Rabbi Jonathan Rudnick is passionate about helping people. As the Jewish Community Chaplain, Rabbi Rudnick reaches out to individuals and families coping with on-going health and healing concerns and urgent crises by offering spiritual resources.
“I have the privilege of being on the front line of bringing the Jewish community and our traditions as significant healing resources to people and their lives,” the rabbi said
Every day Rabbi Rudnick reaches out to those in need, providing care and comfort. To fulfill this mission, he works closely with other community rabbis, clergy of other faith traditions, and chaplains at area healthcare institutions to provide support for people facing life’s challenges. The rabbi plays an integral role in the mission of JFS to help those in need.
Rabbi Rudnick is no stranger to JFS. Born and raised in Kansas City, Rabbi Rudnick first worked at JFS after graduating from Claremont McKenna College. He then worked as a resettlement specialist with Jewish families from the Former Soviet Union.
“I loved that hands-on work with clients and getting to know them and help them,” he said. His love for that work took the rabbi to the Ukraine working for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in property reclamation and special projects. He traveled often between the Former Soviet Union and Israel.
Wanting to further his Jewish education, the rabbi returned to Israel to take a fellowship in education and policy at the Mandel School for Educational Leadership in Jerusalem, followed by rabbinical school at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies.
Rabbi Rudnick also holds a diploma in International and Comparative Law of Human Rights from University of Strassbourg in France, a master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University and a master of arts degree in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University.
Ordained in 2004, Rabbi Rudnick said his rabbinic studies led him to the spiritual wellness field. “They (visiting rabbinical students from North America) were talking about chaplaincy and I was fascinated,” Rabbi Rudnick said. “It struck my heart in feeling connected.”
Through his Kansas City family, the rabbi learned about Kansas City’s Community Chaplaincy program – housed at JFS – and he returned once again to do a summer internship with the first JFS chaplain, Rabbi Nathan Goldberg.
“I planned to take it back to start a chaplaincy program in Israel,” said the rabbi, and he did. However, wanting to be closer to his family, Rabbi Rudnick seized the opportunity to return to Kansas City – and JFS – when the chaplaincy position opened in 2006. Rabbi Rudnick loves the work he does.
“I’m out in the community a lot and connecting with people going through challenges,” he said. “I love and appreciate interfacing with the healthcare community in Kansas City, which is so grateful to have a central resource to turn to. They recognize the deep commitment to providing sensitive, respectful spiritual care to their patients.”
To learn more about the chaplaincy program, contact Rabbi Rudnick at (913) 915-7730.