Jewish Family Services (JFS) of Northeastern New York, in partnership with Daughters of Sarah Community for Seniors, Temple Israel and the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, is delighted to bring Rabbi Amiel Monson (who prefers to go by ‘Rabbi Ami’) to the Capital Region. Rabbi Ami will provide spiritual connection and support for residents in independent and long-term care facilities, and pastoral care and bereavement support for the community at large. Rabbi Ami is stepping into the role that for nearly 25 years was served by Rabbi Beverly Magidson.
“I am excited to join the Capital Region community as the new Community Chaplain, and I am honored to continue the program whose foundation was created by Rabbi Bev. I have deep respect for her mentorship as I become familiar with the role. I thank Jewish Family Services, Daughters of Sarah, the Jewish Federation, and Temple Israel for helping ensure this incredible program continues and that I am able to provide services, support, and pastoral care to residents of the greater Albany Jewish community,” said Rabbi Ami Monson.
Originally from Philadelphia, Rabbi Ami spent the last seven years on the West Coast in a range of positions including spiritual support and counseling for elder residents at Los Angeles Jewish Home and The Nest (Los Angeles, CA) and Youth Director at Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA). His work with older adults was pivotal in his realization of being called to work with the aging population as a rabbi. Rabbi Ami graduated from the University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA) with a BA in Comparative Religion and a certificate in Jewish Studies. He went on to achieve three master’s degrees from Gratz College (Elkins Park, PA) — in Jewish Education, Jewish Communal Service, and Jewish Studies. He graduated The Academy for Jewish Religion (California) and was recently ordained. He follows generations of family rabbis, including his father, and maternal grandfather, who served at Temple Beth El in Troy in the 1940’s, and great grandfather.
Jane Ginsburg, President & CEO of Jewish Family Services, said, “When I learned that Rabbi Ami Monson was looking for a fulfilling opportunity, I was delighted. Ami and I met in college and connected through Hillel – Ami was the guy that everyone knew and everyone liked, and most importantly, he liked everyone back. Though we were only in touch via Facebook, it was clear that he not only hadn’t changed, but he’d also only expanded his networks and used his special gift of making someone feel seen and heard daily. I’m thrilled he, likewise, saw the value in this role and had the faith in us to move his young family across the country to join us as JFS and at Daughters.”
“For the last 2+ decades, Rabbi Bev has provided essential nurturing and healing pastoral care to our seniors living in nursing and assisted living facilities. She has done so with love and dedication, enhancing the lives of our loved ones. As Jewish Federation hands off this program to Jewish Family Services, we wish Rabbi Bev well in her retirement and warmly welcome Rabbi Ami to our community and wish him every success,” said Rob Kovach, President & CEO of Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York.
Rabbi Bev Magidson, who served as Community Chaplain for 25 years, said, “Jewish residents of independent and long-term care facilities (whether they are skilled nursing or assisted living facilities) may be the only Jewish resident or part of a very small group. They may be isolated by unit or floor. Chaplaincy Services brings Jewish cultural and religious practices to these residents, with familiar foods, music, or prayers. The program also sends regular newsletters to help activities directors infuse Yiddishkeit to the programs and in honor of the Jewish holidays. Through the chaplain’s outreach residents know that their community cares about them!!”
“We are thrilled to have Rabbi Ami join the Daughters of Sarah Community for Seniors. Our chaplaincy services form a critical element of our mission to provide to the aged members of our community ‘excellent health care and social service care Jewishly,’ Guided and informed by our exceptional Jewish heritage, we expect that Ami will continue to strengthen that Jewish operational focus — a focus the remains unique to Daughters of Sarah,” said Mark Koblenz Chief Executive Officer for Daughters of Sarah Community for Seniors.
“Temple Israel is proud to stand with our community partners to help bring Rabbi Ami to the community. We know that Rabbi Ami will be a true asset for the entire Albany Jewish Community, and we are proud to step up and help ensure our community and region benefit from his experience and pastoral care,” said Gary Ginsburg, President at Temple Israel.
This Chaplaincy program under Jewish Family Services is provided in partnership with Daughters of Sarah Community for Seniors, Temple Israel, Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, B’nai B’rith Gideon Foundation and the Theodore Strauss Fund (A restricted fund of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York). In addition to working in long-term care facilities, Rabbi Ami will provide grief and loss support as needed and as appropriate throughout the community, and will be a key asset to the JFS team to ground the agency’s activities in the Jewish values of its foundation.