Meet the New Class: Chaplain Allison Kestenbaum

With the start of the 2022-23 school year upon us, we are highlighting members of the incoming class of students. Click here to see all of the articles in this series.

Today we’re talking with incoming Rabbinic student Chaplain Allison Kestenbaum.

Photo courtesy of Chaplain Allison Kestenbaum

Q1) Where do you live?

San Diego, CA

Q2) How did you first hear of AJRCA?

I learned about AJRCA from Rabbi Rochelle Robins who been an extraordinary mentor and colleague over the years.

Q3) What was it about AJRCA that drew you to enroll here?

I am drawn to how AJRCA embraces pluralism and supports students in making rabbinical study possible while balancing other responsibilities.  I have a deep love of pastoral care and AJRCA prioritizes this important aspect of Jewish life.

Q4) What were you doing prior to enrolling?

I work full-time as a board certified Jewish chaplain and clinical pastoral educator. I’ve had the privilege of working and learning at vibrant academic medical centers like UC San Francisco, UC San Diego Health and Mount Sinai Health System. I also taught CPE and spiritual care at the Jewish Theological Seminary. I am especially passionate about providing spiritual care and conducting research in palliative care education – interprofessional, holistic care for people with serious illness should be the norm!  I enjoy reading, dancing and spending time with my family – especially outdoors.

Q5) As you embark on this experience, what are you most excited about?

While there are so many great forums for Jewish study, (especially virtually!), I’m looking forward to more cohesive Jewish learning, with a community of Jewish leaders and mentors from diverse backgrounds.

Welcome Allison!

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