A pioneering joint mental health counseling program offered to students in Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary in conjunction with the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology recently celebrated the graduation of its first cohort. At a ceremony last month on the Wilf Campus, eight smicha students, including Yitz Richmond and Israel Apfel, both of Teaneck, received their certificates of completion.
“The RIETS/Ferkauf program for a certificate in mental health counseling will be transformative for the Orthodox rabbinate,” said Rabbi Neal Turk, director of the RIETS mental health counseling program. “The students are gaining a broader and deeper understanding of psychological issues which will make them rabbis better equipped to counsel people who are going through all kinds of life crises. The counseling aspect of rabbinic work has become an essential component of what a rabbi does. The students have invested time and effort which will make them better rabbis and pastoral counselors.”