SOM Podcast: Rabbi Rafael Goldstein, director of Neshama, the Association of Jewish Chaplains

In this installment of the Seekers of Meaning Podcast, Rabbi Address has a conversation with Rabbi H. Rafael Goldstein, executive director of Neshama, the Association of Jewish Chaplains.

The NAJC is the professional organization of Jewish chaplains worldwide. Its members serve in a variety of institutions including hospitals, nursing homes, and homes for the elderly, emergency service personnel including law enforcement and fire departments, military services, prisons, and other institutions. NAJC chaplains also serve in times of emergencies and natural disasters in conjunction with the Red Cross and other relief agencies.

Founded as the National Association of Jewish Chaplains, NAJC is the address for Jewish chaplaincy expertise promoting the highest standards of training, certification and delivery of care. In 2014, reflecting its international membership and commitment to reach out to the human spirit or soul (נשמה – neshama) NAJC chose a new name, Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains.

About the Guest

Rabbi H. Rafael Goldstein is the Executive Director of Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC), the world’s only Jewish Chaplaincy Board Certification and Jewish Chaplaincy continuing education organization. Before coming to NAJC in 2016, Rafael was the Director of Clinical Services for the Center for Spirituality and Health of Mount Sinai Health System in Manhattan. At Sinai, Rafael started with himself and the equivalent of one full-time priest, and was mandated to create a world-class Spiritual Care department. When Rafael left Sinai, there were 35 people in the department, including Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) educators, residents, interns, staff chaplains and a community engagement professional, and the departments of Spiritual Care of three other hospitals.

Rafael’s Doctorate in Ministry (Pastoral Counseling) is from Hebrew Union College, 2014. (Rabbi Address was one of the mentors for this project.)  Rafael  holds Masters’ and Bachelor’s degrees from The Jewish Theological Seminary, and a BS in Social Work from Columbia University. He is a Board Certified Chaplain, certified by NAJC in 2004 (when he had no idea he would ever led the organization) and by the Association of Professional Chaplains in 2011. He completed 5 units of CPE at Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, where he served as the Jewish Community Chaplain.

Rafael is a co-author of four peer-reviewed published research articles, and has published 4 books, including Being a Blessing: 54 Ways You Can Help People Living With Illness.


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