Rabbi Miriam Berkowitz

Rabbi Miriam (Carey Knight) Berkowitz, a native Montrealer, received a B.A. in International Relations from Harvard University and an M.A. and rabbinic ordination from the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem in 1998.  As assistant rabbi at Park Avenue Synagogue (1998-2001), she founded the Bikkur Holim Group and brought her pastoral approach to hospital visits and lifecycle events.  Her chaplaincy experience began with an internship in Clinical Pastoral Education (C.P.E.) at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York in 1997 in an interfaith program for clergy students.

She expanded her chaplaincy skills to the Israeli milieu at the Schechter Institute with practical work at the French Hospital in Jerusalem in 2010 in Oncology and Chronic Care Departments where she worked for five years before devoting her time to managing Kashouvot, mentoring its staff, and advancing chaplaincy education in Israel.

She continued her pastoral training with three years of ongoing learning with the Pastoral Care Center at the Jewish Theological Seminary and one summer at Hebrew Senior Life in Boston, a course initiated by Kashouvot to bring Israeli and American chaplains together to specialize in end of life care.  She was one of the first Israelis to be certified as an Israeli spiritual caregiver, and one of the only Israelis to receive US level accreditation as well by the NAJC (Neshama Association of Jewish Chaplains).

A published author, her articles on Moses and Kubler Ross was  published in the Journal of Pastoral Care and the Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine.

She co-founded Kashouvot with Rabbi Valerie Stessin in 2010 to place spiritual caregivers in healthcare settings, educate the general public about the role of chaplaincy, and advance the professionalization and recognition of the field.  She currently directs Kashouvot’s pastoral services, staff development, and institutional advancement.

Miriam is a member and the Israel representative of the N.A.J.C, the Neshama Association of Jewish Chaplains and of the Spiritual Care Association's international chaplaincy network. She is also a member of Tmicha, the organization for palliative care in Israel.  She is an active member of Israel’s Spiritual Care Network and offers private pastoral care in Hebrew, English, Russian and French.

Her rabbinic experience includes serving on the Committee for Jewish Law and Standards (2006-2016) and writing the book Taking the Plunge: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to the Mikveh."


Tova Avihai-Kremer

 Tova provides monthly supervision, ongoing education and staff development for Kashouvot's chaplains and teaches for our Education and Outreach program in hospitals and other settings.  She is studying to be an Israeli educator of pastoral care, which will allow Kashouvot to teach the next generation of Israeli spiritual caregivers and expand our impact and position as a leader in the field.

Tova has degrees from the Hebrew University (BA, Bible and Jewish Thought) and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (MA, Jewish Education). She was a Fellow of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership and holds a certificate in Clinical Pastoral Care.

She was principal of the Keshet School, a mixed religious-secular in Jerusalem from 2000-2012.  Prior to that, she served as principal of the mixed religious-secular community and school at Kfar  Adumim.

Nine years ago, Tova completed training in spiritual care at ‘B’ruah’ and has engaged since then in individual spiritual care in home contexts.  She went beyond the Israeli requirements and studied pastoral care at Hebrew Senior Life, Boston and long distance through the Jewish Theological Seminary.  This spring she will do supervisory training in person at JTS with Rabbi Mychal Springer.

As a complement to her role with Kashouvot, she currently works with victims of terror via the Israel Trauma Coalition and is involved in HUC interfaith seminars for "healing hatred through spirit."  She has been teaching the tools of spiritual care in a broad variety of courses for professionals, lay leaders of Jewish renewal congregations, and for parents of children with special needs.

Tova is a member and past chairperson of Kehillat Yedidya, a liberal-orthodox community in Jerusalem which is deeply committed to encouraging the extensive participation of women within the community in both prayer and in leadership.

Tova is a respected educator and wise and compassionate leader and is an asset to Kashouvot's team.


Dina Herz

Dina Herz


Dina Herz was born in the German speaking part of Switzerland, made aliyah in 1983 and spent time in Boston and Toronto.  For the last 25 years, she has worked as a freelance interpreter in German, Hebrew and English, accompanying German dignitaries and heads of state during visits to Israel and Israeli officials, including the Prime Minister, traveling to Germany.

In 2011, Dina decided to explore her lifelong passion of working with closely with people in times of illness, and enrolled in the recently opened “Marpeh” program in spiritual care at the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem.  In 2013, following the completion of her training and recognition as a Certified Spiritual Care Provider in Israel, Dina continued learning with Rabbi Mychal Springer in the Jewish Theological Seminary long distance advanced chaplaincy course, and attends many conferences to enrich her pastoral skills and expand Kashouvot’s network.  Dina began working at the Misgav Ladach Hospital in Jerusalem—an institution for the elderly with additional medical needs—working with its residents and their families, and the hospital staff, as well as supervising volunteers and spiritual care providers in training (through Tishkofet-now called Gisha Lehaim).

In September 2015 Dina began working as a spiritual care provider for Kashouvot at the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at Hadassah Ein Karem, Jerusalem, where she supports patients and their families during the transplant process, including accompanying them on their last journey towards death in cases when treatments were not successful, and continuing the post-transplant process with presence at the day clinic.

Dina offers pastoral care in Hebrew, German and English and French with a unique combination of energy, humor and sensitivity.

She also teaches groups of medical professionals about pastoral care and is enrolled in a two-year course at the Schechter Institute to become a supervisor/ teacher of chaplaincy students.  Dina is an asset to Kashouvot’s team and a visible presence at Hadassah.

Raya Tsalyuk

Raya is a native of Lugansk, Ukraine, and a graduate of Zimratya’s culturally sensitive, spiritual support course for Russian speakers. Her earlier career was as a computer programmer and teacher, followed by training in holistic healing and aromatherapy.

Raya is a certified Israeli spiritual care provider, and has worked in various nursing home settings including Seiva Tova and Idan HaZahav in Jerusalem.  She has answered a hotline for people in crisis at Tishkofet and makes home visits to people with terminal illness. She  brings all of her skills to her position as Kashouvot's second most senior chaplain: meeting with individuals at Bet Alicia Nursing Home in Katamon and leading monthly musical services of worship and learning, with Saralee Shrell-Fox, at Bet Alicia.  She is also available for home visits and referrals in the Jerusalem area as part of our home hospice and home visits program.

Rabbi Annabelle Herciger-Tenzer

 Annabelle was born in Antwerp, Belgium to parents who were Holocaust survivors.

 In Belgium she studied at the Antwerp Teacher's College and made aliyah in 1980.  She worked as a  teacher in formal and  informal education and in Israel  became a certified tour guide.  She currently is still working as a guide on a freelance basis.

 Annabelle completed a Master’s Degree in Israel Studies and Bible Studies.  At the same time Annabelle's mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away without any kind of spiritual support.  This missed opportunity encouraged Annabelle to start Rabbinical Studies at the Schechter Institute and to specialize in chaplaincy.

In 2014 Annabelle was ordained as a conservative rabbi and in the same year was certified as a spiritual caregiver.  She did her  internships at Idan Hazahav nursing home in Jerusalem and Asaf Harofe hospital in Rehovot.  She worked for two years for  Kashouvot at the St. Louis French Hospital and is now starting the chaplaincy presence at the neurology department at Hadassah Ein Karem.

Annabelle tries to care for every person regardless of gender, religious or ideological preferences.  She believes that the main tasks of the spiritual caregiver are to  help each patient  find what gives meaning to life and to enhance the areas that can help them cope. The spiritual caregiver can frame the process of dying so that death is seen as an integral part of the life cycle.

Annabelle speaks basic Arabic and provides Pastoral Care in Hebrew, French, English, German, Yiddish, Flemish, Indonesian and Spanish.  Her warm manner and her experience as a guide and familiarity with the beliefs and rituals of many cultures make her a wonderful emissary for pastoral care and for Judaism.

Rabbanit Aliza Pilichowski

 Rabbanit Aliza Pilichowski is an experienced caregiver, with years of experience helping the sick  and homebound.  Her sincere passion to help others and her sympathetic disposition are what first  launched her in the direction of professional chaplain.  Aliza’s formal education includes high level  Torah learning and training in CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) with VITAS hospice services in  Florida.  Aliza’s professional background is extensive.  She worked in formal and informal Jewish education in Los Angeles, CA and Boca Raton, FL.  She functioned as a rebbetzin in her  communities where she taught, helped in shiva homes, and cared for the sick and homebound.   Aliza continued to serve her community at Bikur Cholim of Southern Palm Beach County, where she helped maintain and educate staff, patients, and families on spiritual care, specifically, end of life care.  As a true interfaith chaplain, Aliza meets every patient and family where they are without judgment and with love. Aliza made aliyah from Boca Raton in 2014 and lives in Mitzpeh Yericho.  She is excited to be a part of the future of Kashouvot and its holistic approach to medicine, both as a teacher in the education and outreach program and as a chaplain in the Greater Jerusalem area.

Aliza provides Pastoral Care in English and Hebrew at the Hod Yerushalayim nursing home and the St. Louis French Hospital.

Rabbi Tuvia Yosef Lavit

 Tuvia Yosef Lavit (Gary Joseph Lavit) received his education in hospital ministry and medical  ethics at Yale University Divinity School and the Hospital of Saint Raphael, in New Haven,  Connecticut.  In 1983, he achieved his Sacred Theology Master degree with a thesis on Truth  Telling to the Terminally Ill Patient.  He also holds degrees, in Jewish Philosophy and in  History, from Yeshiva University.

For over 30 years, Lavit served as Chaplain and Director of Pastoral Care at the Hebrew Home  & Hospital, in West Hartford, Connecticut, where he founded and chaired the Ethics Committee and served as the institution’s first Hospice Chaplain.  During that time, he also served as a part time chaplain at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford, tending to surgical and medical patients in Intensive Care and in the step-down units.  He was an active member of the St. Francis Hospital Ethics Committee for over 20 years.   He retired in May 2014, in order to plan his aliyah, settling in Jerusalem in 2015.

Gary Tuvia Yosef Lavit (Gary J. Lavit) is Board Certified in the United States by both the Association of Professional Chaplains and Neshama/National Association of Jewish Chaplains.  He brings his wealth of knowledge and experience to Bet Moses, a multi-level geriatric center in Jerusalem, and mentors rabbinical students and new chaplains.



Saralee Shrell-Fox

unnamedSaralee hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota and has lived in Jerusalem for 20 years.  She completed her B.S. degree in Hebrew Education from the University of Minnesota and her M.S. degree in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.  In 2007, she received an honorary PhD from the Jewish Theological Seminary.  Saralee has directed Hebrew Schools, Congregation Family programs, Music Programs, as well as private Day Care. Saralee’s real passion has always been hazanut and Israeli music.  With her guitar playing and harmony skills, she leads davening at various synagogues in Jerusalem, has been the High Holiday Cantor for a Congregation in Boston for 9 years and has composed a number of melodies for T’fillot.  Saralee teaches nusach and t’amei haMikra to Rabbinical and B’nai/B’not Mitzvah students, has recorded 2 albums and performs for Israeli evening sing-a-longs (erev shira). Saralee resides in East Talpiot with her husband, Rabbi Dr. Paul Shrell-Fox and their 5 children: Ilana, Maayan, Ayala, Einat and Itai.  The residents of Bet Moses look forward to the monthly services she leads in Hebrew and Russian with Raya Tsalyuk, exploring themes of the holidays and giving expression to their hopes, fears, dreams and experience of ageing.


We have a roster of on-call chaplains in the North, Centre and Jerusalem area for home visits and are happy to place them in medical settings when the right match of funding, interested place and staff can be found.