JTS’s Boston Dinner of Ideas to Honor David Decter and Rabbi Ben Lanckton

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950
Email: nijacobson@jtsa.edu

March 12, 2010, Waltham, MA

David Decter of Newton will receive the Community Leadership Award, and Rabbi Ben Lanckton of Brookline will receive the Rabbinic Leadership Award at The Jewish Theological Seminary’s (JTS) 2010 Boston Dinner of Ideas. The evening of dining and conversation will take place on Tuesday, April 13, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails and a dinner buffet, at Gann Academy, 333 Forest Street, Waltham.

JTS Chancellor Arnold Eisen will make the awards presentation. In addition, JTS will remember rabbinic student Rafi Lehmann (z”l), a Newton resident whose tragic death earlier this year shook the JTS and greater Boston communities.

The theme of this year’s dinner is “The Art of Pastoral Care: Finding Spiritual Meaning in the Toughest Times,” focusing attention on JTS’s new pastoral education training. Rabbi Mychal Springer, director of the JTS Center for Pastoral Education, will moderate a discussion with the following panelists: the Reverend Dr. Britta Gill-Austern, Austin Philip Guiles Professor of Psychology and Pastoral Theology at Andover Newton Theological School; Rabbi Harold Kushner, author, Conquering Fear: Living Boldly in an Uncertain World and When Bad Things Happen to Good People; and Rabbi Sara Paasche-Orlow, director of Chaplaincy and Religious Services at Hebrew SeniorLife.

DDPastoral care counseling has been the lifework of both honorees. Since 1990, David Decter has been the vice president of Levine Funeral Chapels in Brookline. As a licensed funeral director, he has compassionately counseled bereaved families for many years and continues to conduct seminars with students and adults in the sacred work of Jewish funeral practice. He has received the Flame of Torah Award from the New England Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, and was a member of Rotary International, where he spearheaded fund-raising drives for the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. A graduate of Northeastern University with a BA in Finance, David is married to Carole Decter and the proud father of Adam Decter and Jonathan Decter, who holds a PhD from JTS; father-in-law of Marjorie Ross Decter and Nicole Horberg Decter; and the zayde of Noah, Jacob, Zachary, and Lila Yael.

BLAs the Jewish chaplain and rabbi for Massachusetts General Hospital, Rabbi Ben Lanckton provides for the religious and spiritual needs of patients, families, and staff by way of visits, religious services, and education. Ordained at JTS in 1996, Rabbi Lanckton was born and raised in Newton and is a product of Newton South High School, Hebrew College Prozdor, Camp Yavneh, and Temple Emanuel. Rabbi Lanckton became a board-certified chaplain under the auspices of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains in 2009. He is currently rabbi-in-residence for the Boston Synagogue in downtown Boston. Ben is married to Alisa Lincoln, PhD; they live in Brookline with their children, Noah and Talia.

Proceeds from the 2010 Dinner of Ideas will be directed toward the JTS professional skills curriculum in pastoral care and counseling, bereavement and trauma, and life-cycle rituals.

The couvert for the evening is $180 per person. A range of patron and sponsor opportunities are available. Reservations are required by Monday, April 2. Further information is available by contacting Joan Goodman, director of the Northeast Region of JTS, at (212) 678-8861 or jogoodman@jtsa.edu.