Press release: Strengthening Jewish Chaplaincy

Media Contact: Michael Skaggs
mskaggs@brandeis.edu
781-736-4399

Application process now open for projects to strengthen Jewish chaplaincy in the United States

Charles H. Revson Foundation awards Lab funds to regrant to project teams

WALTHAM, Mass. (Jan. 23) – Following the success of the the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab’s 2021-2-22 mapping study of Jewish chaplaincy in the United States, supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, the Lab today launched “Strengthening Jewish Chaplaincy: Demonstration Projects Based on Demand.” The project will award four grants of up to $40,000 to project teams proposing creative, evidence-based ways Jewish chaplains can meet the demand for innovative spiritual and emotional support for people in need of greater spiritual care. The program will focus especially on community chaplaincy – a distinctive contribution of Jewish chaplains – as well organizations and settings that have not traditionally seen the work of Jewish chaplains as central to their mission. 

A study published by the Lab in October 2022 found that the roughly 1,000 Jewish chaplains working in the United States often serve “isolated or marginalized individuals: the sick, incarcerated, and unhoused, individuals struggling with substance abuse, and immigrants.” Yet despite this vital work, “major Jewish groups remain ‘mostly unaware’ of chaplains and the vital functions they play. As a result, chaplains are excluded from leadership and involvement in major decisions.”

In an interview about the study with Brandeis University, Lab Director Wendy Cadge said “We want Jewish leaders who are facing different kinds of problems and dilemmas in their organizations to ask if chaplains might be part of the solution…by better integrating chaplains in the Jewish community, we will be able to better care for people who are on the fringes, who are overlooked, or who are not involved with local congregations.” The new grant from the Charles H. Revson Foundation will enable innovating Jewish chaplains to begin addressing these needs, shifting the Lab’s focus from mapping to strengthening Jewish chaplaincy.

In addition to the project teams themselves — including a chaplain and an administrative leader from organizations recognized under Section 501(c)3 of US tax law — four mentors, drawn from leading Jewish chaplains in the US, will support these teams to ensure their success and build broader capacity to continue the work and build on the viability of the interventions.

Proposals will be accepted from today until April 15, 2023. An information session will be held by the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab on February 15 for those interested in applying.

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Founded in 2018, the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab supports chaplains in all sectors as they recognize and respond to changes in American religious and spiritual life. The Lab brings chaplaincy leaders, theological educators, clinical educators, and social scientists into a research-based conversation about the state of chaplaincy and spiritual care. Driving its work are questions about how spiritual caregivers can do their best work. The Lab aims to improve how chaplains are trained, how they work with diverse individuals (including those with no religious or spiritual backgrounds), and how spiritual care develops as a professional field.

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The Charles H. Revson Foundation, established in 1956, operates grant programs in Urban Affairs, Jewish Life, Biomedical Research, and Education. Learn more at https://revsonfoundation.org/.

 

For more information, contact the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab at info@chaplaincyinnovation.org or (781) 736-4399.