From Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda) Blank MS, BCC
Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
Many people have asked me and other members of the Chaplaincy Commission and RAA presidium how to become a chaplain, where to find chaplaincy positions and so on. Often, I have heard from other rabbis that there are programs that train someone in a matter of days to become chaplains. But Chaplains are Spiritual Care Specialists and the training is much more rigorous: 1600 hours of clinical and classroom training to qualify to get a job to work and an additional 2000 hours to be eligible for certification as a chaplain. Many positions require a chaplain to complete Clinical Pastoral Education -CPE training. Although there can be settings with different requirements, I’m sharing a broad overview.

Throughout the year, the RAA offers various types of courses, seminars, etc. for which our members who attend these programs or presentations receive a certificate of attending. But the RAA is not an endorsing organization or agency that confers any degrees or certification. Instead, the RAA collaborates with other organizations that provide official certifications, degrees, etc.

A number of websites offer information about CPE, such as If you go to their directory, you can click on a specific state and then find the locations offering CPE. Neither I, nor anyone affiliated with the Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim, take any responsibility for any course work, presentations, etc. of any specific CPE program. It is up to every person who is interested in CPE to inquire about the specifics of the CPE program. Also, just as one who pursues any advanced educational degree should understand, you might be working with and amongst many people from other cultures, beliefs and ways of seeing the world and so on. A professional chaplain often must care for and work together with people of other faiths, beliefs, customs and cultures. Of course, you do not personally have to observe any of their beliefs. As in any advanced degree program, the style of learning and the material covered can have some difference in style and content. It is up to every person to inquire as much as possible about each CPE program, in order to find the one with which you feel most comfortable

In order to become a candidate for Board Certification (BCC), one must fulfill certain requirements including 4 units of CPE, have attended a recognized school of higher learning, and show all the appropriate competencies. One of the recognized official organizations that confers Board Certification is the Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 917-446-2126 or

RAA Chaplaincy Commission members:
Rabbi Michoel Chazan, Director of Chaplaincy Services, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center; Rabbi Tzephania Kreger, Staff Chaplain, NYP/Columbia University Medical Center; Rabbi Simcha Silverman, Director of Chaplaincy Services, Lenox Hill Hospital; Rabbi Yochanan Ivry, Spiritual Care Counselor/Coordinator
Caring Hospice Brooklyn NY; Rabbi Blank and Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik Vice President RAA/Igud HaRabbonim.

Together with Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda) Blank MS, BCC, Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs for the RAA, the members of the Chaplaincy Commission bring much emphasis on professional chaplaincy to the Igud all being Shomer Torah Mitzvos and caring
for men, women and children of all backgrounds with much sincerity and professionalism.