The Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health enhanced pastoral education last year at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Los Angeles when the HUC-LA faculty approved Kalsman's proposal for a required pastoral internship for all rabbinical students, starting with students entering the College-Institute in the 2011-2012 academic year.

The Kalsman Institute plans the annual pastoral internship placements, including matching students and sites, coordinating student logistical and financial details, and providing individual and group supervision, reflection, and educational class sessions. Classroom study at the College is complemented by periodic lectures, panels and other events with Kalsman leaders on bioethics, destructive behaviors and other topical subjects related to health and healing.

"Jewish pastoral care, or livui ruhani, spiritual accompaniment, is both a discipline and a professional field. Spiritual accompaniment by rabbis, cantors, chaplains, therapists and trained lay volunteers involves offering spiritual presence to people experiencing transition, brokenness, or pain. Pastoral caregivers help through the modality of relationship, through our Jewish tools (text, prayer and ritual), and through technical skills of listening and assessment. The term livui ruchani, spiritual accompaniment, has been suggested as a label for the work of Jewish pastoral care. The term suggests one who 'walks with' another. It connotes a person involving himself or herself in the journey of the other, which is the heart of the pastoral caregiver’s task."

Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman, MSW, MAJCS, BCC, Director, Hiddur:
The Center for Aging & Judaism, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College