Spertus launches program in health and healing in Judaism

Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies will present a unique new educational initiative in Health and Healing in Judaism. Designed specifically to serve the needs of rabbis, chaplains, counselors, healthcare providers, and hospice workers, this program offers four graduate-level, credit-bearing courses, beginning in March, that examine bioethics, biblical psychology, and the role of health and healing in Jewish theology and history.

The program will guide participants through explorations of critical questions surrounding health and healing, drawing on classical and contemporary Jewish texts and practices. Among these questions, how can faith positively inform professional and personal medical decisions? And what does Judaism teach that can help us navigate today’s complex, scientifically oriented medical world?

The courses that comprise the Graduate Certificate in Health and Healing in Judaism will be held during two week-long intensive seminars at Spertus, 610 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago. The seminar dates are March 6-10 and July 10-14. Two courses will be held during each seminar.

The March seminar courses will be What Does Judaism Say About Bioethics?, an examination of topics including artificial reproduction, abortion, genetic engineering, health care rationing, euthanasia, and assisted suicide, and A Biblical Approach to Mental Health, a comparison of Biblical and Greek narratives around real-life psychological and clinical issues.    

The courses during the July seminar will be Classic Jewish Texts, Liturgy, and Rituals in the Context of Health and Healing, covering how health and healing can be understood in a Jewish context and how they can be enhanced through Jewish thought and practices, and Health and Disease in Jewish and Western Thought, in which participants will examine the concepts of sickness and health in body and soul in classical sources.

Faculty are Dr. Kalman Kaplan, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of the Center for Religion, Spirituality and Mental Health in the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Medical Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine; Rabbi Dr. Peter Knobel, Rabbi Emeritus of Evanston’s Beth Emet the Free Synagogue and member of the Spertus faculty; and Rabbi Dr. Byron L. Sherwin, Spertus Distinguished Service Professor and Director of Doctoral Programs and a leading scholar in the areas of Jewish ethics, bioethics, and theology.

Courses may be taken individually or together towards fulfillment of the Certificate. Tuition is $900 per course or $3,600 for the Certificate. The application deadline is Jan. 11, and participants must have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent prior to the start of the program. Those interested in registering or in receiving more information should visit www.spertus.edu or contact Dr. Dean Bell at dbell@spertus.edu.

Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies is a partner in serving our community, supported by the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

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