Fellowship Program

Yonatan Rudnick

Yonatan spent the past summer (2002) participating in an intensive CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) course in Kansas City. The 11-week course provided him with a unique opportunity to learn about pastoral care at the highest possible level, along with theology students of all faiths. The training was interdisciplinary, including pastoral care in departments such as infectious diseases, HIV, psychiatry, crisis and trauma and oncology. This course, helped prepare Yonatan for his current position of pastoral counselor at the oncology unit of a prominent Jerusalem hospital. Yonatan is the first rabbinical student to be taking on such a role, which until this point in Israel has almost exclusively been about halacha, rather than Bikur Cholim and an emotional and spiritual connection with the patient. This post was particularly meaningful to Yonatan who has spent an extensive period in this same hospital. After experiencing the lack of spiritual care first hand, Yonatan has dedicated himself to improving the system from within.

Yonatan is currently in his third year of the Rabbinics program at the Shechter Institute and feels he is privileged to have been given the opportunity to complete his Jewish education in such a full and meaningful way relatively late in his life. Before his Rabbinical studies, Yonatan graduated from the Mandel School for Educational Leadership in Jerusalem and received two Masters Degrees from Columbia University and Brandeis, the first in international relations and the second in Jewish communal service as part of his Wexner Fellowship.

In his professional life Yonatan was dedicated to working for the Joint Distribution Committee for a number of years. His work focused mainly on the Jewish community in the Ukraine to which he traveled extensively and where he spent a year with his wife, Marcelle, in 1998. Yonatan worked in developing the Jewish community in this region, from the children's summer camps through to adult education programs.

Yonatan is currently also involved in Yahalom a project that brings children and parents together to learn Jewish texts in an open, pluralistic environment. He has been working in schools in Rishon L'tzion and Jaffa.

Yonatan's vision for the future is to develop the concept of spiritual and emotional chaplaincy in Israeli hospitals and create a community where the schools, synagogues and hospitals work together holistically to strengthen and support all community members both in sickness and in health.

Yonatan, who made Aliyah eight years ago, now lives with his wife Marcelle and son Sagi in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hakerem.