Rabbi Valerie Stessin

Valerie is the current director of Kashouvot. A native of France, Valerie earned a BA from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, majoring in Special Education and Jewish Philosophy and received a teaching degree from the Kerem Institute. Valerie studied at the Schechter Institute, earned two M.A. degrees and had the honor to be the first woman ordained by the Masorti movement in Israel, in 1993. She has been involved in Spiritual Care in Israel since its beginnings and is dedicated to advancing this area. 

Spiritual Care Education

In 2008, Valerie studied Clinical Pastoral Education (C.P.E.) in the best programs in Israel and in the United States:  

2008-2009: Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies with Rabbi Zahara Davidowiz-Farkas

2010: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey with Rev. John DeVelder

2011-2013: Jewish Theological Seminary in New York with Rabbi Michal Springer

2014: Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston with Rev. Mary Martha Thiel

Valerie was certified by the NAJC – Neshama organization of Jewish Chaplains and the Israeli Association for Spiritual Care.

2019: Schwartz Center for Health and Spirituality, Educator’s course with Dr. Rabbi Alan Abrams

During this period, Valerie worked as a chaplain at various hospitals and geriatric centers: Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital in the hematology day care and the rehabilitation departments, Hadassah Ein Karem in the Bone Marrow transplant department, the French Hospital in Palliative care, Hod Yerushalayim nursing home, Yehud and Ness Ziona day-care for the elderly and more.

She served on the board of the Association for Spiritual Care in Israel and of Tmicha, the organization for palliative care in Israel. She is a member of the N.A.J.C, the National Association of Jewish Chaplains. Valerie speaks Hebrew, French, English and some Russian.


Tova Avihai-Kremer 

Tova teaches for our Education and Outreach program in hospitals and other settings.  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. 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.  She trained as an Israeli spiritual care educator at the Schwartz Center for Health and Spirituality. Tova 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. She was certified as an Israeli Spiritual Caregiver and trained at Rambam hospital as a pediatric chaplain. Tova completed the course for Educators at the Schwartz Center for Health and Spirituality.

Tova was principal of the Keshet School, a mixed religious-secular in Jerusalem from 2000-2012 and of the mixed religious-secular school at Kfar  Adumim. Tova is a 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. She is a respected educator and wise and compassionate leader and an asset to Kashouvot’s team.

Rabbi Annabelle Herciger-Tenzer

Annabelle works as a chaplain since 2017 at the neurology department at Hadassah Ein Karem and worked before for two years at the St. Louis French Hospital. She is writing a doctorate in Spiritual Care at Ben Gurion University. She 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 and became a certified tour guide in Israel. 

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 received her Spiritual Care training at the Schechter Institutes for Jewish Studies. She did her internships at Idan Hazahav nursing home in Jerusalem and Asaf Harofe hospital in Rehovot. Annabelle speaks fluent Hebrew, French, English, German, Yiddish, Dutch, Indonesian, Italian, Spanish and basic Arabic.  Her warm manner, her experience as an educator and a guide and familiarity with the beliefs and rituals of many cultures make her a wonderful emissary for spiritual care.

Aliza Pilichowski 

Aliza is the chaplain at the French Hospital Saint Louis since 2017. She 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 education includes high level Torah learning and training in CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) with VITAS hospice services in Florida and with the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. She was certified as an Israeli chaplain in 2019. Aliza’s professional background is extensive.  She worked in 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.  Aliza made aliyah 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.

Hila Eshar

In preparation


Rut Shalev

In preparation

Aidie Shaham

In preparation

Yael Israel  

In preparation

Orian Lugasi-Zaken

In preparation

Rabbi Miriam Berkowitz

Miriam and Valerie founded the Kashouvot non-for profit and run it together from 2010. In 2015, Valerie began to work with the Schwartz Center for Health and Spirituality and specialized in training students in CPE courses. Miriam was the devoted director of Kashouvot until 2019, when she decided to enter another professional path. In 2019, Valerie took the direction of Kashouvot and the Schwartz Center for Health and Spirituality and both non-for profits joined under the umbrella of Kashouvot.

Miriam (nee Carey Knight) received a B.A. in International Relations from Harvard University and an M.A. and rabbinic ordination from the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem.  As assistant rabbi at Park Avenue Synagogue, she founded the Bikkur Holim Group and brought her pastoral approach to hospital visits and lifecycle events.  Miriam studied Clinical Pastoral Education (C.P.E.) at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, the Schechter Institute, the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and The Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston. She was certified as an Israeli spiritual caregiver and by the NAJC-Neshama association. She wrote the book “Taking the plunge – a spiritual and practical guide to the Mikveh” and her research on Moses and Kubler Ross was published in the Journal of Pastoral Care and the Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine.