About Spiritual Care

We provide spiritual comfort and guidance tailored to your individual needs.

Our chaplains and spiritual care volunteers provide spiritual comfort and guidance for patients, families and staff of any background, tailored to individual beliefs and needs. In addition, we have chaplains and volunteers who speak Russian, Yiddish, Hebrew, Spanish and French and also have access to hospital interpreters.

Our services include:

  • Bedside visits with generous listening, emotional support and companionship for adults, children, newborns and their families
  • Prayers, blessings and rituals for healing, help and gratitude for:
    • coping with illness and hospitalization
    • receiving news (good or bad)
    • preparing for and recovering from surgery
    • end of life
    • holiday observance and life cycle events
    • other situations    
  • Assistance with Jewish observance in the hospital, including keeping kosher, daily prayer, Shabbat and holidays
  • Assistance with family meetings and decision making as part of the health care team, including Jewish medical ethics 
  • End of life information and counseling for decision making including life review, ethical wills, bereavement, death and dying, funeral, burial, cremation, memorial and mourning practices
  • Connecting to other hospital services, such as Guest Services (special patient services, music, art, massage, therapeutic dog visits), social workers and other resources
  • Collaboration with area clergy
  • Family assistance in finding food, housing and other resources
  • Connection to community resources, including synagogues, Bay Area Jewish Healing Center, Jewish Family and Children's Services, Sinai Memorial Chapel and others

Prayers and Blessings

The Jewish Chaplaincy draws from traditional and contemporary sources in offering blessings and rituals for healing and other situations.

Jewish Observance and Shabbat

Kosher food

Glatt kosher food—from vegan to meat—can be ordered through the hospital's dietary staff. Patients and families also are welcome to bring in their own food and store it in the refrigerator in the nursing unit on their floor. A special meat microwave is available from The Jewish Chaplaincy on request. Please contact The Jewish Chaplaincy for further assistance.

Assistance with prayer

The Jewish chaplains can be paged to provide a siddur or assist you with putting on a kippah, tallit or tefillin.


On Friday afternoons, The Jewish Chaplaincy can provide a Shabbat bag that includes electric Shabbat candles (tea lights), kosher grape juice, and a card with blessings and candle lighting times. Note: lighting candles with an open flame is not allowed in the hospital.

  • Avoiding electricity 
    Nurses and staff can work with patients and families to avoid the use of electricity. At Stanford Hospital, a non-electric door that opens from the inside is located near the garden entrance. In addition, there is a hallway entrance on the first floor. All outside entrances to Lucile Packard Children's Hospital electric. However, the hospital can be reached through a hallway entrance from Stanford Hospital.
  • Carrying  
    A single kitchen serves both Stanford Hospital and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital allows carrying on Shabbat within each hospital and between hospitals.
  • Overnight 
    At Stanford Hospital, Guest Services and The Jewish Chaplaincy can help families who do not travel on Shabbat make arrangements to stay overnight. Currently, the hospital does not provide an overnight hospitality room. At Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, social workers can assist families with sleep spaces in the hospital. These may or may not be in the patient room depending upon the nursing unit.

Celebrating Jewish Holidays

We provide spiritual comfort and guidance tailored to your individual needs.

Spending holidays in the hospital—away from family, traditions and celebrations—can be very difficult. Holidays observed in the hospital, however, can take on new meaning and play an important role in healing. The Jewish chaplains and volunteers provide holiday visits at the bedside and community celebrations in the Stanford Hospital Atrium.

At the bedside

High Holidays and Sukkot

For Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Jewish chaplains and volunteers can sound the shofar at the bedside and provide a modified service. A special meditation is provided for those unable to fast. During Sukkot, chaplains and volunteers visit with a lulav and etrog.


The Jewish Chaplaincy brings patients a Hanukah bag with a hanukiah (menorah), candles, chocolate gelt, a dreidl and a special message. Because patients are not allowed to light the candles due to fire regulations, they can dedicate the candles in the hospital and light them when they return home.

Purim and Passover

The chaplain and volunteers deliver misloach manot and Passover gift bags prepared by Jewish day school students to patients and staff. These bags include holiday foods and special letters from the children. The first two nights of Passover, the Jewish chaplain and volunteers will provide patients with supplies for making a seder, (complements of the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center) and will arrange for seder plate foods to be delivered by Stanford Hospital's Food Services along with the dinner meal.

Throughout the holiday, patients can request foods that are kosher-for-Passover from Food Services.

Reflections on experiencing Passover from a hospital bed: 

  • Dr. Tamara Green, Reprinted with permission from The Outstretched Arm, Issue II, Spring 1999/5759
  • Rabbi Natan Fenner, Torah Reflections on Passover, Bay Area Jewish Healing Center

As a community

The Jewish Chaplaincy presents holiday celebrations in the Stanford Hospital Atrium before Rosh Hashanah and at Hanukah. Attended by people of all faiths from the Medical Center and the local community, these special gatherings are presented in conjunction with the Spiritual Care Service of Stanford Health Care and the Chaplaincy Services at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

Rosh Hashanah

Sounding the Shofar is presented before Rosh Hashanah. The Jewish Chaplaincy, students from Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School and members of the community present a shofar demonstration and reflection that relates the sounds of the shofar to the healing journey from illness to wholeness. The gathering concludes with apples, honey and honey cake.

Celebrate Sounding the Shofar 2014/5775, date to be announced.


A sukkah is constructed on the promenade between Stanford Health Care, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and the Cancer Center. Visitors are welcome at all times to enjoy the shelter of the sukkah. Weekdays during Sukkot, snacks will be provided and members of the Jewish Chaplaincy will explore with visitors the meaning of the sukkah and it's relationship to healing. 

Celebrate Sukkot 2014/5775, Wednesday October 8-15, location behind the Cancer Center next to Lucile Packard Children's Hospital (see map).                             


Candle lighting takes place each day of Hanukah at 4:00 p.m. at the bronze menorah next to the holiday tree. On one of the days, the Hanukah Festival of Light Celebration features songs, food, and an extended candle lighting that focuses on the healing themes of maintaining hope in theface of darkness and perseverance to overcome overwhelming odds.

Daily Candle Lighting 2014/5775, Tuesday, December 16 - Tuesday. December 23.

Hanukah Festival of Light Celebration 2014/5775, date to be announced, in the atrium annex at Stanford University Hospital.

Read more....

Other Resources

At Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital

Multi-faith chapels 
Multi-faith chapels are located on the ground floor of Stanford Hospital and on the second floor of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and are open to everyone 24 hours a day. A variety of prayer books reflecting different religious preferences is available.

Stanford Health Care

Lucile Packard Children's Hospital

Resources outside Stanford University Medical Center