Emergency Rabbis

December 2, 2009 by J-Wire Staff
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Two Jewish chaplains have been appointed to the newly-established NSW Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network.

Rabbi Paul Jacobson, Rev Dr Stephen Robinson, Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence and Yair Miller

Rabbi Paul Jacobson, Rev Dr Stephen Robinson, Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence and Yair Miller

Established to work with the Department of Human Services (formerly known as DoCS – the Department of Community Services), the Network will be responsible for providing pastoral care following a large-scale disaster in NSW.

Rabbis Jeremy Lawrence from the Great Synagogue and the Emanuel Synagogue’s Paul Jacobson attended the inaugural two-day training course for the group in Westmead. The course was also attended by JEMP Executive Director Yair Miller as an observer.

The group currently comprises about 15 chaplains and will be expanded over the next few months.

Founded by Uniting Church Rev Dr Stephen Robinson, the Network aims to provide highly skilled chaplains to respond to major disasters anywhere in NSW when support and pastoral care for victims is required and to provide assistance for local clergy.

The need for the Network has been identified in numerous disasters around the world, where, if the pastoral care provided by local ministers was inadequate, it has exacerbated the scale of the disaster as local clergy are often personally affected in a disaster.

Miller stated: “The Network is an extremely worthwhile initiative, and the Jewish community has been very supportive of its establishment. We are fortunate to have two excellent chaplains from our community to represent us and our community’s needs.”

The Network will be activated by the Department of Human Services in times of disaster. Only recognised chaplains who have completed the training and been certified will be able to participate, and this will ensure uniformity and consistency in practice across the state.

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