Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

HSL/HRC is pleased to provide a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program for rabbinical students and others interested in learning about Jewish pastoral care in a geriatric setting. Our program is currently the only Jewish geriatric CPE program accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. in the country. In 2008, the CPE program received an award for "best new program" from the Association of Jewish Aging Services .
Using an adult education model of action/reflection/integration, CPE students learn to develop their personal gifts for pastoral care through a disciplined program of learning, self-reflection, and clinical application. Drawing on the unique context at HSL/HRC, the curriculum focuses on pastoral care in Jewish modalities and on pastoral care in a geriatric long-term care setting.

Several types of CPE units are offered at HRC:
Part-time units during the academic year (September or October through early May), require a commitment of 14 hours a week (4-1/2 for classes, and 9-1/2 for pastoral care) or 16 hours a week (6 for classes, and 10 for pastoral care), depending on the particular unit. Two slots are available in each of these  units for Chaplains employed in other settings to use those settings for the clinical component of the course. Most students do their pastoral care work at HSL/HRC, and each is assigned as Chaplain Intern to several distinct resident or patient floors.

A full-time summer unit (late May - early August) Is offered each year.  This program requires students to be available at HRC full-time, 9-5, Monday through Friday. All summer students do their clinical work at HRC, and each is assigned as Chaplain Intern to several distinct resident or patient floors.

In the Summer of 2015 (June 29 – August 6) a special half-unit of CPE will be offered at HRC focusing on end of life care.  This unit is open to Israeli chaplains as well as American chaplains and congregational clergy.  This program requires students to be available at HRC full-time, 9-6, Monday through Friday.

Receive Academic Credit
For information on receiving academic credit for CPE from Hebrew College Rabbinical School.  For information on receiving academic credit for HSL CPE as a Border Crossing Immersion experience, contact Andover Newton Theological School.

The curriculum includes standard components of a CPE program:

  • a learning contract
  • text study and other modes of prayer
  • individual supervision
  • pastoral care work
  • Limud/didactic sessions
  • midterm and final self-evaluations
  • the supervisor's final evaluation
  • verbatim seminars
  • theological reflection seminars
  • group work
  • leadership of religious services

Limud topics include:

  • Pastoral Care with Persons with Dementia
  • The Demographics of Aging in America
  • Jewish Palliative Care
  • Bereavement
  • The Holocaust Experience in Health Care
  • Prayer in Jewish Pastoral Care

View a listing of faculty.

Learn more about the Jewish nature of the CPE program.

Students of any religious affiliation are welcome to apply for the program. Visit Neshama: National Association of Jewish Chaplains for information on certification as chaplain.

Program Supervisor

The CPE program supervisor is Rev. Mary Martha Thiel. She comes to HSL/HRC with particular expertise in program start-up, interfaith chaplaincy, and pastoral care at the end of life. She can be contacted by email at MaryMarthaThiel@hsl.harvard.edu or at 617-363-8804.
HSL has a CPE Supervisory Candidate, Rabbi Beth Naditch, who is ordained in the Conservative movement.  Beth runs some CPE units under the supervision of Rev. Mary Martha Thiel.  She can be contacted by email at BethNaditch@hsl.harvard.edu.
Jewish course content is taught by guest teachers,  Rabbi Sara Paasche-Orlow, Director of Religious and Chaplaincy Services at HSL/HRC, and Rabbi Beth Naditch. Rabbi Sara is ordained in the Conservative movement. She can be contacted by email at spaasche-orlow@hsl.harvard.edu or at 617-363-8386.

HSL/HRC CPE is an accredited program of The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE), offering Level Iand Level II CPE, and through a contract with Brigham and Women’s Hospital CPE Center, Supervisory CPE.

For more information visit ACPE.
More Information and CPE FAQs.
The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc.
National Association of Jewish Chaplains

To Apply:

Candidates should print out and complete the standard ACPE application. Please also read the Annual Notice.

Mail Application to:
Hebrew SeniorLife
Attn: Rev. Mary Martha Thiel, Director of CPE
Religious and Chaplaincy Services Department, HSL/HRC
1200 Centre St.
Boston, MA 02131

Include payment: The $25 check should be made out to "Hebrew SeniorLife CPE Fund".

Applicants will then be contacted for an admissions interview with Rev. Thiel and a representative of the CPE program's Professional Advisory Committee.

The application deadline for the academic year extended program is March 1, and for the full summer program is November 15. The applications for the 2015 summer half-unit are ongoing, until the unit is full. Applicants will be informed within 1 month of their interviews whether they have been accepted.

Tuition for the program is currently $1,000. Beginning in the fall of 2014, the standard tuition rate will be $1500 per unit; if a student does their clinical work at HSL/HRC, their tuition will be discounted to $1100 per unit.  Tuition for  half-units of CPE is ½ of the tuition for a full unit. In the summer 2015 half-unit, tuition is discounted to $500.

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