Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The History of American Jewish Chaplaincy: Kudos to Bob on his article!

Rabbi Robert Tabak, a longtime chaplain, discusses the field with rabbinical student Elinor Knepler in the chapel at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Tabak sees Jewish and non-Jewish patients.
Photo by Greg Bezanis

"Future historians will be grateful to Robert Tabak for his efforts to create
a foundational reconstruction of the history of Jewish health-care chaplaincy
in America. His essay begins by noting that although many histories strive to
document the evolvement of Jewish military chaplaincy, little has been published
on the historical development of Jewish health-care chaplaincy. According to
Tabak, the true professionalization of Jewish health-care chaplaincy begins in
the aftermath of World War II. Interestingly, the unprecedented surge in the
number of Jewish military chaplains during World War II may have actually
spurred rabbinical interest in a venue of religious service that was based on
“interreligious cooperation,” “a shared sense of mission,” and pluralistic values.
Tabak proceeds to document the steady development of health-care chaplaincies
in various cities during the last third of the twentieth century, culminating
in the founding of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC) in
1990. This article constitutes a pioneering effort to preserve the basic data
relating to the professionalization of Jewish health-care chaplaincy. In due
time, others will no doubt come forward to enlarge and reevaluate Tabak’s
groundbreaking effort."  - Gary Zola

 Here's Bob's whole article:
The Emergence of Jewish Health-Care Chaplaincy: The Professionalization of Spiritual Care
Robert Tabak URL  

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