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In This Issue:
Spirituality of Abundance 3
Gratitude List! 5
Web Page/Email Guide To The Perplexed 7
Research Insights: Awareness of the Diagnosis Calms the Patient 9
Reaching Out To Our Retired Members 10
Yes, there are Jews in Jail 11
Reflections On My Rabbinic Ordination 14
Standing In Their Shoes: Building Empathy For the Frail, Elderly and Ill Through Pastoral Care and
Sensitivity Training 16
Ears of the Heart 18
Hospital Chaplains Monthly Conference Call 20
Holy Encounters 22
NAJC 3950 Biscayne Blvd Miami FL 33137 (305) 394-8018 info@jewishchaplain.net
A Quarterly Newsletter of NAJC — Neshama: Association Of Jewish Chaplains! Vol. 30 No. 2 ~ Shevat/Adar 5778
Rabbi Dr. Sandra Katz, BCC
President
Rabbi Dr. Geoff Haber, BCC
Certification Chair
Rabbi Bryan Kinzbrunner, BCC
President Elect
Rabbanit Alissa Thomas-Newborn, BCC, !
Conference Chair
Rabbi Rena Arshinoff, BCC
Vice President
Rabbi Moe Kaprow, BCC
Immediate Past President
Rabbi Dr. Joe Ozarowski, BCC
Treasurer
Rabbi Dr. Rafael Goldstein, BCC
Executive Director
Rabbi Dr. Mark Goldfarb
Secretary, Newsletter Editor
Cecille Allman Asekoff,
Executive V.P. Emerita

NAJC ארוק לוק
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Triumphs and Tribulations in the Practice of Cardiac Surgery 24
Two Book Reviews 27
Review of A New Book & CD Set 29
New Insights on Military Chaplaincy: Book and Journal Article Reviews 31
With Our Members 33
בוט לזמ" 33!
דובכה לכ" 33!
המילש האופר" 33!
םחני םוקמה " 33!
חוכ רשי" 34!
New םירבח 34
2018-19 Officers, Board & Committees 37
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!
Spirituality of Abundance
Rabbi Dr. Sandra Katz, BCC
skatz@jewishchaplain.net
Last summer, when the NAJC board gathered for a retreat, I presented a little exercise
on abundance. Board members asked me to share some of my thinking with a larger group, and I do
so now with you and hope that reflecting on the spirituality of abundance improves your life. I
started thinking about the spirituality of abundance when, as treasurer of NAJC, I noticed how
painful I found some of the calls I made to NAJC members. It hurt me to hear about NAJC members
struggling. It seems that many of us wrestle with feelings of inadequacy when we think that we are
financially behind the eight-ball. And those feelings make the logistical problems even thornier. I
recently read the book, Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much by Sendhil Mullainathan and
Eldar Shafir. In it, the authors articulate how the experience of not having enough reverberates
through a person’s life.
I wondered if the NAJC suffers from some of this experience of scarcity, too. So I wanted to think
about how we could move from feeling as if we have too little, towards a feeling of gratitude, for the
abundance that we actually have – especially when we consider the great gifts of our organization in
terms of people. If you would like, you can also take a moment to think about these:
1. Scarcity in TaNaKH – What are some examples of ‘not enough’?
2. Think about the experience of ‘not enough’ in your own life – share with a dyad partner or
journal.
3. Think about the passages from Pirkei Avot that describe who is wise, honored, rich.
4. If being ‘rich’ is “having what we want and wanting what we have,” how can we adopt this
spiritual discipline for ourselves?
5. Think about experiences of abundance in your own life – share with a dyad partner or journal.
6. How would we make abundance Jewish?
7. How shall we build NAJC as abundant?
Readers can look at https://thesimpledollar.com/from-the-scarcity-mindset-to-the-abundance-
mindset for some starters in the spiritual disciplines of abundance.
The Immediate Past President of ACPE, Rev. Carlos Bell, gave me food for thought by recommending
these two books. I am using these resources, along with help from other places, as I begin my term.
I’ll write more about the strategic planning process that we are formulating for NAJC in the coming
months.
Part of the charm of NAJC is that we form a community, even though we live in many places. Online
and in person, I am encouraging our NAJC community members to take up some subjects:
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Gratitude List!
Rabbi Dr. Rafael Goldstein, BCC
rgoldstein@jewishchaplain.net
Rabbi Nachman of Breslow said that “gratitude is the only antidote for depression”. I am the least
depressed person I know right now, because I am so grateful! Get ready: here is a list of just some of
the NAJC things I am grateful for, not in any specific order:
Rabbi Moe Kaprow, BCC, who led NAJC during the transition to hiring me and guided me and the
Board in moving forward. His leadership, wisdom and commitment are palpable.
Rabbi Dr. Sandra Katz, BCC, whose leadership is flourishing and who has dedicated decades to
serving on our Board. Sandra is looking at our long-range plans, and how we will move forward into
our future.
Rabbanit Alissa Thomas-Newborn, BCC, for leading the Conference Committee in making the
Conference the best ever. The Conference Committee: Rabbi Anne Feibelman, BCC; Rabbi Dovid
Gold; Rabbi Judi Ehrlich, BCC; Rabbi Lev Herrnson, BCC; Cantor Rabbi Rob Jury, BCC; Rabbi
Rebecca Ratner Kamil; Rabbi Ruth Smith, BCC; Rabbi Michelle Stern, BCC. What an incredible
committee to work with!
All of the members of the new NAJC Board who are dedicating their time and energy to make sure
we grow in ways to benefit all of our members. What an incredible team! And Chaplain Bruce
Feldstein, MD who dedicated many hours thanking outgoing Board members and recruiting the slate
of new members. And all of the outgoing Board members who gave their time, energy and resources
to bring us to where we are now.
Tara Stiel, our Administrative Assistant, who takes care of a million details, responds to a gazillion
questions from members with grace and consideration, and who has connections with everyone in
the Jewish Community in South FL.
Rabbi Mark Goldfarb, our Webmaster, our Newsletter Editor, our graphic designer, Secretary of our
Board, and who is dealing with significant challenges to getting our email and website to work
together. He has spent untold hours helping us all communicate!
Rabbi Dr. Geoff Haber, ACPE, BCC Certification Commission Chair, who has been leading the effort
to make NAJC Certification more friendly, welcoming and user friendly.
Rabbi Robert Tabak, BCC, our Website Curator, who has done wonders for organizing our resources
and enabling us to have a website we can turn to when we need resources as chaplains.
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Web Page/Email Guide To The Perplexed
Rabbi Dr. Mark Goldfarb, NAJC Secretary & Web Maven
mgoldfarb@jewishchaplain.net
NAJC.ORG JEWISHCHAPLAIN.NET Emails ending in @najc.org. Emails
ending in @jewishchaplain.net. It’s so confusing! What are we? NAJC.ORG?
JEWISHCHAPLAIN.ORG? Do emails go to @najc.org or @jewishchaplain.org? Our internet
transitioning has caused some confusion, but all should be made clear in this article and completely
resolved in the next week. First, some history:
Why the change in the first place? Our initial web page design package was cutting edge when it was
initially purchased many years ago. However, during the ensuing years, the original company was
bought by another, as often happens in the tech world. In addition, the software itself became
outdated, as newer, more efficient programs were developed. In order to update our web page, to
include graphics, video, etc., we needed to look at a new web page design software. A search was
made of the various web page hosting companies and platforms, and it was decided to create a new
web page using Wordpress — at a substantial annual savings to NAJC. It was also decided that we
would maintain the NAJC.ORG internet address while at the same time develop our new web page
at JEWISHCHAPLAIN.NET. Entering either address in your web browser will lead you to the same
web page. This will always be the case, no matter which address you use.
Emails. The @najc.org email addresses were originally created using Google to manage the email.
Though totally invisible to the email senders, the @najc.org emails are actually Google Mail. This
complicated setup became unmanageable when we linked NAJC.ORG with
JEWISHCHAPLAIN.NET. Because of the hosting disparities and the convoluted way the emails were
initially set up, the email links between Google, NAJC.ORG, and the office computers became
inoperative. The membership was informed to please email Rafael, Tara and the office at emails
ending with @jewishchaplain.net.
The Solution: For ease of operations, the NAJC.ORG address is being merged with our present
hosting platform. This is set to take place this week. Once that is completed, we will have unfettered
access to emails ending in @najc.org. The previous @najc.org emails will brought online and all will
function smoothly between all of our email addresses; those ending in @najc.org as well as those
ending in @jewishchaplain.net.
NAJC-Listserv. The NAJC-Listserv is being phased out in favor of using Member365. We will create a
new discussion group for all NAJC members called “ChapLine.” Not only will the postings be
archived, but they will be searchable as well! Watch your inbox for notification of ChapLine
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Research Insights: Awareness of the Diagnosis Calms
the Patient
Barry E. Pitegoff, Research Maven and Professional Member NAJC
barryp227@gmail.com
Families often ask, “What shall we tell the patient?” Two universities in Italy asked the same question
as a research study, with findings reported in The American Journal of Hospice and Palliative
Medicine, 2017. The study was conducted with newly admitted patients in a hospice in central Italy.
All participants had a diagnosis of cancer. Four hundred patients were recruited; 100 met the study
criteria. The gender split was 47 female and 53 male.
After admission the patients were examined by a Palliative Care doctor. They were invited to be
interviewed by a Psychologist the next day, who explained the study to them. Patients who
proceeded into the study completed two instruments: the “Systems of Belief Inventory (SBI),” and the
“Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).” All patients were also offered religious support,
but its nature was not explained in the journal publication.
The SBI measures “religious and spiritual beliefs and the social practice and support derived from a
community sharing those beliefs.” The HADS measures anxiety and depression. Patients’ awareness
of their diagnosis was reflected in questions such as: “Do you know where we are?” “What is your
illness?” and “Please talk to me about your illness.”
Conclusion: “The main finding of the study was that patient awareness of diagnosis was associated
with a lower level of the clinical symptoms of anxiety and depression.” This was consistent with
other studies cited from other countries, so the authors posited that, “an awareness of one’s own
diagnosis of cancer is cross-culturally associated with a greater psychological well-being.” However,
“it is quite difficult to draw conclusions between the intrinsic or extrinsic spirituality of the patient
and the patient’s awareness of the diagnosis….Limitation of the present study is that the sample is
constituted only by Catholic participants.”
Source: “Spirituality and Awareness of Diagnoses in Terminally Ill Patients with Cancer” American
Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 2017, Vo. 34 (6), 505-509).
~ Barry
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Reaching Out To Our Retired Members
Rabbi Sol Agin, D.D., B.C.C.
arlinesol@comcast.net
Dear Colleagues:
I have been asked by Rafael and the Board to try to bring together those colleagues who have left
active chaplaincy (I am not comfortable with the word “retired”). If it is at all possible, I would like to
bring this special group of colleagues together at the convention to be held in Cherry Hill, New
Jersey, in May of 2019. This group will be comprised of chaplains who have left active chaplaincy
and those that are contemplating moving into that category.
At present, NAJC does not provide an outreach or support system for this talented group of people.
While NAJC does not have funds for financial assistance there are other ways that NAJC can help. It
will be this group that will get the ball rolling.
Anyone who wishes to share any thoughts with me, please contact me at arlinesol@comcast.net or
239-560-5582.
L’Shalom
~Sol
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Yes, there are Jews in Jail
Chaplain Deborah Schmidt, BCC
haviviproductions@gmail.com
I provide chaplaincy for Jewish inmates in the Los Angeles County jail system.
Several times a month, I venture out of my comfort zone and into another reality.!In
this alternative universe, men and women are locked up in little cells. Sometimes the inmate is alone
in a cell that is maybe 9 feet by 3 feet – enough room for a bed, sink and toilet. If the inmate is lucky,
they might be housed in a small cell with a “bunkie,” i.e., a roommate. In this type of jail housing
there’s a ‘common area’ and the ubiquitous platform where guards watch over the round metal tables
and chairs bolted to the floor where a Chaplain or Substance Abuse counselor might sit with an
inmate, a few pay phones (really!) and a TV. Sometimes there is programming, such as a Parenting
class, a GRE class; or simply watching TV or exchanging dirty laundry for clean laundry. Also, if a
request is submitted there is the possibility of leaving one’s cell to visit with a chaplain.
It takes a while to get to where the inmates are housed. First there’s a slider that separates the secure
part of the jail from the non-secure part. If the inmates are not on lockdown, and if I’m on the “Non-
Escort Guest List” I get a green badge and the guard will open the second of five formidable steel
doors (each, a slider) that form a large cage separating the inmates from the outside world. Next,
there’s a slider, to exit the ‘sally port’, a small exit point in a fortification for passage into the next
corridor; next there’s a slider to get to the elevators, which will take me to the floor where the inmates
are housed. In order to be admitted to the next passageway another guard, in a dark foreboding-
looking central guard station, must notice that I’m waiting to enter, or I can risk annoying the guards
by pressing the intercom and saying, “Slider.” Another slider separates the central hallway from one
of four secure areas. The same guards in this central station are responsible to open this next slider,
and another slider slithers open. Once outside the housing area, another!guard who keeps eyes on the
inmates saunters over to the inner door and unlocks it with a large key. Finally I’m admitted to the
module.
I wait while this same guard appears to be busy with other work. When it’s evident that guard has
finished their conversation or whatever they are doing, I introduce myself as the Jewish Chaplain and
ask if I can meet with Amber Goldberg (not her real name). I need permission from the guards to visit
with an inmate. Still, this may not be possible if the inmate is in court, away from her cell at the
moment, on lockdown, or has been moved to another housing location. If the inmate isn’t available
on the particular day of my visit, when I return on another day, I repeat the same time-consuming
practice.
The guard then,
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Privacy is a luxury not available in jail. Thus, if I do have an opportunity to meet with an inmate we
meet in a noisy room abuzz with close to 100 other inmates. Our meetings take place in the public
space where it’s loud, dirty, and chaotic. Occasionally a guard will shout —“Move that shower line
along, ladies you got 2 minutes” or “Quiet down” or “Not now Jones.”
Finally, I meet the inmate – Amber Goldberg. We sit at one of the tables bolted to the floor. The inmate
sits on metal bench that has handcuffs hanging off the side. On another day the inmate might have to
sit handcuffed to the bench. Yet I do the same thing as at the spick and span hospital that comprises
another part of my work as a chaplain; where in lieu of bars, art bedecks the hall. I sit with an inmate;
I provide presence and witness to the indescribable pain – physical, emotional and spiritual --these
human beings experience day in and day out.
Amber had submitted no less than 25 requests to meet with a Jewish chaplain. But there are a lot of
women at this facility who had submitted their own requests, and Amber was housed in an out-of-
the-way place where I don’t often have a critical mass of inmates to visit. But last week I did get to
her module.! When the deputy called her name and motioned to where she was sitting I noticed she
was visiting with the Jehovah’s Witness Chaplain. She looked in my direction and waved frantically
mouthing, “Please wait, I need to see you.” So I did.
Five minutes later, when we finally met, my first question was cynical, “Are you Jewish?”
“Yes!” she blurted out enthusiastically, “My dad is Jewish.”
“I’m sorry it took so long for me to get here but I had other inmates to visit.”
Amber was surprised. “There are other Jews here? I haven’t met any other Jews.”
Well, I thought to myself, more than you realize – many inmates have a Jewish parent, or auntie, or
cousin, or boyfriend, or husband, or child.
Amber had something very Jewish that she needed to talk with me about, and it wasn’t about
wanting a kosher diet, a frequent request of inmates. “I’m trying,” she told me, “to connect with God,
but I have so many questions.“
“Questions,” I told her “are a quintessential part of the Jewish faith.“ I settled in for some spiritual
counseling. “Amber,” I said eyeing the silver bible that the Jehovah’s Witness chaplain had just given
her, “hand me that Bible.”
Opening to Exodus Chapter 3, I asked Amber to begin to read: “Now Moses, tending the flock of his
father-in-law… came to Horeb, the mountain of God. An Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a
blazing fire out of a bush. He gazed, and there was a bush aflame, yet the bush was not consumed.
Moses said, “I must turn aside to look at this marvelous sight”.” (Exodus 3:1-3) As Amber and I read
together, we explored the story of Moses, the burning bush, and what it means to experience God’s
Presence.!Amber’s curiosity turned into an encounter with the Holy. !
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