From the desk of Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank, MS, BCC
Director of Programming, Chaplaincy Commission and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
December 16th, 2021
KINDNESS, FEELINGS FOR OTHERS, SENSITIVITY FOR OTHERS,
CARING FOR OTHERS, BEING MEKADEISH H,
A CHAPLAIN, A PROFESSIONAL, A WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING,
AND A ROLE MODEL FOR ONE AND ALL.
WORDS OF PRAISE AND WORDS OF CHIZUK
A LINK TO THE VIDEO RECORDING OFA SPECIAL TRIBUTE HELD THIS
PAST CHANUKAH SUNDAY DECEMBER 5, 2021, CAN BE FOUND
FOLLOWING THIS ARTICLE
RABBI DAVID KEEHN – RAV DOVID YITZCHOK BEN AKIVA YEHUDA ZTL
For many years, healthcare chaplains were thought to be a rabbi who would make rounds visiting Jewish patients, often on a Friday to wish a good Shabbos and what ever religious article he could supply such as the electric Shabbos candles, a siddur, and other religious items. Today, the Jewish chaplain does not have to be a rabbi, nor a rebbitzen, but a knowledgeable and caring Jewish male or female chaplain. Most healthcare facilities and even chaplains who are not healthcare chaplains are requested and often required to have had CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) which I have discussed at length in prior articles. Many chaplains also have other professional and educational degrees. Loving H, caring about others, being kind, sensitive and understanding are some of the many virtues we all must have. To be a professional chaplain CPE is often the gold standard of educational knowledge and proficiency. CPE is quite extensive and intensive, in many ways similar to social work education. Before attaining board certification, one must be proficient in different and diverse education, methodologies, verbatims, didactics in addition to internships for a period of structured time and supervision. A candidate to become a Board Certified Chaplain must meet many rigid requirements and certain standards of chaplaincy proficiency.
Rabbi David Keehn had all of the above and more. He had a recognized semicha from REITS, was a Board Certified Chaplain, held prestigious positions, was a masmid in his Torah learning, and so much more as you will hear in my recorded tribute that is available below this article. In all honesty, my tribute could have lasted for hours sharing the wealth of tremendous chesed and professionalism from all those he worked with, collaborated with, ministered for, his various positions, the countless lives he touched in one way or another. He was Mekadeish H in many different ways. He was respected by colleagues, clergy, staff, and patients of diverse religions, cultures, and Jewish backgrounds. He was able to cross many paths. Yet, knew his own boundaries of what was appropriate as an Orthodox Jew, as an ethical professional and as a human being. His contributions in his many affiliations, organizations, committees and as President and Vice President at the Queens Jewish Community Council were outstanding. He had tremendous finesse, understanding of human relations and creativity with immense energy and fortitude to achieve many remarkable accomplishments. His sensitivity, his feelings for others, his kindness, knew no bounds. How he was able to fulfill so much in such a fleeting time of life is utterly amazing. What is even more amazing is doing so with what some would call a disability as you will hear in the video tribute to David. Yet, he did not convey in his daily life as being a person with any disability. Most of all, his love and care for his Aishis Chayil, Adrean, his children and family may they be blessed with 120 years of all the kindness in the world. David was a remarkable role model for all to continue to learn from. Words alone cannot describe Mrs. Keehn who has been a phenomenal role model herself for her sincerity, admiration, support, care she gave David and continues to give her family sol zein gezundt. She has taught us all the significance of loving kindness, a magnificent Aishis Chayil and a mother to her dear children.
On Monday’s and Thursdays after the Torah reading (when Tachanun read) one of the tefilos that is recited is Acheinu Kawl Beis Yisrael. “Our brothers, the entire House of Israel, who are found in distress and captivity, who are situated whether at sea or whether on land may the Omnipresent One have mercy on them and remove them from distress to relief, from darkness to light, from subjugation to redemption, now, speedily, and at a time that comes soon and that let us stay: Amein.” (Translation in the Artscroll Siddur, Mesorah Publications Ltd) I chose this prayer to symbolize how Dovid strived to relieve distress, had rachmanus, and for many brought relief from darkness to light from the various difficulties and challenges many were going through. We of course as David did, are mispallel for the Aibershta’s relief and His continuous kindness. What can each of us say after reading about David and what you will hear about him from the video of my tribute? What would Dovid’s response be to what has been said about him? First and foremost, he was a humble person. He did not “toot his horn” how great he was, but rather took pride in any of his accomplishments which would benefit others. His greatest pleasure would be for Klal Yisrael to always appreciate the help and guidance of the Ribono shel Olam and our responsibilities of following the essence of Torah, Avoda and Gemilus Chasadim. He showed how it is possible even with a disability to accomplish so many things and did not consider himself having a disability. Yes, it is ok to kvetch once in a while, and yes, we have to remember we can cry to the Helika Tatte, the Ribono shel Olam about any of our challenges. To be able to overcome any difficulties. To be matzliach in life and for Him to accept our bakashos. David often shared with me his efforts how important it is to be Mekadeish H and not to compromise ones Yiddishkeit. May Dovid Yitzhock ben Akiva Yehuda ztl be a Meilitz Yashar for Mrs. Adrean Keehn, family and Klal Yisrael and may we all be zoche the Geula Sheleima Bekarov Amein.
Respectfully and sincerely, Rabbi Yehuda Blank
PLEASE CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING LINK FOR THE VIDEO RECORDING OF THE TRIBUTE TO RABBI KEEHN
Orthodox Rabbi/Chaplain Position At NYU Langone Medical Center Click On Link: https://jobs.nyulangone.org/job/14406487/orthodox-rabbi-new-york-ny/#tab-id-2