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

The monthly Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim meeting was jam packed with meaningful, informative presentations. You can read all about the main aspects of this meeting by Rabbi Mirocznik in his article.

I would like to share the following with you. Inspector Mark Molinari, New York City Police Department Commanding Officer of the Hate Crime Task Force truly reflects the essence not only about good police work, but what it means to be a professional and a “mensch”. He is very humble not wishing to grandstand. He conveyed to the assembled rabbis of his devotion and dedication through the work he does and the importance of collaboration he has with the various departments within the NYPD under the leadership of the Commissioner of the NYPD the Honorable Dermot F. Shea. The information he shared was invaluable. We should not forget “if you see something- tell somebody”. If deep down you feel something is not right, please notify the appropriate authorities and don’t forget his homework assignment (see R. Mirocznik). Though Rabbi Mirocznik and my relationship with Inspector Molinari and other police official’s can be friendly, but always within the framework of professionalism and respect. On another note, we can all see the tremendous Kiddush H with the magnificent comments made by many members of the police last week both in New Jersey and New York with remarks of how not even one incident of a negative nature occurred anytime prior, during and after the Siyum Hashas with the thousands who attended and also how respectful, friendly and nice everyone was.

Rabbi Simcha Silverman, Rav of Congregation Etz Chaim of Flatbush, distinguished member of the RAA Chaplaincy Commission and also the Director of Chaplaincy Services at Lenox Hill Hospital, gave important and interesting perspectives from the lens of a professional hospital chaplain and rav and the challenges he comes upon. Here are some of those challenges which he discussed at the meeting.

1. A death that I was with on Saturday night. The family member who asked about cremation.
2. The challenges of a perinatal loss and the ‘questions’ the families grapple with.
3. A patient whose Jewish HCP wants to provide him with a full Jewish burial. His non-Jewish children want him cremated.
4. Appropriate words and wishes to offer someone who ‘al pi derecho hateva’ will not get better.
5. Organ donation after cardiac death. When was life support removed?
6. Challenging questions that observant nurses face.
7. Ems who asked pt’s husband if he wants them to try and revive her. ‘if not, I would’ve called the funeral home’. Mindset and mentality.
8. Broken limb. Massive heart attack in hospital is it a brocha?
9. Blockage, worst possible scenario. Able to urinate. Don’t take for granted.
10. Happy Chanukah, no its not. Yesterday life in danger—today not.
11. He made a miracle when you were at your lowest.
12. Holocaust survivor- rub each other’s back.

Rabbi Silverman, in addition to his semicha and graduate degrees is also a Board Certified professional chaplain. All the members of the Chaplaincy Commission are Board Certified professional chaplains.

Rabbi Elchonon Zohn founder and president of NASCK, National Association of Chevra Kaddisha who was one of the meeting presenter’s, as I mentioned in my RAA newsletter article of last week is knowledgeable in end of life issues which are sought after by rabbonim, chaplains and many professionals . The RAA/Igud is looking forward to continued relationship with Rabbi Zohn to continue being a resource, advisor, and mentor for our chaplains, rabbonim and others who seek the advice from our organization. The members of the RAA Chaplains Commission greatly appreciate the advice he has given our member chaplains.

Many thank’s to Rabbi Yaakov Klass, Presidium Chairman and host at his shul.

And now for additional important information from Testing and Training International:

TTI runs a world-renowned program for over 20 years. Their students graduate with top marks and pass the edTPA state exam at a 100% rate! This program is available to those living in the tri-state area, with super- part time classes- meeting once a week on Sunday, for only a year and a half. An added bonus is that men can join the program with just a yeshiva degree in hand.

TTI would like to inform you of an exciting moment in the NYC scene. NYC has just approved a $20,000 raise to those in the Early Childhood Education field who hold an Early Childhood teacher’s certification. TTI has just recently created a brand new route to obtain this credential- one that is easy and not costly! Men and women can obtain both their Bachelors and Masters degrees in just 2 years, and begin working in the field, while qualifying for the raise, just a year into the process! This is major news, as NY hasn’t raised their teachers’ wages in a while, and this is sure to boost the energy in the field tremendously. For any RAA members that perhaps hold a Bachelors already (such as a yeshiva degree, or other accredited degree), they can begin the Masters program now in the Spring, and qualify for the raise as early as next school year!

For additional information about CAHE Center for Allied Health Education and YIEP, please visit the RAA website. For additional information about Sunday January 5th RAA meeting see Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik article and or the RAA website. For update information about anti Semitism situations, follow ups and articles ,visit the RAA website .

Once again, I want to thank Rabbi Gil Student for his expertise, advice and all that he does for the RAA.