The Center for Pastoral Education at The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) has received a $1 million grant from the Charles H. Revson Foundation to renew the foundation's commitment to the growth of the extraordinary program that it helped found. JTS embraces training in pastoral care as a key component of the preparation of well-rounded Jewish and multifaith spiritual leaders for the 21st century.
JTS's Center for Pastoral Education is at the cutting edge of Jewish and multifaith pastoral training. The demand from across the country for the center's unique programs has steadily increased. It equips seminary students, clergy, lay leaders, and professionals of any religion or Jewish movement to serve the spiritual needs of those in crisis within their own faith traditions and in broader society, and is accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. Participants directly serve their communities through active involvement in social service agencies, hospices, and congregations.
"This is a thrilling moment for the center," said Rabbi Mychal Springer, director of the Center for Pastoral Education and Helen Fried Kirshblum Goldstein Chair in Professional and Pastoral Skills at JTS.
"We are honored to help expand the remarkable work of the center, under Rabbi Springer's brilliant and compassionate leadership," said Julie Sandorf, president of the Charles H. Revson Foundation. "Anyone who has seen a loved one healed of despair even when a cure is no longer possible knows that the center's approach is indispensable."
There is growing demand from clergy and congregational volunteers who want to deepen their preparation as pastoral caregivers, but lack access to training that meets their needs and is designed from a Jewish perspective. This grant will allow the center to develop new outreach to work with communities directly, expand distance learning options, and be a source for Jewish training resources so that the center's reach extends across North America.
"I am grateful and excited at the decision by the Revson Foundation to award a second grant to the Center for Pastoral Education," says JTS Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen. "The center has already changed many lives for the better, and the expansion of its activities will enable JTS to train more current and future leaders of our community to listen better, empathize more deeply, and serve with attuned hearts as well as open minds."
The Charles H. Revson Foundation's five-year grant is positioned as a matching-grant challenge, and therefore is a leveraged opportunity to earn new philanthropic support in order to reach more communities over the next five years-and, through a new endowment campaign, for many years to come.
The center recently received other grants that also strengthen its programs. UJA-Federation of New York expanded its funding to JTS for student pastoral care internships in hospices and social service agencies, adding a new focus on agencies whose clients were affected by Hurricane Sandy. The Jewish Foundation for Education of Women announced that it will provide scholarships for women earning certificates in Pastoral Care and Counseling at JTS. The Dr. Bernard Heller Foundation provided funding to support the supervisory resident program at the center.