RS503 – Caregiving through the Changes and Challenges of Life

Instructor: Rabbi Russ Resnik
Dates: March 17-June 2; Spring Semester 2023–24

The effective Messianic Jewish leader must have skills in spiritual guidance and caregiving, as well as basic skills in short-term pastoral counseling for their congregants during times of crisis. This course equips the student to provide such counseling. Further, this course will help rabbis to provide effective support and resources to congregants as they prepare for and experience the changes and challenges of life. The course is built on the rhythm of the Jewish lifecycle and draws on sources that validate and enhance a Messianic Jewish identity. It addresses related issues  such as mental illness, addiction, and abusive relationships, with a specific focus on when and how to refer congregants to professional help.

This course builds on the Jewish lifecycle, focusing on how to care for individuals and congregants through the stages of life. RS502 addresses the how-to of the Jewish lifecycle events, and addresses the emotional and spiritual needs of individuals experiencing these events, as well as related issues.

The effective Messianic Jewish professional or lay leader must have skill in spiritual direction and caregiving, as well as basic skills in short-term Jewish pastoral counseling through emotional difficulties and crises.

None. Limited to Rabbinic Studies students and those with special permission.

This is an online course. The student must have a computer and internet access. Please contact Joyce Klayman, our IT assistant, for technical help at

Lecture (by podcast and/or video conference) and asynchronous online discussion (by blog).

Attention to lectures, participation in discussion threads, interaction with assigned readings, and completion of the assignments listed below.


Friedman, Rabbi Dale A. Jewish Pastoral Care, 2nd Edition: A Practical Handbook from Traditional and Contemporary Sources. Woodstock: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2005.

Friedman, Edwin H. Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue. New York, London: The Guilford Press, 2011.

Before the first class, students should read all of Generation to Generation (300 pages) and Jewish Pastoral Care, Introduction, pp. xii–xxv; Section I, pp. 28–55; and Section II, pp. 95–149. Additional reading assignments are listed in the Course Outline below, with listed handouts mademavailable during the course, and should be completed before blogging for the given week.



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