Valerie Stessin is a Conservative Rabbi, born in Paris in 1964 and lives today in Jerusalem. She is the mother of two young women, one engaged in her pre-army internship and the other finishing her army service and beginning her university studies.
Valerie grew up in a family with Ashkenazi and Sephardic roots in Perigueux, a small town in Dordogne France, and came on Aliya (emigrated to Israel) when she was seventeen. She graduated from the Hebrew University with a BA in Jewish Philosophy and Education and with an MA in Jewish Sciences and Gender Studies from the Schechter Institute, after completing her Rabbinic Ordination.
In 1993, Valerie became the first woman to be ordained as a Rabbi by the Masorti/Conservative movement in Israel. Valerie was the President of the Conservative congregation, Ma'ayanot in Jerusalem, a congregation that chooses a consensus approach to ritual and process that includes as many as 20 actively teaching and former congregational Rabbis who have served around the world. Valerie was very active in the development of this congregation. She developed Jewish educational programs and summer camps in the former Soviet Union as well as Jewish programs and direction for the Tali Schools in Israel over the course of 15 years.
Then she embarked on a program of developing expertise in Spiritual Care. She studied at the Schechter Institute in Israel, the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey, The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, and at the Hebrew Senior Life Institute in Boston. She became certified as a Jewish Chaplain both in Israel and the USA (SCP-C and B.C.C.).
She co-founded and is the current director of Kashouvot, a not-for-profit, focused on offering spiritual care and implementing this new field in Israel. In parallel, Valerie is currently the director of the Schwartz Center for Health and Spirituality. She directs and teaches many of the clinical spiritual care courses and internships, which have prepared many as spiritual caregivers in Israel's hospitals and supported living establishments. Rabbi Stessin has a private practice of spiritual care for persons in crisis situations.
She also works offering creative solutions for life cycle events in Israel. Valerie speaks fluent English, Hebrew, and French.
Delphine Matthieussent, journalist