Jonathan Rudnick’s background in Jewish communal work as well as his activity in the professional realm of pastoral care (chaplaincy), have prepared him well for serving as a Jewish community chaplain in Kansas City.
Jonathan grew up in Kansas City, very connected to and involved with a wide variety of Jewish communal institutions. He attended the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy through 8th grade and is a graduate of The Barstow School. His undergraduate degree is from Claremont McKenna College. As a young adult, having returned from a year of public service following college, Jonathan joined the staff of Jewish Family and Children’s Services as a resettlement specialist, working on behalf of the Jewish community with new immigrants from the Former Soviet Union and Iran.
While studying in rabbinical school (ordained by The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem), Jonathan was introduced to the existence of the field of chaplaincy outside of Israel and became determined to explore the potential of this professional field of spiritual care to become part of healthcare in Israel (where it hardly exists). As a fellow in the RIKMA Program for spiritual community leadership development, he began to focus on the area of spiritual care (chaplaincy) as a niche for spiritual community development. Following a training course in pastoral care (Clinical Pastoral Education) in Kansas City, Jonathan returned to Israel to begin to implement his vision of spiritual care in the Israeli healthcare system, as part of his broader vision of communal life. After volunteering as the chaplain in the Oncology Department of Shaare Zedek Medical Center for more than a year, Jonathan officially started (with the generous support of the UJA – NY Federation) B’Ruach, a new program in spiritual care and training in Israel. He was the first professional spiritual caregiver (chaplain) to take on such a role in an Israeli hospital, and this pioneering program has been very well received over the years. Board-certified by NAJC, Jonathan is an ACPE Supervisory Candidate.
Jonathan has brought his love of music and song to his work as a spiritual caregiver, with experience in creating and facilitating healing prayer services. He has been mentored invaluably by Rabbi Simkha Weintraub (of the National Center for Jewish Healing in NY), including learning about the model of spiritual support groups, as well as by Reverend James Harper III (of Research Medical Center in KC, HCA). In his role as community chaplain, he interfaces with the healthcare community throughout the Greater Kansas City area.
Jonathan moved to Israel in 1994, living in Jerusalem and building a family. In 2006 personal family reasons brought them back to Kansas City, where Jonathan has the privilege of serving as a Jewish community chaplain, based at Jewish Family Services. He is the blessed father of Sagi, Shirel, and Shefer.