Letters to the Editor | July 20, 2023


Pointing Out How Chaplains Help

Thank you, Lisa Traiger for the feature on Rabbi Jim Michaels (“Ethan the Therapy Rabbit Brings Calm to Hospice Patients,” July 6), and his chaplaincy work in our community.

Michaels is a venerated leader in this field and has been a mentor to many of us in the D.C. area. He is a skilled and genuinely caring chaplain; we are fortunate to have him in our midst.

The WJW printed a lovely profile of one of our JSSA hospice volunteers but did not mention that Michaels is part of the Jewish community chaplaincy team at JSSA. While our hospice employs a wonderful group of interdenominational chaplains who care for the dying and their families, we also provide chaplaincy service in the Jewish community for people across the life span.

As mental health demands continue to grow and the pool of mental health practitioners struggles to keep up with that demand, chaplains can provide essential support from a different perspective, in a different modality than more conventional forms of therapeutic healing. JSSA is committed to supporting the community in the best ways possible; we’re blessed to have a group of devoted chaplains on our staff to help realize this goal.
Rabbi Rachel Hersh,
Director of Jewish Enrichment & Engagement, JSSA


The Jewish Candidate Quandary

While it is clear that a Jewish candidate for national office can expect problems, not just for the candidacy, Dan Schnur ends his opinion piece (“A Future Jewish President?”, July 6) with an error. In fact, no Jewish candidate would need to confront questions about his religious beliefs.

Jewish candidates cannot speak to a gathering of non-Jews to assure them, as Kennedy could, that their religion will not interfere with adherence to the Constitution and not, say, the Torah. Antisemitism is not based on tenets of Judaism. Nazis and other antisemites do not hate Judaism. They hate Jews.
Sarah Shapiro, Washington, D.C.

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