From the desk of Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda) Blank MS, BCC
Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud Harabonim

On Wednesday November 6th, 2019 Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda) Blank, Director of Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs for the Rabbinical Alliance of America, joined with Rabbi Simcha Silverman, who is a member of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, Chaplaincy Commission and also the Director of Chaplaincy Services at Lenox Hill Hospital in NYC, for the annual Northwell Health System Chaplaincy Services Clergy Summit. It was held at the Northwell Health Corporate Headquarters in New Hyde Park. Rabbi Dr. Hillel Fox, Director of Chaplaincy Care for the North Shore University Hospital and Rabbi Silverman, on behalf of Chaplain Melinda Nasti, Program Manager, System Chaplaincy Operations for the Northwell Health Systems, extended the invitation for this summit to the Rabbinical Alliance membership. The theme of this summit was “Our Opioid Crisis: Pathways to Hope.”

There were many chaplains and clergy in attendance. There was also a roundtable discussion for the Orthodox Jewish chaplains who attended the summit. It was led by Rabbi Zvi Gluck, Director and Founder of AMUDIM, dealing with many sensitive issues that chaplains and rabbis often come across when dealing with patients, family members, care givers etc. Rabbi Blank acknowledged Rabbi Gluck who had previously presented at one of the Rabbinical Alliances seminars attended at that time for about 80 individuals and who incorporated some of those talking points at this chaplain’s group.

All the presenters at this summit, including Sandeep Kapoor MD, keynote speaker and Rabbi Gluck at the Orthodox Jewish roundtable, were superb and informative. They brought to light the many important and challenging aspects of the Opioid Crisis and dealing with other chemical dependency and substance abuse issues as chaplains and clergy.