By Jane Gordon for Temple Israel, Or Haneshamah and Kehillat Beth Israel
Jewish pastoral care is rooted in Jewish values such as bikkur cholim (visiting the sick) and gemilut hasadim (deeds of loving-kindness).
In 2018, with financial support from the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, the first Jewish Pastoral Care Training Program was delivered by Temple Israel, with help from Or Haneshamah and Kehillat Beth Israel. This course was run in response to a clear need for Jewish volunteer spiritual care teams to be established at the Ottawa Hospital, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, and the Queensway Carleton Hospital. While several other faith groups already had well established teams in place at the hospitals, there were no Jewish teams.
The course was attended by members of the Ottawa Jewish community who expressed an interest in becoming a Jewish spiritual care volunteer at one of the hospitals. The course is a required prerequisite for volunteering in spiritual care at the hospitals.
Until the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, about 50 per cent of those who completed the program in 2018 were actively visiting Jewish patients at the institutions. Unfortunately, visits have not been allowed in recent months due to COVID-19, but the intention is that once the pandemic ends, those same teams will go back to work, hopefully with additional volunteers on board.
Temple Israel, Or Haneshamah and Kehillat Beth Israel are delighted to announce that with the help of a new grant from Federation’s Innovative Capacity Building Fund, they will be running the next Jewish Pastoral Care Training Program online via Zoom. It will be held on eight Thursday mornings, from 9:30 until 11:30 am, starting October 15.
Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg, Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton and Rabbi Eytan Kenter, and trainers from the Ottawa Pastoral Care Program will deliver the program. This course will be of interest to those in Ottawa’s Jewish community who provide support in their everyday lives. As well, completion of the course will meet the necessary prerequisites for joining the Jewish Spiritual Care Volunteer teams at the hospitals.
Contact the Temple Israel Office – firstname.lastname@example.org – to register for the course. The charge for the training program is $50. For more information, contact Jane Gordon at email@example.com or Susan Fried at firstname.lastname@example.org.