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The program is offering pastoral care in the Neurology department two days per week.  We began planning in June 2016 and Rabbi Annabelle Herciger-Tenzer began work in November 2016, helping patients cope with the sudden, life-changing effects of strokes, multiple sclerosis and other neurological issues. Loss of independence, unknown chances of improvement, and family adjustments are all stresses which the staff cope with daily in this 50-bed unit. Many patients struggle with feelings of helplessness and despair. They need a safe space to give voice to their feelings and grapple with the theological questions that arise; they eagerly welcome the chaplain’s time, attention and support and the opportunity to express their anger, fear and other emotions. The goals are to provide quality pastoral care, show the benefits and need for it, establish the chaplain as part of the staff, and expand services and presence within Hadassah with an eye to systemic change. We also support female clergy from various backgrounds in meaningful employment and leadership.

Annabelle, originally from Belgium, is a conservative rabbi and certified spiritual care-giver.  She speaks basic Arabic and Indonesian and provides pastoral care in Hebrew, French, English, German, Yiddish, Flemish and Spanish.  She helps patients identify their self-worth and spirituality and to cope with illness and readjustment. Rabbi Annabelle’s warm manner, her experience as a tour guide and her familiarity with the beliefs and rituals of many cultures make her a wonderful emissary for pastoral care and for Judaism.

Total Project Budget (Estimated): $24,000

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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