An international gathering of those seeking to advance and professionalize spiritual care in Israel’s public health system is set to take place this month at the Spiritual Care Conference in Jerusalem.

The January 27-28 conference, “Hope and Resilience: Innovative and Interdisciplinary Spiritual Care,” is sponsored by NAJC (National Association of Jewish Chaplains) in partnership and collaboration with UJA-Federation of New York, Tishkofet, JDC-Eshel and the Israel Spiritual Care Network.

“Be it through music, text, art or religion, spiritual care is compassionate care, a universal need, based on the desires, beliefs and passions of the individual. Spiritual care in Israel has the potential and ability to help people find their purpose and sense of meaning in the most trying of times. Therefore, UJA-Federation of New York continues to support the mission of advancing the field of spiritual care in the State of Israel,” said Susan Lax, co-chair of the Spiritual Care Advisory Committee at UJA-Federation of New York.

With a growing awareness of the lack of spiritual care in the medical and social services establishments in Israel, UJA-Federation of New York and its partners are passionate about importing the field of spiritual care and advancing it as a recognized profession.

Since 2006, when UJA-Federation launched the field in Israel, it has allocated over $6 million in funding to several training institutions as well as organizations that provide direct services in Israel’s major hospitals. Today, there are 40 certified professionals in Israel.

Rev. Eric J. Hall, President and CEO of HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, the leading spiritual care organization in the United States, will be the keynote speaker and is scheduled to discuss some of the latest research on spiritual care and healthcare. Leading Israeli experts, including Dr. Ruth Calderon, MK, will also speak at the event.

“Sickness, hardship and death are moments of life we try to repress and avoid as much as possible. Therefore, we are missing a language that can give meaning to these moments.  The importance of spiritual care is recognized in moments of sorrow, in presence next to a patient and in using a deep and accurate language that contains understanding, meaning and acceptance,” said MK Calderon.