Bikur Cholim

Visiting the Sick: Jewish approaches to confronting illness, loss, and significant life challenges.

May 20, 2024

“A Jewish Approach to Addiction”
Cantor Rabbi Rob Jury, Ph.D. Founder, Clinical Director, Tikvah Center for Jewish Recovery & Healing
Rabbi Ilan Glazer, Founder, Our Jewish Recovery

Addiction exists in the Jewish community. We are not immune from the challenges of drinking, using drugs, sex, gambling, vaping, binging, or other addictive behaviors. There are more ways to harm ourselves today than ever before. How can the Jewish world meet the needs of those impacted by addiction? Join us to learn the Torah of recovery with Rabbis Rob Jury and Ilan Glazer.

“Widen the place of your tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of your habitations, do not spare; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.” — Isaiah 54:2

Once again we bring together our community of caregivers, social workers, chaplains, Rabbis and others committed to Jewish healing for our virtual National Bikur Cholim Conference.  This year’s conference will begin with a stellar group of Jewish community leaders discussing our response to the tragedy in Israel and emerging antisemitism.  It then will address specific on the ground efforts to adapt our efforts to providing healing to the current crisis.

 The second part of the program recognizes that our Jewish communities and the healing issues we face often are challenged when we try to serve those outside our traditional communities.  Our objective is to challenge us to expand and strengthen our circles of caring by looking at how we connect with and embrace those who are often outside our circles, including

• People with disabilities • Family estrangement • Dealing with death by suicide • Loneliness • Jews of color • LBGTQ+ communities • Addiction and alcoholism

Conference Program, Online, on Select Mondays
January 15 – June 10, 2024

8:00pm – 9:30pm EST     5:00pm – 6:30pm PST

For volunteers, social workers, chaplains and
professionals who work in the field of bikur cholim
(visiting the sick) and the general public

$72 for the full conference program for 9 sessions; $36 for 3 sessions; $18 for a single session
— scholarships widely available — All sessions will be recorded

Program Questions: Contact David Balto at or 202-577-5424
Sponsorship and Registration Questions: Contact


January 15, 2024

“The Healing of Our People: Responding to the Challenges
of War and Increased Antisemitism”
Eric Fingerhut, President and CEO Jewish Federations of North America
Reuben Rotman, President and CEO, Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies
Rabbanit Alissa Thomas-Newborn, BCC, President-Elect, Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains, Chaplain NewYork-Presbyterian, Rabbanit, Netivot Shalom
Dr. Norman Blumenthal, Zachter Family Director of Trauma and Crisis Intervention for OHEL

In many respects everything changed after October 7. We face challenges in the pain and stress faced by so many effected by the war, conflict and increased antisemitism. What are the challenges and how have we responded and how will we respond to future challenges. Hear from national community leaders about how we are finding new paths for healing and support.

January 29, 2024

“On the ground efforts to adapt to the crisis”
Rabbi Joseph S. Ozarowski, D. Min., BCC, President, Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains, Rabbinic Counselor and Chaplain for Jewish Child and Family Services, Chicago
Denise Dunager, Special Needs, Bereavement, Meditation Programs
Dr. Carly Namdar, Resilience Programs Coordinator, Ohel Kestenbaum Family International Children’s Services

How have our caregiving entities adapted to the crisis; what new programs are being developed;  how are needs being recognized and addressed.

The spiritual needs of people with disabilities.
February is Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) and our programs on disability are dedicated to the memory of
Judith Ellen Heumann was an American disability rights activist, known as the “Mother of the Disability Rights Movement.”

February 5, 2024

“A Holistic Perspective on Supporting People with Disabilities”
Shelley Christensen, MA, FAAIDD, Creator, Inclusion Innovations,
Senior Director of Faith Inclusion and Belonging, Respectability

The spiritual needs of people with disabilities.  February is Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) and our programs on disability are dedicated to the memory of Judith Ellen Heumann, who was an American disability rights activist, known as the “Mother of the Disability Rights Movement.”

February 19, 2024

“Expanding our Tents to Create Belonging”
Rabbi Lauren Tuchman, Disability Access Consultant, Rabbinic Teacher
In this session, we will explore together the important disability wisdom that can be foundational for creating caring communities for people with disabilities. Rooted in classic text and the contemporary Torah of Rabbi/Dr. Julia Watts Belser, we will gain a deeper appreciation for the critical wisdom from disability communities and individuals that is often outside our tent.  The session will give us tools to be more engaged, curious and open and create belonging.

March 4, 2024

“Let’s Talk About it: Suicide Loss in the Jewish Community”
Rabbi Suzanne Offit, Board Certified Chaplain
Marjie Sokoll, Founding Director, Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center
for Jewish Healing, Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Boston

Death by suicide is unspoken, lost behind a taboo of shame, isolation and discomfort.  These tragedies are more common that we expect and we need to provide avenues where the trauma can be expressed and shared.  This program will address how we can provide suicide loss survivors with a safe, supportive and judgment free environment where they can express themselves, find comfort, hope and resources with others confronting the pain and loss of a suicide.  Rabbi Offit and Ms. Sokoll have developed a Suicide Loss Survivor Support Group as part of JFCS Boston.

March 18, 2024

“Family Estrangement in our Community: Coping and Caring”
Rabbi Judith Beiner, Chaplain, Jewish Family and Children’s Services Atlanta
Rabbi Chaplain Miriam Herscher, Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, New York City

Family Estrangements are as old as our Biblical Ancestors, whose stories seldom ended with ‘happily ever after.’  Many people today experience complicated family situations which give rise to isolation and loneliness, as well as emotions such as anger, sadness, shame and resentment.  Rabbis Beiner and Herscher will share a bit of research on the topic, anecdotes illustrating the incidence of family estrangements in the Jewish community, as well as coping strategies and ways in which we can provide support.  

April 1, 2024

“Loneliness as a Spiritual Crisis
Rabbi Mychal B. Springer, ACPE, BCC, Manager, Clinical Pastoral Education, Department of Spiritual Care & Chaplaincy, New York-Presbyterian Hospital
Rabbi Marc Katz, Associate Rabbi, Cong. Beth Elohim in Park Slope, Brooklyn and author of
“The Heart of Loneliness: How Jewish Wisdom Can Help You Cope and Find Comfort.”

Loneliness is a spiritual issue which people have been dealing with through the millenia. Jewish sources have taught us that the articulation of that loneliness, the outpouring of the heart, is a powerful antidote to that loneliness. We will explore traditional texts and poems that foster resilience in the face of loneliness.

May 20, 2024

“A Jewish Approach to Addiction”
Cantor Rabbi Rob Jury, Ph.D. Founder, Clinical Director, Tikvah Center for Jewish Recovery & Healing
Rabbi Ilan Glazer, Founder, Our Jewish Recovery

Addiction exists in the Jewish community. We are not immune from the challenges of drinking, using drugs, sex, gambling, vaping, binging, or other addictive behaviors. There are more ways to harm ourselves today than ever before. How can the Jewish world meet the needs of those impacted by addiction? Join us to learn the Torah of recovery with Rabbis Rob Jury and Ilan Glazer.

Conference Speakers

Rabbi Judith R. Beiner

Rabbi Judith R. Beiner

Chaplain, Jewish Family and Children’s Services Atlanta

Rabbi Judith Beiner serves as the Community Chaplain at Jewish Family and Career Services of Atlanta. Rabbi Beiner has a Rabbinic Ordination and Masters in Hebrew Letters from the Hebrew Union College in New York City. She holds a Master of Arts in Education from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan. She earned a certificate in Gerontology and Palliative Care from Yeshiva University.  Rabbi Beiner has served congregations in Colorado, Kansas and Georgia.  As  Community chaplain, Rabbi Beiner provides pastoral care to those encountering illness or crisis, information and resources to staff in care facilities to support the spiritual and religious needs of their Jewish residents,  trainings and workshops in a variety of community settings, geared towards increasing understanding about Jews and Jewish practices.  Rabbi Beiner also facilitates support groups for those experiencing grief and loss, and family estrangements.

Dr. Norman Blumenthal

Dr. Norman Blumenthal

Zachter Family Director of Trauma and Crisis Intervention for OHEL

Dr. Norman Blumenthal is a licensed clinical psychologist who serves as the Director of Trauma Services for Ohel’s Zachter Family National Trauma Center and Adjunct Professor at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology both of Yeshiva University. In private practice in Cedarhurst, New York, Dr. Blumenthal is also a Dayan/Arbitrator for the Beth Din of American, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Education for CAHAL and a past Vice President of NEFESH.

Denise S. Dunager, M.S. Ed

Denise S. Dunager, M.S. Ed

Special Needs, Bereavement, Meditation Programs

Denise S. Dunager M.S. Ed has worked for over forty years with special needs children and their families. She was trained by Dr. James Gordon M.D., founder the Center for Mind Body Medicine. She is a fellow of the Refuat Ha-Nefesh Spiritual program as well as The Bereavement Training program, both offered by Federation’s Mishkan Miami. During the pandemic she offered her mind body skills group, through zoom, both in the States and in Israel. She volunteers weekly in an assisted living community, playing cards, bringing challah for Shabbat as well as leading celebration of life ceremonies to allow all the residents to say their good byes.

When the war in Israel broke out, Dunager, who herself has a daughter and grandchildren in Israel decided to combine her knowledge and created a zoom support group for mothers with children living in Israel. The first half of the class is dedicated to sharing and the second involves a meditation. The zoom class for mothers meets Mondays at 8 pm EST.

The next Well Being  through Meditation  class will be on February 21st, open to all, no fee.

 Contact denisedunager@gmail to learn more.


Shelley Christensen, MA, FAAIDD

Shelley Christensen, MA, FAAIDD

Creator, Inclusion Innovations, Senior Director of Faith Inclusion and Belonging, Respectability

Shelly Christensen, MA, FAAIDD, is the Senior Director of Faith Inclusion and Belonging at RespectAbility.

Shelly has been at the forefront of faith community disability inclusion for 23 years. 

Shelly co-founded Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month (JDAIM). Through Shelly’s leadership, JDAIM is recognized around the world by local, national, and international Jewish organizations.

In her groundbreaking book, From Longing to Belonging—A Practical Guide to Including People with Disabilities and Mental Health Conditions in Your Faith Community, Shelly uses personal and professional stories to teach faith organizations to create cultures of belonging and inclusion. 

Shelly received the Reimagining Spirituality Leadership Award from the Religion and Spirituality Network of AAIDD in recognition of her leadership, innovation, and contributions.

Shelly holds a Master of Arts degree in Developmental Disabilities from St. Mary’s University. She is a graduate of the National Leadership Institute on Developmental Disabilities. 

Eric Fingerhut

Eric Fingerhut

President and CEO Jewish Federations of North America

Eric D. Fingerhut is an American politician, attorney, and academic administrator, serving as the President and CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). Prior to his appointment at JFNA, he served as president and CEO of Hillel International from 2013 to 2019. Earlier, he served as the corporate Vice President of Education and STEM Learning business at Battelle Memorial Institute, Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, Ohio state senator and member of the United States House of Representatives for one term.

Fingerhut was appointed Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents on March 14, 2007 by Governor Ted Strickland. This position is a member of the Ohio Governor’s Cabinet. On February 22, 2011, he submitted his resignation to Gov. John Kasich, effective March 14, 2011, after serving four years of his five-year term. Chancellor Fingerhut earned a reputation as an innovative leader and ardent advocate of the value of higher education. (Wikipedia)


Rabbi Ilan Glazer

Rabbi Ilan Glazer

Founder and Director of Our Jewish Recovery

Rabbi Ilan Glazer is passionate about ending the stigma of addiction in the Jewish community, and helping Jews in recovery, and their loved ones, find recovery and serenity, one day at a time. He believes that life is a beautiful journey of learning and growth, suffering can be transformed into joy, and everyone is a miracle.

Rabbi Ilan is the Founder and Director of Our Jewish Recovery, which exists to uplift and heal the hearts and souls of everyone impacted by addiction in the Jewish community. Our Jewish Recovery aims to end the stigma of addiction in the Jewish community, and ensure that everyone impacted by addiction receives the support we all deserve. The private Our Jewish Recovery facebook group is the heart and soul of the community, where over 1300 members share their experience, strength, and hope, and support each other on their journey. In addition, Our Jewish Recovery has 12 weekly gatherings, with Torah study from a recovery lens, Jewish recovery book studies, and recovery meetings, along with classes, virtual retreats, and much more in the works. For far too long, the Jewish community has turned a blind eye to the prevalence and impact of addiction in our midst. Our Jewish Recovery is changing the conversation and providing hope and strength to all who come our way.

Ilan is also the author of the award-winning And God Created Recovery: Jewish Wisdom to Help You Break Free From Your Addiction, Heal Your Wounds, and Unleash Your Inner Freedom. Rabbi Ilan teaches and speaks widely about recovery, grief and mourning, happiness, prayer, and spirituality, and is a freelance recovery, grief, and transformation coach, a spiritual counselor, and an accomplished storyteller and musician. Gam Ki Elech: Turning Our Sorrows Into Song, Ilan’s 1st album of original music, was released in January 2024. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife Sherri and their cats Annie Lev and Peretz Dov.

More information about Ilan’s work can be found at  (friends & allies welcome to join).

Connect with Rabbi Ilan at


Miriam Herscher

Miriam Herscher

Rabbi, a Board-Certified Chaplain and a licensed social worker

Miriam has worked for the Jewish Board , the  largest NYC social services agency in New York, for 9 years, focusing on bereavement, mental health and  spirituality support. She facilitates Holiday bereavement programs for Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah, and Passover, does individual bereavement support, and runs bereavement groups for spousal loss, adult child loss, sibling loss, and an “Over 80s” support group. She also supports clergy and congregants in two synagogues in, to help them with a variety of social service and mental health needs.

Miriam holds a social work master’s degree from Columbia University and, prior to working at The Jewish Board, worked at Citigroup for 28 years in a variety of positions, ending as a VP Project manager for technology initiatives. She has worked as a chaplain at Mount Sinai Hospital System for 4 years .

She attended the Academy for Jewish Religion rabbinical school.


Cantor Rabbi Robert T. Jury, Ph.D.

Cantor Rabbi Robert T. Jury, Ph.D.


Cantor Rabbi Dr. Rob Jury (he/him/his) is the Founder and Clinical Director of the Tikvah Center for Jewish Recovery & Healing, a state licensed and JCAHO accredited Jewish addiction treatment program in Illinois. He received his PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision at Northern Illinois University, in DeKalb, Illinois. He has a Masters of Arts (MA) in Counseling from Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, and a Masters of Counseling in Narrative Therapy & Community Work (MC-NTCW) from the University of Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia. He is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in the State of Illinois a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the State of Connecticut and the State of Wisconsin, a registered and accredited member of the Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP), a National Certified Counselor (NCC), a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC), a Certified Reciprocal Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CRADC), an Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS), and a Board Certified Chaplain (BCC) with the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) and the Neshama Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC) where he currently serves as the Chair of the Certification Commission and the NAJC representative on the joint taskforce of the spiritual care strategic partners committee on establishing behavioral health specialty certification for chaplains.

He is a Core Faculty-Clinical Lecturer in the Counseling@Northwestern program at The Family Institute at Northwestern University where he teaches addiction counseling and research methods. He completed a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Residency at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital with a focus on trauma and addiction chaplaincy. He has a graduate certificate in Jewish Leadership from a joint program of Spertus Institute of Jewish Learning & Leadership and Northwestern University, a graduate certificate in Trauma Informed Counseling and a graduate certificate in Advanced Quantitative Research Methods in Education from Northern Illinois University. Rob completed training in the use of the Mandala Assessment Research Instrument (MARI) and is a Veriditas Advanced Trained and Certified Labyrinth Facilitator with experience facilitating the therapeutic use of labyrinths in inpatient, residential, and outpatient treatment of substance use disorders. Rob completed the Spiritual Counseling Certificate Program through the Elaine Breslow Institute of Beit T’Shuvah in Los Angeles, and completed a research fellowship in Jewish Pedagogies of Wellbeing at M2 The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education.

Rob conducted research funded by a grant from the Jewish United Fund Breakthrough and Innovation Grant on establishing faith-based sober living homes, conducted a qualitative study and needs assessment for JCFS Chicago addiction services, and researches spiritual assessment across the ASAM Dimensions. He has authored scholarly articles on Jewish addiction treatment and clinical publications for use in addiction treatment including the clinical workbook for primary treatment Torah, Recovery & You.

Rabbi Marc Katz

Rabbi Marc Katz

Rabbi, Temple Ner Tamid of Bloomfield, NJ, and author of “The Heart of Loneliness: How Jewish Wisdom Can Help You Cope and Find Comfort.”

Rabbi Marc Katz came to Temple Ner Tamid in 2018. Since coming he has concentrated on a host of initiatives including expanding the Israel discourse, enriching adult education, engaging empty nesters, re-imagining parent engagement in Religious School, pursuing social justice, and opening up spiritual avenues during prayer. This is all in addition to his regular clergy duties (leading services, conducting funerals, visiting sick congregants, officiating at weddings, and working with b’nei mitzvah students).

Originally from Barrington RI, Rabbi Katz received a B.A. from Tufts University in 2006. At Tufts, he studied Comparative Religion while serving as the captain of his college swim team. Before entering rabbinical school, Rabbi Katz worked as a Legislative Assistant for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism lobbying for environmental protection and health care reform on behalf of the Reform movement. Rabbi Katz graduated from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in 2012 and began work as assistant rabbi at Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope, Brooklyn where he had been working as a student rabbi and religious school teacher for four years. Rabbi Katz served a total of ten years at CBE, eventually attaining the title of Associate Rabbi.

Rabbi Katz is the author of the book, The Heart of Loneliness: How Jewish Wisdom Can Help You Cope and Find Comfort (Jewish lights), which was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award.

When not at Temple Ner Tamid, Rabbi Katz is a judge for the National Jewish Book Awards.

Rabbi Katz and his wife Ayelet live in Montclair. He can often be found running or on a bike and is always excited to talk about what you are reading.

Dr. Carly Namdar

Dr. Carly Namdar

Resilience Programs Coordinator Ohel Kestenbaum Family International Children’s Services

Dr. Namdar is an educational psychologist and holds a doctorate in education from Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, where she studied the mental health impact of the pandemic on Jewish day school students, and predictors of resilience, wellbeing and post-traumatic growth. Carly was awarded the Robert M. Sherman Young Pioneer Award from the Jewish Education Project in 2020 for her work in the field of social-emotional learning. Carly is passionate about bridging moral and character education and positive psychology to introduce students, families and faculty to ideas related to building resilience and breaking down stigma associated with mental health. In her work in the Jewish educational community, Carly has worked toward fostering a school environment that promotes resilience, inclusion and social cohesion as students build the skills and agency to navigate their everchanging world. Carly has extensive experience delivering and coordinating social-emotional learning, professional development and implementing counseling and interventions to address students’ social, emotional and academic needs.

Dr. Namdar is the Resilience Programs Coordinator for Ohel Kestenbaum Family International Children’s Services, coordinates Ohel’s School-Based Services and oversees Ohel’s Helpline for educators and youth support professionals.

Rabbanit Alissa Thomas-Newborn, BCC

Rabbanit Alissa Thomas-Newborn, BCC

NAJC president-elect Chaplain, NewYork-Presbyterian Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Rabbanit, Congregation Netivot Shalom

Rabbanit Alissa Thomas-Newborn is a Board Certified Chaplain at NewYork-Presbyterian Columbia University Irving Medical Center. She specializes in Palliative Care, Critical Care, and Emergency Psychiatric Care, and she is the current president-elect of NAJC (Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains). Rabbanit Alissa is the Rabbanit at Congregation Netivot Shalom in Teaneck, NJ. A prolific writer and speaker, she received her ordination from Yeshivat Maharat and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Brandeis University with a degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Classical Studies Archaeology and Ancient History. She lives in Teaneck, NJ with her husband Akiva and daughter Ella.


Rabbi Suzanne Offit

Rabbi Suzanne Offit

Board Certified Chaplain

Rabbi Suzanne Offit is a Board Certified Chaplain. She has served as a community rabbi and Palliative Care chaplain in post-acute services at Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston for 15 years. Her focus was geriatrics and end-of-life work with patients and families. In this urban setting, Rabbi Offit worked intentionally to understand through her many experiences and research how best to serve vulnerable populations in our society and how substance use disorder, moral injury, chronic illness and racism affect families especially in the health care system. 
Both personal and professional experiences with suicide loss energized her interest and research into “Transforming the Jewish Communal Response to Suicide.” Rabbi Offit partners closely with Marjie Sokoll, JF&CS of Greater Boston. Using the Jewish Healing model of Rabbi and Social Worker, the two have created communal education programs and yizkor services specifically for suicide loss for the Greater Boston area, and with Zoom, expanding their work nationally. They have also created a robust Suicide Loss Survivor bereavement group that welcomes folks on Zoom from around the US.
Rabbi Offit offers support and learning to rabbis, rabbinical students, chaplains and community leaders, and grief support to suicide loss survivor families and communities.
Rabbi Offit identifies herself as an embodied theologian, living her life as a seeker and supporter of the sacred in life. She experiences human connectedness as the root of deep joy and meaning, and the isolation of suffering as its opposition. Rabbi Offit is called to accompany those suffering so they are simply not alone, and hopes to help them find a spark of light for coping, for healing and for growth. 

Rabbi Joseph S. Ozarowski, D. Min., BCC

Rabbi Joseph S. Ozarowski, D. Min., BCC

President, Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains, Rabbinic Counselor and Chaplain for Jewish Child and Family Services, Chicago

Rabbi Dr. Joseph S. Ozarowski is Rabbinic Counselor and Chaplain for JCFS Chicago. He is also an adjunct professor at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership as well as the Academy for Jewish Religion in Los Angeles.  Rabbi Ozarowski was cited by Chicago Jewish News as a “Top Jewish Chicagoan of 2013,” and received the “Rabbi Mordechai Simon Award” from the Chicago Board of Rabbis in 2014.   He served as president of the Board of Rabbis from 2015 to 2017 and now serves as President of Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC).  An engaging, nationally known teacher and speaker, Ozarowski has served congregations in Pennsylvania, California, Minnesota and the New York area.   

Rabbi Dr. Ozarowski is a Board-Certified Chaplain.  He received his undergraduate degree from Loyola University of Chicago, his rabbinic ordination from Skokie’s Hebrew Theological College and his doctorate from Lancaster (PA) Theological Seminary.  He has served on the Jewish Federation of Chicago (JUF) Board and on the North Shore University HealthCare System Institutional Ethics Committee. 

A prolific author, Rabbi Ozarowski co-authored Common Ground, (1998, Jason Aronson) and has written numerous articles.  His first book, To Walk in God’s Ways – Jewish Pastoral Perspectives on Illness and Bereavement, (hard cover 1995, Jason Aronson, paperback 2004, Rowman and Littlefield) is considered a standard in the field of Judaism and Pastoral Care.

Rabbi Ozarowski is married to Ashira (nee Rapoport), has four children and nineteen grandchildren.

Rabbi Isaiah J. Rothstein, MSW

Rabbi Isaiah J. Rothstein, MSW

Rabbinic Scholar, Public Affairs Advisor, Jewish Federations of North America

Rabbi Isaiah J. Rothstein, MSW serves as Rabbinic Scholar and Public Affairs Advisor at Jewish Federations of North America. Prior to JFNA, Isaiah was rabbi-in-residence at Adamah, Isabella Freedman, and Be’chol Lashon, and served as rabbi for youth at Carmel Academy, Young Israel of Stamford, NCSY, and Camp Yavneh.  Isaiah studied at Kushner Yeshiva High School, Lev HaTorah, Machon Lev, and Binghamton University, and received rabbinic ordination and a masters of social work from Yeshiva University. Raised in a multi-racial Chabad family from Monsey, NY, he sees himself as a human bridge, connecting disparate parts of the Jewish community and America.

Reuben D. Rotman

Reuben D. Rotman

President & CEO, Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies

Reuben D. Rotman is the founding President and CEO of the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies. The Network was established in 2017 as an international membership association, with the mission of strengthening and advancing the Jewish human service sector.  Today, the Network serves as the leading voice for the sector; the go-to for best practice research, innovation, and partnerships.  Supporting its 170+ member organizations throughout the US, Canada and Israel, the Network’s goal is to strengthen the capacities of its member agencies and to advance the scope and impact of the Jewish human service sector.

 Reuben came to the Network having served as the CEO of Jewish Family Service of MetroWest New Jersey, where he held several increasingly responsible positions for 21 years.  Previously, Reuben held positions with UJA Federation of New York, Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit and Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

 Reuben currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SourceAmerica, which connects the non-profit sector to the US Federal government and commercial sectors to secure employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, and also serves as the Treasurer of the Board of Directors of Social Current,  a recently established national organization which seeks to activate the power of the social sector by bringing together a dynamic network of human service organizations and partners. 

Reuben earned two graduate degrees at Brandeis University, a Master of Arts in the Management of Human Services from the Heller School and a Master of Arts in Jewish Communal Service from the Hornstein Program.


Marjorie U. Sokoll, MEd

Marjorie U. Sokoll, MEd

Founding Director, Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Jewish Healing, Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Boston

Marjorie U. Sokoll, M.Ed. is the founder and director of the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Jewish Healing at Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Boston (JF&CS). Marjie has presented locally and nationally on topics such as Jewish healing, end-of-life, and bereavement. In July 2021, she began cofacilitating a suicide loss survivor support group with Rabbi Suzanne Offit, under the auspices of JF&CS. They both have been trained by Samaritans of Boston and bring relevant professional and personal experience in the Jewish community.

 Marjie is a contributor to the book, “Blessings for the Journey: A Jewish Healing Guide For Women With Cancer” and the author of

“The Healing Circle: A New Model for Nurturing Spirituality in Jewish Family Service Agencies” published in the Journal of Jewish Communal Service.

 Marjie earned degrees in sociology and social work from Boston University and Tel Aviv University respectively, a graduate degree in counseling from Northeastern University, and holds a certificate of thanatology from the National Center for Death Education.

Rabbi Mychal B. Springer, ACPE, BCC

Rabbi Mychal B. Springer, ACPE, BCC

Manager of Clinical Pastoral Education Department of Spiritual Care & Chaplaincy NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

Rabbi Mychal B. Springer is the manager of Clinical Pastoral Education at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. She founded and directed the Center for Pastoral Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in Manhattan and was the first Conservative rabbi to be certified as an Educator by ACPE: The Standard for Spiritual Care & Education. Her publications include Sisters in Mourning: Daughters Reflecting on Care, Loss, and Meaning (Cascade Press, 2021) with Dr. Su Yon Pak,“Presence in a Time of Distancing: Spiritual Care in an Acute Care Setting” in Jewish End-of-Life Care in a Virtual Age: Our Traditions Reimagined, Friedman D, Levin D, Raphael SP, ed. (Albion Andalus, 2021) and “Interpersonal Competence in Contextualizing Power Dynamics in Socially Just Spiritual Care” with Richard Coble in Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care in the Twenty-First Century, Cadge, W & Rambo, S, ed. (University of North Carolina Press, 2022).

Mychal received her BA in Judaic Studies and Religious Studies from Yale College magna cum laude. She was ordained a Conservative rabbi and received her Master’s in Judaic Studies and a Doctor of Divinity at JTS. Mychal is a certified Jewish chaplain in Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains and an adjunct instructor of Pastoral Care & Counseling at JTS.

Rabbi Lauren Tuchman

Rabbi Lauren Tuchman

Disability Access Consultant, Rabbinic Teacher

Rabbi Lauren Tuchman is a sought after speaker, spiritual leader and educator. Ordained by The Jewish Theological Seminary in 2018, she is, as far as she is aware, the first blind woman in the world to enter the rabbinate. She provides consulting to individuals and organizations across the Jewish community on a variety of matters pertinent to disability access and inclusion. She has taught in numerous synagogues and other organizations across North America. She was named to the New York Jewish Week’s 36 To Watch for her innovative leadership concerning inclusion of Jews with disabilities in all aspects of Jewish life. In 2017, she delivered an ELI Talk entitled We All Were at Sinai: The Transformative Power of Inclusive Torah.

In addition to her work in the disability inclusion space, Rabbi Tuchman passionately believes in the power of spiritual and contemplative practice as a path of transformational personal and collective change for the Jewish world and beyond. She has trained and continues to teach Mussar with Rabbi David Jaffe and the Inside Out Wisdom and Action Project. She has contributed to the Mussar Institute’s weekly Torah commentary and Elul programming. She is an alum of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Clergy Leadership Program. In 2022, she completed Flourish: an immersive in mindfulness practices under the direction of expert mindfulness teacher, Yael Shy. She is a SVARA fellow, completing the SVARA Kolel in 2019. She continues to be a regular teacher with SVARA.

Sponsored by
Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains, Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies, , The Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, Kavod v’Nichum, and Jewish Association for Death Education (JADE)

What Is Bikur Cholim?

Definition and History in a jewish context.


Educational materials from experienced individuals on various topics in visiting the sick.

Visiting the Sick
Prague ca 1772, Oil on Canvas

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