Chevra Kadisha Members Train to be Certified Chaplains

Fifteen members of the Chevrah Kadisha (burial society) of Flatbush and Boro Park, Brooklyn received special training sessions from the United States Chaplain Corps (USCC) in preparation to certify as chaplains. 

Fifteen members of the Chevrah Kadisha (burial society) of Flatbush and Boro Park, Brooklyn received special training sessions from the United States Chaplain Corps (USCC) in preparation to certify as chaplains. 

In the course of performing their holy work, this group often is called upon to defuse pain and ease tension by means of language, psychology and emotional support, the mission of chaplains. The six-hour training session, provided by Mendy Coën, director-general of the USCC, was intended to professionalize their skills, and address spiritual care, end-of-life, after-life, the psychology of trauma, coping with loss, grieving, death notification, mental health and addiction. To round out their training, Chevrah Kadisha members also took courses with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Disaster Management and Religious Literacy for Emergency Management, and received CPR, First Aid and AED certification.

Chalmers Beard, the USCC administrator, expressed his gratitude and welcomed the Chevrah Kadisha’s involvement in the USCC. “These special individuals have dedicated their lives to uphold the true values of Judaism with selfless work. We are honored to welcome them to our ranks. We will work in unity to accomplish our mission of making this world a better place,” said Beard.

The USCC recruits, trains and certifies chaplains to be sent on community missions in the US and around the world. With a force of 600 active chaplains in 20 states and seven countries, the USCC provides chaplain care in local communities, cities and through state agencies. The USCC plans to cover every US town and city in the near future. Coën elucidated the USCC’s agenda. “We live in difficult times. Our communities are fractured. We experience pain at all levels of society, from youngsters to the elders. We are providing chaplains to bring healing, with care, integrity and authenticity.”

The USCC welcomes people of all faiths who are committed to helping others in their communities and in society. The training program is designed to prepare future chaplains to handle a variety of crises and acute pain situations, and ease pain and bring healing. 

Amazingly, the special work of chaplains has another dimension to it. “The work of chaplaincy has brought healing not only to the people we help, but most interestingly, to ourselves. The more involved I am helping others, the better I feel as an individual. This is therapeutic,” said Chaplain Josh Werner, a USCC Chaplain in Virginia.

For more information about the USCC and its programs, visit www.uschaplaincorps.us or email [email protected]

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