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New Director of Spiritual Living Named

Posted March 10, 2021 in Press Releases

Menorah Park Names Feinstein Director of Spiritual Living

{Beachwood, OH} Rabbi Akiva Feinstein, Director of Spiritual Care and Hospice Chaplain at Montefiore has been named the Menorah Park Director of Spiritual Living.

In his new role as Senior Rabbi, he intends to walk in the footsteps of Rabbi Howard Kutner z'l, honoring the rich legacy and memory of our past spiritual leader, bringing leadership to all areas of spiritual life across the campus including religious programming, life enrichment, and kosher supervision, and in our connection to the greater Jewish community.

"Despite this being one of the most challenging times for our campus due to the pandemic, I am confident that we will be able to continue to serve the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of our residents. This is thanks to the help of a great team, a strong spirit, and a lot of hard work. I am blessed with excellent partners from an outstanding rabbinic staff including Rabbi Joseph Kirsch, kashrut supervision via Rabbi Fishbane, and a close relationship with many departments including life enrichment and social work."

"We want to carry on the history of Menorah Park, while enriching its future. Our firm commitment to Jewish life, maintaining the highest standards of kosher, continuing to offer services and activities for the Sabbath and other holidays, our daily prayer service, and more will not change. We seek to make this campus a place for the Jewish community as a whole to gather, pray, and learn together. To make everyone feel welcome is our focus, to be a center of Jewish life for our residents and community. We take the needs of our non-Jewish residents very seriously, and want to offer them more options for a deeper connected spiritual life," said Rabbi Feinstein.

"During a pandemic, we have to consider the isolation that comes with it and ask, how are we helping? It's a tricky job to be focused on the future and plan for it for when COVID is over, and at the same time, be realistic that we are still in a pandemic and that requires a very special approach right now. We've retooled our group activities and put most of our focus on individuals, their feelings, how they are coping, and how to continually maintain that connection. That for now is our greatest spiritual need. We're doing more one-on-one visits to strengthen connections, so residents are at peace and comforted with having a chaplain, or a rabbi that knows them as individuals, and cares deeply and they know will be there for them."

Every interaction is meaningful. "I can offer prayer and encouragement," he continued, "even if it's helping set up a TV or device, kindness and connection are crucial to residents, not just during a pandemic, but even more so during the pandemic. A rabbi begins his outreach with kindness, connection, and embracing another's humanity and own way of life, then listens, and helps us all to grow and build further."

"Before the pandemic, those who chose to participate in programs and services did and those who preferred not to didn't. Now, we are spending more time with both, with individualized visits. I meet them where they are, hear their key concerns of isolation, separation, and a fear of losing their connections, which can cause sadness and depression. Some may feel angry with G-d, angry at the world, and that too is understandable. I want them to know, they are not alone, and they are loved, especially by G-d, and by those who care for them at Menorah Park.We are one campus and one community, with one big heart, and it is our goal to make every moment of every day a memorable one for all of our residents. As the Director of Spiritual Living, I look forward to continuing our mission to do just that."

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