The National Center for Jewish Healing (NCJH) was established in 1994 in response to a national upsurge of interest in reclaiming ancient Jewish spiritual wisdom and resources that foster wholeness, hope, comfort and connection in the face of illness and loss. In 1997 the NCJH became a program of the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services (JBFCS).
The Jewish healing movement emerged in the early 1990's, spearheaded by three rabbis and two lay leaders, each of whom had themselves faced a serious illness or death of a close family member. Their personal struggles led them to conclude that as a consequence of modern life, Jewish families and individuals no longer had easy access to the spiritual and communal supports that had sustained previous generations of Jews through difficult times. They became committed to changing that reality.
In 1991, the founders organized a conference of rabbis and committed community leadership to share experiences and look closely at what Judaism had to say about illness and loss and what Jewish life had to offer those who were ill or bereaved. Shortly thereafter, the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center and the New York Jewish Healing Center were founded. This groundbreaking work that creatively integrates Jewish spirituality, tradition, and practices with psychological insights ignited the interest of rabbis, cantors, educators, medical and mental health care professionals, and synagogue lay leadership across the country. The NCJH opened in 1994 to help support and build the growing network of Jewish spiritual care and services throughout North America.
Currently there are over 30 healing centers in North America and a dynamic cadre of professionals offering education and consultation on Jewish healing and program development. Increasingly, Jewish healing community networks of care are being forged through partnerships between key communal organizations, such as Jewish federations, Jewish family service agencies, Jewish community centers, synagogues and human service organizations, to name a few. Jewish healing continues to be a vibrant and growing field.
Highlights of NCJH Accomplishments
The development of a network of care throughout North America and beyond is grounded in strong collaborative partnerships with:
We work closely with seminaries, pastoral care and chaplaincy organizations, boards of rabbis, denominational movements as well as other Jewish spiritual care initiatives.