Photo Credit:
(L-R) Rabbis Tzvi Mandel, Akiva Stolper, Meir Borovetz, Yochanan Ivri and Shlomo Rizel. (Not shown: Rabbi Shmaya Modes.)

The CCRC, the Central Committee of Rabbinic Chaplains, was organized to assist those who wish to pursue their calling as Orthodox Jewish chaplains. Key to proper training and certification, the committee organizes classes in CPE (clinical pastoral education), which is the standard in hospital chaplaincy, enabling Orthodox rabbis to become certified chaplains and expand their career opportunities in the chaplaincy field. A CPE class at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn was tailor made for Orthodox participants. Rabbi Michoel Chazan, director of chaplaincy services at Kingsbrook for the past 13 years, and one of the founders of CCRC, is the principal organizer of these CPE classes. The next class will take place in September. For more information regarding this course, call Rabbi Michoel Chazan at 718-604-5530.

The following group of rabbis, after taking a minimum of four units of clinical pastoral education, decided to form their own chapter of the College of Pastoral Studies and Psychotherapy (CPSP) called Kingsbrook Brooklyn chapter in 2013: Rabbis Tzvi Mandel, Akiva Stolper, Meir Borovetz, Yochanan Ivry, Sholom Rizel and Shmaya Modes.


Rabbi Tzvi Mandel has served as a pulpit rabbi, mashgiach and pastoral counselor. He is currently employed by the OU and is manhig ruchani of Khal Bnei Yisroel in Brooklyn.

Rabbi Akiva Stolper was the rav of Congregation Ohr Chaim in Miami Beach for over 13 years. He is also the vice president of the Dovid Dov Foundation. He is currently employed at both Article 16 Clinic at Harmony services and CHE psychological services.

Rabbi Meir Borovetz works for Women’s League Community Residences as a life skills coach. He is a member of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC) and serves as convenor/president of the Kingsbrook Brooklyn Chapter. He can be reached by e-mail at: [email protected].

Rabbi Yochanan Ivry is a pastoral counselor at Metropolitan Jewish Hospice and Palliative Care in Brooklyn and Queens. He is also rav of Congregation Toras Emes of Staten Island. He and his wife run a Talmud Torah Hebrew school, daycare and day camp.

Rabbi Shlomo Rizel serves as a chaplain for the Metropolitan Transit Authority. He also serves as director of student activities at Yeshiva Ohr Eliezer.

Rabbi Shmaya Modes serves as rosh yeshiva for troubled children and serves as a dayan for the National Council of Young Israel.

About the professor/advisor: The Rev. Dr. Cesar Espineda, Ph.D., is the diplomatic training supervisor in the science, art and practice of clinical, pastoral and spiritual education (CPSE) at Kingsbroo. Currently, he is director of pastoral-spiritual care at Nemours/Alfred I Dupont Hospital for children in Wilmington, Del., as well as the diplomate–training supervisor of the CPSE internship program. The reverend has mentored and supervised the works of over 20 rabbis in Brooklyn and beyond.

In early September, the fifth group of rabbis will begin their unit of CPSE with the assistance of Rabbi Dr. Hillel Fox, DDS, a fellow in the Supervisory Clinical Education and Formation (FSEF) and the tutelage of Reverend Espineda.

At present, the reverend is assisting six rabbis to get their board certification as clinical chaplain and pastoral counselor. He can be reached at [email protected] or 917-488-5285.

The members of the Kingsbrook Brooklyn chapter plan to pursue certification from the College of Pastoral Studies and Psychotherapy (CPSP), Accreditation and Certification Community for Integrative Service (ACCIS) and the Rabbinical Alliance of America (Igud Harabbonim).


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Rabbi Yaakov Klass is Rav of K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush; Torah Editor of The Jewish Press; and Presidium Chairman, Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim.