Center for Pastoral Education

Center for Pastoral Education

The Center for Pastoral Education  was established in 2009 with the goal of teaching the art of pastoral care to seminary students-Jewish and non-Jewish-and ordained clergy of all faiths. Studies at the center combine rigorous academic courses with the transformative learning process of Clinical Pastoral Education.

Accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) to offer level I, level II, and supervisory CPE, the Center for Pastoral Education at The Jewish Theological Seminary turns day-treatment programs for the mentally ill, nursing homes, hospitals, senior housing, hospices, and congregations into virtual classrooms.

The work of the center is possible thanks to the generous funding of the Charles H. Revson Foundation, UJA-Federation of New York, the Jewish Federation for the Education of Women, and the Rita J. & Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation.

The Center for Pastoral Education Offers the Following Courses and Certificates:

1. One unit of CPE (400 hours)

1.1. Full-time summer CPE programs for seminarians

1.2. Part-time hospice CPE program during the full academic year

1.3. Part-time "Sandy Recovery" CPE program during the full academic year

2. Half-unit of CPE (240 hours): three groups of the monthly part-time multifaith CPE program for ordained clergy and religious community leaders

3. Certificate in Pastoral Care and Counseling

4. Academic courses in Pastoral Care and Counseling

Course of Study for Units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

Full-Time Summer CPE Programs

This 400-hour, 12-week intensive training program teaches seminarians of all faiths how to best provide pastoral care. The center offers two unique summer CPE programs: the Social Service Agency CPE and the Hospice CPE. Chaplain interns spend three days per week providing pastoral care at their clinical sites. The remaining two days are spent at JTS in educational seminars.

Students will earn credit for one full unit of CPE with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE).

Learn more about the program and apply.

Part-Time Hospice CPE Program

JTS is offering a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) to seminarians of all faiths during the 2015-2016 academic year. Students will complete their clinical hours at Zicklin Jewish Hospice Residence in Riverdale, New York; Jacob Perlow Hospice; and Metropolitan Jewish Health System. Students will earn credit for one full unit of CPE with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE).

Learn more about the program and apply.

Part-Time Multifaith Program for Clergy

The part-time CPE program for pulpit clergy and religious community leaders allows participants to delve into the unique aspects of pastoral work that arise in congregational settings. Participants will earn credit for one half-unit of CPE with the ACPE. Group supervision and didactics are offered on two different days: one section meets monthly for a full day of seminars on Mondays, and two sections meet monthly on Tuesdays. Students will earn credit for one half-unit of CPE with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE).

Learn more about the program and apply.

Policies and Procedures for All JTS CPE Students

The Center for Pastoral Education meets all ACPE standards, including ensuring that students are informed in writing of all policies, procedures, rights, and responsibilities that pertain to them as participants in ACPE programs at JTS.

Certificate in Pastoral Care and Counseling

The Certificate in Pastoral Care and Counseling is open to graduate-level students and represents an integrated pastoral care curriculum that includes academic learning, professional skills, and religious and personal identity formation. Students who are interested in preparing themselves for the world of professional chaplaincy will be in an excellent position to become leaders in the field. Students who wish to become clergy or religious professionals in agencies or schools will have the in-depth pastoral training to serve the needs of their congregants, clients, and students on a high level, and with expertise in the rich pastoral resources of Judaism.

Learn more about the program and apply.

Academic Courses in Pastoral Care and Counseling

Theoretical approaches to counseling individuals and families, developing language for care, boundaries, confidentiality, initiating contact, interviewing, active listening, assessment, referrals, and communal resources. Requires two hours a week of volunteer pastoral work in a local hospital or nursing home.

This course prepares students for the inevitable moment when a person suffers a calamity and turns to the clergy asking, "Why?" Through engagement with a range of sources and with one another, students develop pastoral responses and cultivate theological beliefs that are grounded in Jewish traditions and are robust in the face of acute suffering. Prerequisite: PAS 7431 or equivalent.


This seminar covers bikkur holim as a powerful tool to transform a community, and practical guidelines for mentoring lay volunteers. We will look at halakhic, theological, and spiritual dimensions of bikkur holim. We will also learn concrete methods of integrating traditional and contemporary approaches into practice, and how to translate them into community action.


Surveying the basics of many mental illness and substance abuse challenges currently facing the Jewish community, this course explores the spiritual dimensions of mental health and recovery, the pastoral roles of k'lei kodesh, and related problems and potentials in synagogue and Jewish communal life.


Students will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the broad scope of the trauma phenomenology and its collective historical sources and their intergenerational transfer, interfacing with current threats and stressors in daily life. The personal impact and posttraumatic consequences of extreme life events will be explored at various levels, personal, familial, communal, and social, including in the context of the military.


This course will equip students to engage issues of sexuality, sexual identity, and gender that emerge and develop throughout the lifespan. We will draw on traditional sources and values in dialogue with current communal realities. Critical approaches will be coupled with pastoral skill development in areas such as boundaries, marital counseling, coping with fertility issues, and sexual abuse prevention and counseling.

Financial Aid

JTS provides financial aid on a need basis. For details of eligibility, visit the Registrar. Students must be citizens of either the United States or Canada to qualify for aid, although certain categories of non-citizens of the United States may be eligible.

To continue to receive Title IV student financial assistance student loans, students must complete at least one-fifth of the required curriculum each year in order to meet the requirement of maintaining satisfactory progress.

Some fellowships are available to other international students on a highly competitive basis through the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, 15 East 26th Street, New York, New York 10010, (212) 679-4074.

Academic Standards

The Center for Pastoral Education follows the academic standards of The Rabbinical School.

Union Theological Seminary and Hebrew Union College

In accordance with agreements between JTS and Union Theological Seminary (UTS) and between JTS and Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC), students may take courses at UTS or HUC, subject to the approval of the director of the Center for Pastoral Education and the instructors. Tuition will be covered by the tuition paid at JTS. Students interested in specific courses at UTC or HUC should consult with the director prior to registration.

Graduate Placement

In the final year of the program, students meet with the director of the Center for Pastoral Education to discuss career choices. They are guided in the possible pursuit of Clinical Pastoral Education residencies, chaplaincy positions, other forms of pastoral work, and certification by the National Association of Jewish Chaplains or the Association of Professional Chaplains.