Educating Rabbis and Cantors in Gerontology and Palliative Care

Hands on Cane - Gerontology Program

New Wurzweiler Online Certificate Program Offers Expanded Counseling Skills with Older Adults

Gary Stein, Wurzweiler School of Social Work

The Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University will be offering a unique 18-credit certificate program in gerontology and palliative care for rabbis, cantors, and rabbinic and cantorial students of all Jewish denominations to address a national need for well-trained clergy who can support healthy aging and deliver compassionate, quality care for serious and advanced illness.

The program, scheduled to begin this fall, will be offered completely online to make it as convenient as possible for working professionals to participate. Dr. Gary Stein, professor at Wurzweiler and one of the architects of the program, said, “Our hope is that this program will be of interest to rabbinical students as well as rabbis and cantors internationally.”

Scholarships will be available to students and clergy in the program. The curriculum will be integrated with current rabbinic and religious education and cover areas such as basic counseling with individuals, families and groups; building healthy relationships throughout the lifespan; social gerontology; palliative care and social work practice with serious illness; coping with loss; and aging in the Jewish community.

In addition, while the 18 credits from this certificate may be applied toward a full 60-credit Master’s in Social Work at Wurzweiler, the certificate program is also self-contained, fulfilling the needs of those who feel they need strong grounding but who do not necessarily need to engage in advanced study. In this way, the certificate provides flexible solutions to meet the different needs of rabbis. Those who opt to complete Wurzweiler’s MSW program will be eligible for licensure as a mental health professional.

The program will convene an advisory council of community and religious leaders along with seasoned practitioners in palliative care and gerontology to evaluate the courses and identify rabbinical networks for recruitment.

Dr. Stein noted that “it is fitting and appropriate for Wurzweiler, based at Yeshiva University, to be reaching out to rabbinical students as well as community rabbis and cantors to help them provide the best care to their congregants, many of whom who are older and facing serious illness, and to the families taking on the roles of caregivers.”

“The core values of the social work profession,” said Dr. Danielle Wozniak, Dorothy and David Schachne Dean of Wurzweiler, “obligate us to care for every aspect of people’s well-being from the beginning of their lives until the end. This certificate program fulfills this mission with both elegance and efficiency, empowering rabbis and other spiritual counselors to provide assistance that satisfies the physical, emotional and religious needs of their charges.”

For more information, contact Gary Stein at GLStein@yu.edu and visit the website.

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