"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 & Clinics.
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 Children's Hospital.
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.