Where Jewish wisdom joins modern medicine, bringing spiritual comfort and healing to the bedside.
The Sukkah, a Shelter of Peace
One of the evening prayers, refers to "sukkat shalom", a sukkah of peace. This sounds like an idealized image of peace, but an actual sukkah is a very imperfect form of shelter. So why does our prayer for protection in this uncertain world ask for a sukkah of peace? Why not pray for a solid roof of peace? Or, even better, a bomb shelter of peace?
When we pray for a sukkat shalom, we are not praying for complete protection. We are acknowledging that life is full of risk and rain. And we need to be open to the rain if we are going to get to see the stars. Similarly, if we are not open to suffering in life, we are also probably not open to the unexpected moments of glittering joy. We are not praying to be sheltered from the truth of life, but praying to be surrounded for only a moment within a temporary, permeable hut that brings together friends and welcomes strangers; a dwelling that contained our ancestors while they were wandering in the desert. A sukkah reminds us today that we are not alone, but encircled by the memory of our forbearers and held within a structure of divine and human care.
This Sukkot may each of us be embraced during the most vulnerable and painful moments of our lives. May the Divine Presence spread over us a sukkat shalom, a shelter of peace that is open to the rain and open to the stars. And may we not be alone in this imperfect shelter, with our joy, fear, and suffering, but accompanied by our families, friends, ancestors and the Divine presence. Adapted from (c) Bay Area Jewish Healing Center, Rabbi H. Rafael Goldstein
Upcoming Events at Stanford
Celebrate Sukkot, The Festival of Booths 2018/5779
Sunset, September 23 – Sunday, September 30 sunset
Visit the Sukkah anytime behind the Cancer Center (see map)
All are welcome to come and visit. Come sit in the Sukkah. Bring your lunch or a snack to enjoy in this unique venue. Add your prayers and wishes for healing to our Tree of Life and to the Prayer Chains which decorate the sukkah.
Celebrate Hanukah, The Festival of Lights 2018/5779
in the Stanford Hospital Atrium
Bring some light into your life and the world. A time to rededicate and celebrate. Everyone is invited.
Welcome Shabbat: A Healing Service
Stanford Children’s Hospital Sanctuary (see map)
Chaplain David Smilovitz joined The Jewish Chaplaincy at Stanford Medicine in July 2018, assisting Chaplain Feldstein in visiting Jewish patients and families at the adult and children’s hospitals. “To serve as a chaplain,” David says, “is a deep privilege and has transformed my life. I have been fortunate to be with patients and listen to their life stories, sacred stories. I am inspired by their courage, touched by their sadness, and blessed to receive and offer them blessings.”
David’s chaplaincy career began at Stanford. After closing his family furniture store in 2004, he volunteered with The Jewish Chaplaincy, and in 2009 completed Stanford’s CPE program and a summer fellowship with The Jewish Chaplaincy. He became a hospice chaplain with Pathways Home Health and Hospice until retiring this year.
David was born in Palo Alto and grew up in Redwood City where he lives with his wife Patti and is a lifelong member of Congregation Beth Jacob. They have two daughters.
"Talking with...A doctor who heals people's spirits" jweekly.com, May 5, 2016, an interview with Chaplain Bruce Feldstein, MD.
"Doctors on Life Support." Time Magazine, September 7, 2015. Features Chaplain Bruce Feldstein, MD's work with medical students.
BeWell@Stanford features interview with Chaplain Bruce Feldstein, MD
Healing through Faith, November 30, 2011
Read what Chaplain Bruce Feldstein, MD, has to say as part of a roundtable panel, Training For Caring Communities in the
June 2011 issue of Sh'ma, A Journal of Jewish Responsibility.
"Life has a curious way of growing us beyond what we can imagine. After 19 years as an emergency physician, I never could have guessed I would become a chaplain...". read more of what Chaplain Feldstein has to say about Bridging with the Sacred: Reflections of an MD Chaplain.
"In the world outside the hospital, we generally assume that we are in control, that we are masters of our lives, that we are in charge of how our experiences will unfold from moment to moment, from day to day. At the door to the hospital one leaves these illusions behind. Step into the hospital and one enters a different reality—one moves, as Rachel Naomi Remen puts it so beautifully, from the land of mastery to the land of mystery." Enjoy the full text of Rabbi Amy Eilberg's remarks at our Celebration of a Decade of Hope and Healing, May 23, 2010.
The Jewish Chaplaincy at Stanford Provides Care and Comfort When Patients Need it Most. Read what patients have to say in this Stanford Medicine publication.