Standing in their shoes

Kashouvot has introduced pastoral care as an integral part of the health care provided in hospitals and nursing homes in Israel.

By RABBI MIRIAM BERKOWITZ
March 21, 2018 19:13
Illustration by Pepe Fainberg

Illustration by Pepe Fainberg. (photo credit: PEPE FAINBERG)

PASTORAL CARE is an essential part of a caring society. People all over the world benefit from talking, praying, and expressing their deepest concerns with chaplains at times of profound need, vulnerability, and transition. In many countries, chaplains work alongside social workers, nurses, doctors, and psychologists to provide emotional and spiritual support, help navigate end-of-life choices, witness people’s life stories, and affirm the inherent dignity of every person.

The main gift of pastoral care is a fully attentive, interested, respectful witness to each person’s story and a gentle presence who allows people to speak things they have held inside for years, take control, express their needs, and connect with the highest aspects of themselves and the Divine. Chaplains look behind external labels and engage with each person’s unique combination of personal history, world view, culture, personality and spiritual needs.

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