Doing ‘God’s Work’


When Rabbi Dr. Tvsi Schur is feeling overwhelmed, he remembers the words a rabbi in Israel once said to him: “You’re doing God’s work.”

It’s hard to argue with the rabbi’s assessment. After all, Rabbi Schur is a chaplain at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and he spends his long days comforting people when they’re at their most vulnerable. As you’ll read in Connor Graham’s cover story this week, he’s just one of many Jewish chaplains who serve as spiritual leaders in hospitals and institutions all over the area.

The passion and dedication Connor observed in his time shadowing Rabbi Schur, along with his conversations with other chaplains, makes it hard to imagine these rabbis doing anything else, though none of them got ordained to be chaplains. Schur, for instance, began his career in the pulpit, but became a chaplain part-time to make some extra money. Turns out, it was his calling.

Now, the 71-year-old, who suffered a stroke four years ago, walks a mile or more of hospital hallways with a walker each day, carrying a bag full of prayer books and Beanie Babies and other stuffed animals with yarmulkes sewed on their heads. He jokes with the patients that he’s a Jewish Santa Claus.

You’ll read similar stories of other rabbis who found their way to chaplaincy and got immersed in the one-on-one counseling that gives them the opportunity to know — and help — patients quickly and profoundly.

Elsewhere in the community, seniors got a chance to talk health care with U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) and Democratic District 41 state Dels. Sandy Rosenberg and Angela Gibson, although the speakers didn’t have all the answers the audience hoped for. As you’ll read in Susan C. Ingram’s story about the event, questions from those at the town hall-style meeting centered on the rising costs of premiums and medical care — valid concerns from an aging population. But the Democrats couldn’t say where it’s all going, though they shared some reassuring information on Maryland’s safeguards against a possible ACA repeal.

If you’re in the mood for something heartwarming, Erica Rimlinger’s monthly Beshert column chronicles a beautiful love story with a proposal complicated by a blizzard. It has a happy romantic ending, though.



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