Yeshiva University’s Pastoral Counseling Program Gets a Nod from NYS Department of Education

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The Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University is delighted to announce that its Advanced Certificate Program in Pastoral Counseling for Rabbis-in-Training, conducted in partnership with Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), has been officially registered with of the New York State Department of Education. (NYSED).

The certificate program, one of the first of its kind to serve the Orthodox community, was born out of a joint initiative established more than six years ago by Ferkauf and RIETS.

It consists of six core graduate-level courses (18 credits) in mental health counseling, psychopathology, crisis intervention, loss and bereavement, and couples and family counseling, all designed for rabbinical students considering a career in the shul rabbinate or Jewish education. Credits earned through the certificate are part of the rabbinical degree and can be applied to an appropriate master’s or doctoral program.

“Our Advanced Certificate program builds the mental health counseling skills of pulpit rabbis and communal educators by equipping them with practical knowledge that can help them support people with a wide range of mental health issues, from bereavement crisis and trauma intervention and family therapy,” said Dr. Leslie Halpern, Dean of Ferkauf.

According to Rabbi Neal Turk, founder and director of the program, enrolling in NYSED takes the pioneering curriculum to another level by “recognizing that our program meets the quality standards and rigorous requirements of graduate-level education in New York State, honing students’ ability to address the mental health challenges faced by those in their care and guiding them to the best available resources.

“We are delighted that this program is receiving the recognition it deserves. It is producing rabbinical professionals on a level never seen before and the community will certainly benefit for many years to come,” noted Rabbi Marc Penner, Dean of RIETS.

Although enrollment is currently limited to existing RIETS students, plans are underway to open the program to students and graduates from other schools.

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