Episode 5

Faith Leaders as First and Second Responders

Before Cantor Michael Shochet, a Senior Clergy at Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, VA, was ordained, he was a police officer in Baltimore who experienced the trauma of his partner being shot in front of him. Today, in addition to serving his congregation, he also leads the Police Chaplain unit for a metro D.C. police department. He has been on call during such traumas as the Pentagon terror attack on 9/11, the Washington Sniper shootings, and many local traumas related to gun violence and terror attacks. Cantor Shochet and Rev. Crebbin discuss the similarities between police and faith leaders as responders to tragedy, the importance of self-care for faith leaders in the aftermath of trauma, the possibility of being re-traumatized when similar events, like the Parkland shooting, occur, and the uses of sacred rituals and theology in the midst of such events.


Cantor Michael Shochet is a Senior Clergy at Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, VA, and leader of the Police Chaplain unit for metro D.C. police

Written Reflection

Exploring Personal, Community and Theological Resources, and their Differences – Rev. Jessica Bratt Carle, Chaplain, Spectrum Health and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital


Immediate and long-term effects of trauma; Providing a ministry of presence; Personal impact of trauma; Compassion and support from those who’ve experienced trauma; Re-traumatization; Challenges in sustaining leadership after trauma; Self-awareness and self-care; Trusting in the rituals of faith; Does theology really help?

[This project] provides deep insight into the pain incurred by pastors as they endeavor to care for the broken and wounded. This documentary gives pastors permission to hurt, cry, and seek healing for themselves.
This project is an exceptional resource for caregivers, faith communities, and theological education, and is long overdue. It provides deep insight into the pain incurred by pastors as they endeavor to care for the broken and wounded. This documentary gives pastors permission to hurt, cry, and seek healing for themselves.
Healing the Healers looks at the ongoing experiences not just in the first year after collective loss - but in the subsequent years, the year two, year five, and so forth and also how the impacts of collective loss changes who you are as a person and who you are in your profession.
An invaluable resource in theological education. This film series delves into the lived experience of clergy on the ground, in a respectful, compelling, and informative way, which enables the future clergy to learn from those who have walked this path before.


Cantor Michael Shochet

Cantor Michael Shochet currently serves as the Senior Clergy of Temple Rodef Shalom, in Falls Church, VA, where his primary responsibilities including leading worship, teaching, and guiding lifecycle rituals.

Before he was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City, Shochet was an officer with the Baltimore City Police Department, and it is the intersection of these two callings that informs his current community service work as well. With advanced training in pastoral crisis intervention, Shochet serves as the Fairfax County Police Department’s Chaplain Coordinator, where he aids first responders in the aftermath of traumatic events, and teaches at their police academy. He was also most recently the Chair of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Public Safety Chaplains’ Committee.

Shochet’s volunteer community service has not gone unnoticed. He has been recognized by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors; the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington; the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution; the Jewish Social Service Agency of Greater Washington; the Fairfax County Police Department; and the American Conference of Cantors.

In addition to all his work, the happily married father of two sons remarkably manages to pursue a personal passion for music as well. He has performed in concert throughout Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, Israel, and the United States—including at the Kennedy Center—and, is scheduled to receive a Doctor of Music, honoris causa from his alma mater in next year.

Written Reflection

Rev. Jessica Bratt Carle

Rev. Jessica Bratt Carle, M.Div, BCC is a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and currently serves as a hospital chaplain at Spectrum Health and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI. She received her Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and is currently working toward the completion of a PhD in Religion, Psychology, and Culture from Vanderbilt University. She is board certified through the Association of Professional Chaplains and has previously worked as a chaplain at the National Institutes of Health; Yale-New Haven Hospital; Boston Children’s Hospital; Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt; and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She serves on the advisory board of the Institute for Collective Trauma and Growth.

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