For I shall yet have faith in mankind
In its spirit great and bold

S. Tchernichovsky

ברוח ליווי רוחני

BySpirit (Beruach) was founded in 2004,as part of the support services (palliative care) unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. The program trains spiritual caregivers, and then works to integrate them into the various healthcare institutions and nursing homes throughout Israel. Our vision is to assist all people in connecting to, and finding comfort in, their inner spiritual world, in times of turmoil and crisis.

In 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized spiritual care as integral to the provision of medical treatment. Sixteen years ago, when we just started out, we had two spiritual caregivers working in the oncology division at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, and launched the first nationwide course for professional training of spiritual caregivers.

Since then – the program has grown and developed but its essence still essentially remains, the spiritual care of patients and their families. The Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem and the BySpirit (Beruach)organization were pioneers in establishing a system for provision of spiritual care in Israel and instituting professional training in this field.
Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer joined in this vision about a decade ago (2010) and now the two medical centers, together with BySpirit (Beruach),are joining forces to realize the ultimate goal: Ensuring that spiritual care, given by professionally trained individuals, will be available for every patient in Israel who needs it.

Accompaniment: Accompanying Another on Their Journey

Even-Shoshan Dictionary

Throughout every person’s life, there are times of ease and routine, and times of transition and challenge. Some of these periods of upheaval, are associated with severe health problems, and some are associated with natural growth, adulthood and aging, as is the way of the world.

Spiritual caregiving in times of unstable health or old age, is intended to afford the person a time-out in the midst of the turmoil – a breathing space as it were, between the body and the physical reality it finds itself in, a reality that often contains difficult elements that cannot be changed or put right.

Precisely then, when a person finds themselves suddenly removed from their routine life, comes the offer to pause a moment, and attend to the personal spiritual resources that will be needed along the way.

Spiritual caregivers meet with patients and their families, to talk about what is difficult in the here and now, the fears and prayers and what makes it possible to dream and hope, all whilst remaining fully respectful of personal belief systems, values and worldview.

Program Components

Spiritual Caregiving in medical centers

Spiritual caregivers work in the following medical centers, as part of a multidisciplinary team:
Shaare Zedek – Oncology Day Care; Hematology Oncology; Geriatrics; Pediatric Palliative Unit. Additionally, they will respond to all requests from the hospital at large.
Sheba Medical Center – Oncology Department; Hospice; Orthopedic Rehabilitation; Geriatric Rehabilitation; Palliative Unit

This also includes individual and group sessions for the caregivers that are funded by the hospitals.

Training Courses

In our hospitals we meet a microcosm of Israeli society. Our goal is to train spiritual caregivers who also come from this wide range of cultures. Course participants will experience working with patients from all walks of life and all sectors of the population. While on the course, their personal exchanges, communal study and discussion between course members throughout the day, serve as good preparation for the encounters with men and women they will have and accompany in their practical work.

Two full years of study enables participants to accumulate the required hours, both of theoretical study and practical work, in order to receive certification from the Association for Spiritual Care in Israel.

Practical Work Experience

The BySpirit (Beruach) Core Training

Students on the core training course, are part of the spiritual caregiver’s team, and work in the support services care unit, together with the multidisciplinary professional team treating the patient. Every day of practical work experience includes one hour of personal instruction.


Theoretical background; Terminology and language; Connecting to the culture

Exploring both ancient and modern Hebrew sources; Studying literary and philosophical sources from different cultures; Reading professional articles and meeting with staff colleagues (doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists and others).


Reflecting on the learning process and commencing work

Transcription (verbatim), sharing and group support, personal tutoring sessions, writing a personal journal of the experience, mutual feedback and personal assignments.


Delving deeper and learning the different methods of spiritual caregiving

Such as: Listening, imagining, regular prayer and personal prayer, singing, playing an instrument, breathing, testament of a life story, reading and studying together and going out into nature.


Upon completing their training, students are invited to join the community of Alumni. We attach great importance to further accompanying our caregivers on their career path, to providing them with enrichment programs, continued professional training, a personal contactand the opportunity to be part of a professional community.

TheAlumni meet ups provide an opportunity to discuss professional questions that arise in practice, share personal stories, deal with questions related to burnout and secondary trauma and practice enriching and mind enhancingexercises.Thesemeetings also enable students to hear Alumni experiences and to createinterpersonal collaborations with them. In addition, we also hold an annual retreat.

These activities are intended for all graduates, all active spiritual caregivers andall those who wish to apply theirtrainingin spiritual guidance in creative and varied ways to other areas of their life.


Over the years, we have initiated, accompanied and established spiritual guidance programs atvarious institutions and organizations in Israel:
The Rambam Healthcare Campus; the Integrated Oncology Medical Service at Lin and Carmel; Laniado Hospital; Galilee Medical Center-Nahariya; Emek Medical Center (program temporarily on hold for lack of funding); Mul Carmel Nursing Home on Kibbutz Shaar Haamakim.

Part of the challenge in Placement, is to assist the receiving hospital in preparing for the entry of this new paramedical professional into an existing multidisciplinary team. It is our job to guide all concerned through this integration process.

Additionally, we have served as professional consultants and participated in instructing and accompanying projects:
Parents Accompanying Parents – Kesher – Connecting Special Families; Spiritual Caregiving in Nursing Homes – Joint Eshel; Spiritual Caregiving for Families Experiencing Sudden Loss and Bereavement –a collaboration between the Ministry of Welfare and Joint Ashalim.

In contrast to our early years of activity, when we needed to invest major efforts in introducing spiritual caregiving as a significant contributor in the overall multidisciplinary medical care of a patient, today, due to meaningful collaboration with senior officials in the healthcare system, our challenge is mainly financial.

Along with the recognition by many in the healthcare system, of the importance of spiritual caregiving as integral to full healing (a Refuah Shleima), funding has not yet been allocated for dedicated work positions. Therefore, establishing and developing a comprehensive Placement program is an essential objective in ensuring continuity of our activities and will allow our Graduates to integrate into the workforce and influence the character of healthcare institutes and old age homes in Israel.


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BySpirit (Beruach) – Spiritual Support and Training
For Bank Transfers:   Bank Leumi
Branch Number: 647
Account Number: 18187/50
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 3546, Jerusalem 91035, Israel

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Design: Naama Mushkin | Development: Tal Hatucka

Illustration from the Israel Bird Guide

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