Community Rabbi Leslie On Spiritual Care of Jewish Patients

Community Rabbi Leslie Alexander helped our team of Los Gatos Spiritual Care Volunteers better understand how to care for our Jewish patients in the May Spiritual Care Seminar here. Among her practical suggestions:

If you are visiting a Jewish patient, ask:

  •  “Are you a member of a synagogue?” if so, ” Have clergy from you synagogue visited?” If not, ‘ Would you like me to request a visit?”
  • If you choose to offer prayer for a Jewish family, please remember many Jews are not comfortable with spontaneous prayer. One Biblical text Jews may know is Numbers 6:24-27: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.” Do not include mention of Jesus in prayers for Jewish patients or families.
  • Please understand not all Jews will feel comfortable with a non-Jewish chaplain. They may not have the energy to risk an encounter with someone who may try to convert them to a different faith or unintentionally cause discomfort. Some of our Jewish patients may have endured persecution in Russia or survived the holocaust, making them less comfortable in discussing their faith with a stranger. 
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