"The bridges that Bruce has built between the medical students
and the Spiritual Care Service have been ground-breaking, and it has
become an enriching experience for all of us," said George
Fitzgerald, Director of Spiritual Care Services at Stanford Hospital
The mission of the program is to provide spiritual care,
strengthen the community, and educate people on the healing role of
spirituality and religion. The Jewish Chaplaincy serves the entire
medical center, supporting both adult patients and families at
Stanford Hospital and children and their families at Lucile Packard
The Jewish Chaplaincy also connects patients and their families
with Guest Services and social services in the hospital, and with
Jewish community resources, including synagogues, the Bay Area Jewish
Healing Center and Jewish Family and Children's Services. The
chaplains and program volunteers provide spiritual comfort and
guidance for patients and families of all backgrounds, and services
are offered in Russian, Yiddish, Hebrew, Spanish and French. Shabbat
observance and holiday celebrations take place both privately in
patient rooms as well as part of a community celebration at the
Stanford Hospital atrium. Special accommodations are made for patients
who keep kosher or who avoid use of electricity on the Sabbath.
"It is a powerful force to bring spirituality and meaning
into health care," says Feldstein. "Technology is fantastic
and dominating but we can't forget the power of love and compassion.
That is a kind of medicine that doesn't come in an IV. It is my hope
that the lessons learned from our program will become a part of the
landscape of everyday health care."
While the availability of Jewish chaplains or rabbis at some
hospitals is not uncommon, Stanford Hospital's Jewish Chaplaincy
program has two on-site chaplains and many Jewish volunteers. Though
the Jewish Chaplaincy is located in the hospital, it is funded by
donations from individuals and community organizations. Feldstein's
success in getting recognition and awards for the program, including
an article he authored in 2001 in JAMA (Journal of American Medical
Association), titled "Toward Meaning," has led to an
invitation by the National Association of Jewish Chaplains to assist
with developing standards for spiritual care in Israel.
An Anniversary celebration took place on Sunday, May 23. The
event honored the accomplishments of the Jewish Chaplaincy and thanked
all those in the community that have supported the program. Speakers
at the event included advisory board member Rabbi Amy Eilberg, Linda
Klein, a program volunteer, Rabbi Mychal Copeland of Stanford Hillel
and Jill Stein, whose daughter was a patient at Lucile Packard
Children's Hospital. For more information, please visit the Jewish Chaplaincy.
The Jewish Chaplaincy is a part of Stanford Hospital &
Clinics Spiritual Care Services, which includes on-call
chaplains and spiritual support and assistance for people of all
faiths and traditions.