s in Jewish education program, beginning with students who matriculate this fall.

Another recent grant of $20,000 the school received recently will support the creation of a curriculum to teach young children about God and spiritual experience.

Read more about it in Hebrew College’s release:


NEWTON CENTRE, Mass. (April 9, 2013) — Hebrew College has received three notable grants totaling more than $500,000 to fund important professional-development programs and initiatives at the Rabbinical School and the Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education.

The largest of these grants — for $290,000 over three years — was awarded by Bloomberg Philanthropies to the Rabbinical School to greatly expand, enhance and integrate the school’s curriculum in chaplaincy, counseling and pastoral-care training.

The Shoolman School received the two other grants — a $200,000, three-year award from the Legacy Heritage Fund to establish the Legacy Heritage Midcareer Fellowship Program at Hebrew College, and a $20,000 award from The Covenant Foundation to create a play-based curriculum that introduces young children to the notion of God and spiritual wonder.

The Bloomberg grant, given in honor of Rabbi Suzanne Offit, a 2009 Rabbinical School graduate, will support the Rabbinical School in significantly enhancing the three core elements of its clinical-training program: Clinical Pastoral Education, an intensive 12-week summer program that gives students hands-on experience in caregiving; Ikvotecha, a monthly program that allows students to explore and nurture their spiritual lives by working closely with rabbis and therapists; and course work in pastoral counseling, life-cycle counseling and mourning and loss.

“Today’s rabbis are called upon to respond to individuals at some of the most difficult and intimate moments in their lives,” said Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, dean of the Rabbinical School. “No matter the setting — a congregation, a college campus, a hospital, a summer camp, a day-school classroom — the rabbi must be prepared to respond with sensitivity and sophistication to a wide range of personal crises and spiritual questions.”

The Legacy Heritage award will subsidize tuition for 15 students in the college’s Master of Jewish Education program. The initial cohort will matriculate in fall 2013 and spring 2014. In addition to their course work and professional-development placements, students in the program will have the opportunity to attend an annual conference with other Legacy fellows from around the country.

“We are delighted to be partnering with the Legacy Heritage Fund to provide substantial financial aid packages for our innovative Master of Jewish Education program,” said Rabbi Michael Shire, dean of the Shoolman Graduate School. “This opportunity provides all those passionate about Jewish education to fulfill their aspirations of personal and professional development.”

The Covenant grant will support Shire’s efforts to introduce Godly Play curricula into several area supplementary schools, day schools and early-childhood centers over the next year. The curricula will be developed by a group of educators and practitioners — a so-called community of practice — who come together with the common goal of promoting sacred teaching and spiritual learning in Jewish educational settings.

“Our goal is to devise new conceptions of learning that reflect spiritually rich Jewish educational environments,” Shire said. “If we are successful, the community of practice will establish a new paradigm of religious growth in Jewish education.”

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Founded in 1921, Hebrew College promotes excellence in Jewish learning and leadership within a pluralistic environment of open inquiry, intellectual rigor, personal engagement and spiritual creativity. Its programs include graduate degrees and courses in Jewish studies, education and leadership; community education for adult learners; and a supplemental Hebrew high school and middle school. For more information, visit www.hebrewcollege.edu.