The Center for Pastoral Education at The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) has received a major grant of $250,000 that will help support its growth and development over the next two years. The funds came in the form of a 1:2 challenge grant offered by an anonymous foundation. Thanks to an extraordinary outpouring of confidence and generosity from donors nationwide, JTS promptly raised more than $500,000 to secure the additional $250,000 from the foundation.
JTS's singular Center for Pastoral Education is at the cutting edge of Jewish and multifaith pastoral training. The Center equips seminarians, clergy, laity, 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. The high demand from across the country for the Center's unique programs increases every year.
Rabbi Mychal B. Springer, director of the Center for Pastoral Education and the Helen Fried Kirshblum Goldstein Chair in Professional and Pastoral Skills at JTS, says, "This is a thrilling moment for the Center. The outpouring of support speaks to the centrality of pastoral care today, and we are so grateful for the opportunity to have a broader impact."
Rabbi Springer was included in "America's Top 50 Rabbis for 2013" in Newsweek's online magazine, the Daily Beast.
Carole W. Nussbaum, a cotrustee of the Dr. Bernard Heller Foundation, which contributed to the challenge with a gift of $150,000 to the Center for Pastoral Education, says, "My cotrustees-Ruth O. Freedlander and Meredith Nussbaum-and I feel profoundly privileged to be part of the Center's remarkable growth and impact. The Center is of critical importance, particularly at this time in our nation when services of this sort are vastly depleted or unavailable. We stand fully behind JTS in supporting this invaluable program."
With this new funding, the Center for Pastoral Education at JTS will continue its excellent training programs and expand to directly reach congregations, health care professionals, and additional clergy in the field with pastoral education and a Jewishly grounded approach. The Center will:
• Reach out geographically to better serve rabbis and other clergy across North America, who are seeking intensive, accredited Clinical Pastoral Education instruction and supervision in their home communities.
• Fill a need among Jewish congregations to strengthen the practices of pastoral care within their communities by offering rabbis, cantors, and Jewish congregational lay leaders more options for learning with JTS, including distance learning courses and online resources.
Work with health care professionals-from doctors and nurses to therapists and social workers-to help them augment their professional training and practice with greater attunement to the spiritual dimensions of care.