YCT’s Pastoral Training


As a graduating rabbinical student, I read with interest and appreciation Steve Lipman’s article (“Rabbis-To-Be Getting Psyched Up,” May 17) about the central role of pastoral training in rabbinic education today.

Along with receiving an excellent foundation in halacha [Jewish law] and other textual learning, as well as professional skills, training in pastoral counseling has been a cornerstone of my education at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School (YCT).

Thus, I was quite surprised that Mr. Lipman did not give any mention to YCT’s groundbreaking pastoral counseling program created by Dr. Michelle Friedman and Miriam Schacter, LCSW.

YCT includes pastoral counseling courses in all four years of rabbinical school, from the first-year foundations course to the upper-class course in “Pastoral Care Across the Lifecycle,” and finally the profound master classes shared by graduating seniors based on their experiences providing rabbinic support in different settings during their time as students.

YCT was one of the first rabbinical schools to implement a weekly process group during each of the four years, in which students are provided with a confidential, safe and open space facilitated by a trained mental health professional. Finally, YCT requires all students to complete 400 hours of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in a hospital or other setting. It was my training at YCT and the CPE unit, which I completed last summer, that led me to pursue a career in chaplaincy.

I will begin a chaplaincy residency at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan in July.

I look forward to your publishing an article about YCT’s contributions in rabbinic pastoral education to complement your thoughtful coverage of the programs at JTS, YU and HUC.

Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, Class of 2017

Editor’s Note: An article in last week’s issue (“The Key To Pastoral Care: ‘Quiet Down,’”), written by Sandee Brawarsky, was published as a companion piece to the article cited above, and reference was made to it on Page 1. The Brawarsky piece describes the YCT program, as have other articles we have published over the years. We regret not citing the YCT program in the Lipman article.