SOM Pod 9/13/2019: Yeshiva University’s Online Rabbinic Certificate Program in Gerontology and Palliative Care

Rabbis and clergy are being called upon to intervene in complex life crises, especially those involving aging, serious illness, end-of-life care, and bereavement.

In this podcast, Rabbi Address speaks with Gary L. Stein, JD, MSW, Professor and Vice Chair, Social Work Hospice & Palliative Care Network, Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University, about the school’s new Rabbinic Certificate Program in Gerontology and Palliative Care. Joining Prof. Stein in the conversation are several participants in the program.

Download a flyer explaining the new Yeshiva University Online Rabbinic Certificate Program in Gerontology and Palliative Care. The online course begins this fall (October 27). Yeshiva Rabbinic Certificate Program Flyer (PDF Download)

The program provides an opportunity for Jewish clergy to obtain training on the special needs of older adults, people with serious illness, and their families.  This is an important effort to bring the knowledge base of gerontology, palliative social work, bereavement, and basic counseling skills to rabbis, cantors, and student clergy who will be called on to serve the diverse needs of aging congregations.

About the Guests

Dr. Gary Stein, Professor at Wurzweiler School of Social Work

Gary L. Stein, JD, MSW, is Professor at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work – Yeshiva University, where has taught social policy, health care practice, palliative care, health care ethics, law and social policy, and LGBT practice in the master’s and doctoral programs since 2006.  His interests include palliative and end-of-life care, bioethics, health care policy and practice, social policy, disability, elder care, and LGBT issues.  Prof. Stein has been Vice Chair of the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network since 2006.  Most recently, he was awarded a fellowship with the Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program/Congressional Fellowship Program for 2016-2017; his projects were with the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging, and the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC).  Prof. Stein was awarded a Fulbright Specialist Program Award in 2010, through which he was guest faculty at the Lancaster University, U.K. International Observatory for End of Life Care.  He was a consultant on disability and health care planning for the RAND Corporation.  Prof. Stein was formerly the Executive Director of New Jersey Health Decisions, where he was responsible for developing projects to improve end-of-life care, promote more informed medical decision-making, and foster citizen involvement in healthcare and bioethics issues.  Prof. Stein is a recipient of the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network’s 2017 Career Achievement Award, the Project on Death in America’s Social Work Leadership Development Award (2001), and the Rose Dobrof Award (2011) for his publication on LGBT older adults.  In 2018, he was appointed to the New York State Palliative Care Education and Training Council. Prof. Stein appeared on the Seekers of Meaning Podcast in August 2018. You can hear that conversation here.

Rabbi Shmuel Burnstein currently maintains a small synagogue in Elizabeth NJ, serving the needs of the congregation. His responsibilities include directing services, counseling, organizing events, giving classes, maintaining the building, and community service in the broader sense. He also supervises the Kosher Law Adherence of a nursing home and two caterers, and conducts religious services for Jewish residents. Growing up in Elizabeth, NJ, he attended the Jewish Educational Center. He then continued on to Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin where he received a Bachelor’s of Talmudic Law and advanced degrees in Bible, Jewish Philosophy, and other religious topics. He was ordained as a Rabbi in 2008. Rabbi Burnstein recently completed the certificate of Rabbinics in Gerentology and Palliative Care at Yeshiva.

Dr. Ellen Cohn holds a Doctorate in Jewish Education from the Azrieli Graduate School at Yeshiva University. She has conducted research in how life cycle and interest in personal growth affects congregant motivation for adult education and synagogue satisfaction. She holds an MA in Talmud from Jewish Theological Seminary and an MA from Brandeis University. Dr. Cohn worked as a Jewish Family Educator where she taught adults and families  and managed community based Jewish education programs. She entered the Certificate program in order to use my background and skills to address the new Jewish Aging. She is currently in her third unit at CPE  in the Hospice and Eldercare unit at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Susan Elkodsi is the rabbi and spiritual leader of the Malverne Jewish Center in Long Island, New York. She was ordained by the Academy for Jewish Religion, the country’s first pluralistic rabbinical and cantorial seminary, in 2015, fulfilling a life-long dream. Her goal is to help Baby Boomers and older Jewish adults create meaning and purpose in their lives, in a Jewish context, but not the one they might have been traumatized in growing up. Rabbi Elkodsi recently completed a Certificate in Gerontology and Palliative Care through Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Works, and looks forward to incorporating this new knowledge into her current work. She and her husband David have two grown children, Phillip and Jacqueline, and in her spare time enjoys knitting and spinning her own yarn.




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