A Note From Rabbi Daniel Nevins

Posted on Jun 13, 2019

The essence of pastoral care is assisting people during challenging transitions in their lives. Often these transitions are painful or tragic experiences of loss—such as facing illness, the end of life, or of love. Some transitions are ambiguous or even joyous and yet can still be confusing. Think of a new parent, a recovering patient, or a person released from prison. Pastoral care helps people move from one state to another with understanding, resilience, and hope.

We at the JTS Center for Pastoral Education are accustomed to helping other people in transition, but now we face a major one of our own. Rabbi Mychal Springer, who founded our center and led it brilliantly for the past 10 years, announced in May that she had decided to return to work in hospital chaplaincy. Though this was sad for her colleagues and students at JTS, we are grateful for her leadership, and we sent her off with blessings of continued fulfillment in her holy work. We expect Rabbi Springer will continue to teach and advise us at JTS in the years ahead.

Immediately after learning of Mychal’s decision we assembled a search committee and put out the word. Numerous qualified candidates applied for the position, and we are simply delighted to announce that we have found a new director for the Center for Pastoral Education in Rabbi Naomi Kalish. Rabbi Kalish is a certified CPE educator, manager of the pastoral care and education department of NY Presbyterian / East Campuses, and a past president of Neshama: The Association of Jewish Chaplains. She received rabbinic ordination and a master’s in philosophy from JTS and is completing a PhD at NYU in Education and Jewish Studies. In addition to pastoral care, Rabbi Kalish has been a leader in interfaith dialogue and activism, and she will bring many talents to strengthen JTS in every department.

Rabbi Kalish is a warm, kind, and deep person, and we are delighted that she has accepted our enthusiastic offer. She is completing her summer units at NYP and will join us in the fall.

Meanwhile, our summer units are going well, and we are hard at work setting up the extended CPE units for next year, as well as other programs. We look forward to continuing our sacred work with joy and going from strength to strength.

Thank you for your support and have a lovely summer!

Rabbi Danny Nevins
Dean, JTS Division of Religious Leadership