A Rabbinical Student's Blog

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Chaplaincy

Drew receiving his chaplaincy certificate from Rabbi Naomi KalischAs part of the pastoral counseling curriculum at my school, my classmates and I completed a six-week course in chaplaincy this past spring. The course, led by Rabbi Naomi Kalish, lasted over the course of six Mondays, the first and last being from 9-5 and the middle four being several hours in those four afternoons. Unfortunately, I missed the first session since I was at the JFSJ conference [that Monday (1, 2, 3)].
The course was a mix of classroom discussion, assigned readings, some writing, and, of course, meeting with patients - both accompanied by chaplains and by ourselves or with other students - at St. Luke's hospital several blocks away from our school.

I appreciated the course and learned from the course about how to interact with patients. Our interaction with the patients came in the form of being assigned a floor and visiting patients in their rooms. While this activity was no doubt beneficial, I imagine that seldom will I, in my rabbinate, be randomly visiting patients. Imaginably, most, if not all, of my visits will be with congregants or their relatives. (It is possible that while visiting someone, someone may call me over to visit with them, thus the possibility for a visit with someone unconnected with me.) Nevertheless, as pointed out to me in our feedback session, this type of visitation is more difficult than the type in which I may be engaged, thus, it is good training.

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