Chabad Launches National Hospital Assistance Program

“When you walk these halls, there’s the sense of complete disconnection,” relates Rhonda R, who’s been spending days at a time at the hospital with her nine-year-old son while he undergoes cancer treatments. “Life, normal life, has disappeared. We who are here wake and dream of playing outside with our children or reading beneath the trees. We even dream of the things we never thought we’d miss, like grocery shopping and cooking. It’s easy to feel alone. When I smelled the homemade chicken soup Chabad brought us, the smell took me back home, to my normal life before all this began. It was a bit of light in my dark world.”

In response to a growing need for the development of Jewish hospital services across the United States, Merkos Suite 302 opened Chabad on Call. Dedicated to training the next generation of chaplains, Chabad on Call recently launched a CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) online training course accredited by ACPE (Association for Clinical Pastoral Education Inc.).

“We blend hands-on practice, clinical supervision, and academic study” said Chani Goldberg, Director of Chabad on Call. “The course empowers its participants to serve their patients more effectively” said Goldberg.

The program, which began earlier this month, will equip the Shluchim with the medical and halachic knowledge to become valuable members of the healing team.

“It is going incredibly well! I’m enjoying both the didactic and clinical parts of the course, said Rabbi Peretz Shapiro, an inaugural participant and Chabad representative to Plano, Texas.

Chabad on Call is committed to creating a warm community within the hospital environment by reaching out to patients, families of patients, and medical staff, addressing both their emotional and spiritual needs. By equipping Shluchim with chaplaincy training, educational material, and appropriate seed funds, Chabad on Call will enable Shluchim to devote more time to the hospital. The organization also provides numerous resources such as prayer booklets for patients and their families, an online database allowing users to locate the Chabad services at any given hospital, and educational webinars and courses.

“We are excited about this incredible opportunity to provide more focused support to shluchim in this most vital component of their shlichus,” said Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, Director of Suite 302.

As the organization continues to grow, Chabad on Call hopes to pierce the walls of loneliness and despair pervading hospitals around the world, building a network of shluchim and ensuring that all patients have someone to advocate for their personal needs, offer comfort and support, and inspire them with renewed hope for the future.

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