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Project Details

Kashouvot (www.kashouvot.org) is the leader in pioneering pastoral care in Israel.  Surprisingly, spiritual care is not part of the medical establishment here.  Since 2010 we have grown now to a staff of nine, serving hospitals, nursing homes and homebound elders.  Our staff spans the Jewish spectrum and we provide pastoral care in ten languages.  Our main focus is placing qualified chaplains in hospital and nursing homes and community settings and integrating pastoral care into interdisciplinary medical teams.  We serve patients and families of all faiths and backgrounds and offer continuing education and spiritual resources to spiritual caregivers throughout Israel.

Every year chaplaincy students have sought us out, and we have facilitated internship opportunities coupled with personal site supervision and pastoral supervision for students from Hebrew College, Schechter, HUC, Pardes, Midreshet Lindenbaum and the Rabbinate smicha program.

This year two of our staff members are completing courses to become Israeli educators, and we are excited to be able to offer formal training in pastoral care for the first time.

The first course will be taught at Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem, a hospital that serves patients from Gaza and West Bank.  They are introducing a pediatric palliative careprogram in conjunction with Hadassah and King Hussein Hospital in Jordan and asked us to train some spiritual caregivers to add to their staff, and to do general training for their medical staff on the role of spiritual support.

The second course will be for people who want to complete the full 800 hour training as Israeli certified caregivers.  The course is open to religious leaders or seminary students of all faiths, social workers, pastoral caregivers or people with other relevant life experience.

We are looking for funds to supplement the contribution of Augusta Victoria, and to enable curriculum planning and teaching, and recruiting students for the second cohort.

Cost for course for Arabic speakers (currently only 1 out of 88 certified caregivers in Israel is a native Arabic speaker) $10,000

Cost for second, interfaith course (not institutionally sponsored) $20,000

About Us


Kashouvot: Advancing pastoral care in Israel is a not-for-profit established in Jerusalem in 2011 to introduce professional chaplaincy (also referred to as pastoral care or spiritual support) into medical and community settings in Israel.  Kashouvot offers chaplaincy services to vulnerable residents or patients in Israeli healthcare institutions, allowing people to experience personal attention and support at times of illness, transition, before or after surgery, in the golden age, or toward the end of life.  Chaplains allow the patient and family to set the agenda; the first stage is building trust and an empathetic human connection.  Later topics often include “what worth do I still have now that I am physically weak and no longer independent?”, “how can I best use the time I have left?”, “how can I avoid being a burden to my family?”, “what scares me most about death, and how can I shape the experience to make it easier?”, “where is God in this suffering?” and “how do my beliefs and traditions help me face the times ahead, where do I find meaning and strength”.

Our staff brings a variety of tools including attentive listening, reflection of feelings, life review, ethical wills, song, prayer, connection with things the patient finds spiritual such as nature, music, art, writing, telling their life story, guided imagery, etc.  Founder Rabbi Miriam Berkowitz, believes pastoral care has the potential to impact Israeli society by building bridges between different faiths and helping Israelis discover relevance and meaning in their own heritage as well as navigating a medical system that can be impersonal and goal-focused.

Kashouvot is at the cutting edge of social change in Israel – empowering female clergy of diverse backgrounds, breaking down gender barriers and building bridges across religious, denominational, ethnic and racial divides. Our organization employs skilled professionals and encourages our chaplains to reach the highest standards of training and certification.  We provide a direct service to populations in critical need. We have established successful pastoral care programs at Hadassah Ein Kerem in the Bone Marrow Transplant Department and more recently in the Neurology Department, St. Louis French Hospital/ Hospice, Bet Alicia and Hod Yerushalayim nursing homes in Jerusalem and Bet Michal kibbutz nursing home near Haifa.

Kashouvot’s achievements:

Since 2011 we have:

  • served over 1,500 in-patients
  • groomed staff of 10 chaplains and 7 student interns from the Rabbanut, Hebrew Union College, the Schechter Institute, Midreshet Lindenbaum, and Pardes
  • created workshops for paramedical staff to help introduce pastoral skills and reduce workplace-related stress
  • provided support to families and patients
  • Taught at national and international conferences about pastoral and palliative care.

For more information, please contact:

Avraham Sacks
Associate Director
Email: office@kashouvot.org
Mobile: +97258-431-1123

Our Website: www.kashouvot.org

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