Term started early for the Chaplains as University Jewish Chaplaincy was back on campus at the Hillel house in Birmingham focusing attentions on their Chaplains’ own training and leadership! Chaplains from around the UK spent five days on a training seminar receiving expert support and professional training, in order to get ready for the new academic year on campus.
Chaplaincy is a national charitable organisation that provides personal and group support to all Jewish students in 12 different regions on 100 campuses throughout the UK. A total of 18 Chaplains, including six Chaplaincy couples, exchanged experiences on campus, including on programming, diversity and supporting students with mental health issues.
Helena Cowen, a renowned psychotherapist provided expertise on supporting students with a range of mental health issues that frequently occur on campus, including eating disorders, depression and self harm. There were several peer-led sessions, including serving students during the uniquely busy High Holiday periods which fall during term time, by facilitating services and representing students to faculty; marketing and PR techniques; and sharing best practice on supporting student wellbeing with important and topical issues such as LGBT diversity and antisemitism
Chief Executive Officer Rabbi Dr Harvey Belovski and Chief Operating Officer Sophie Dunoff also took several sessions. New Chaplains, Rabbi Mordechai Zeller and Lea Taragin-Zeller (Cambridge) and Dan and Laura Gigi (Nottingham) were welcomed and made an immediate impact: Rabbi Zeller, a psychologist, shared his expertise with his peers, and Rabbi Gigi conducted a mindfulness session. Rebbetzins Taragin-Zeller and Gigi delivered extremely thought provoking talks over Shabbat.
Sophie Dunoff, Chaplaincy Chief Operating Officer, said: “These training days have enabled our twenty-plus staff members to improve and develop our unique vision and methods. We are particularly delighted to welcome two new couples, the Zellers and Gigis who will, we are sure, inspire students in Cambridge and Nottingham.
“As a national charity, we empower our Chaplains to respond to the unique challenges of all students in each of our 12 regions, while ensuring that our core mission - to build student communities, inspire and protect Jewish students - is universally applied.”