In Haifa Coronavirus Ward, a US-Trained Rabbi Helps Muslims Keep the Faith

January 4, 2021

Interview with Rabbi Mike Schultz (’08) by Nathan Jeffay in The Times of Israel 

As Israel’s third wave COVID cases surge, Rabbi Mike Schultz dons his hazmat suit, and prepares to talk about Allah.

Israel’s Arab citizens have been disproportionately hit by the coronavirus pandemic, which means that 12 years after graduating from a New York rabbinical school, Schultz is spending his days talking with a lot of patients who are deeply probing their Islamic faith.

“I’m having many, many more God conversations than normal, as people who are largely isolated in the ward look at their lives,” he said on Wednesday at Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, which is caring for over 100 patients in its converted parking garage ward — almost a tenth of those hospitalized with coronavirus nationwide.

Isolated from family and cared for by rushed staff who are only allowed close to them for limited periods, loneliness is a constant feature of COVID-19 patients’ lives. This is where Schultz comes in, as head of Rambam’s Spiritual Care unit, which serves patients of all faiths and none.

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