WesternU clinical professor Julie Madorsky, MD, has joined the Board of Directors of the Academy for Jewish Religion, California (AJR, CA), a transdenominational, pluralistic institution dedicated to the training of rabbis, cantors and chaplains.

Madorsky said she is honored and delighted by the opportunity to serve on the board.

“I see it as a natural extension of my commitment to holistic and humanistic approaches to healing,” she said.

AJR, CA was founded in 2000 and is headquartered at the Yitzhak Rabin Hillel Center for Jewish Life at UCLA. The organization uses an innovative approach of training rabbis and cantors to serve Jews affiliated with Reform, Reconstructionist, Renewal, Conservative and Orthodox Judaism as well as the unaffiliated, according to the academy’s Web site.

Having Dr. Madorsky as a member of the Academy’s Board of Directors is a pleasure and a privilege, said Jacob Zighelboim, MD, Chair of the Board of Directors of AJR,CA.

“She embodies the attributes of mind and spirit of foundational importance to the Academy’s success and mission,” he said. “She is an incredibly caring, loving and supportive person who has dedicated her life to attend to those in need and to ensure their rights are honored and respected. She is a thoughtful, passionate person, who has a clear sense of purpose and who deeply cares for her community.”

Dr. Madorsky’s training and professional experience enhances the resourcefulness of the board and the institution, Zighelboim said.

“Her experience with caring and advocating for people with disabilities will play an important role in strengthening our Chaplaincy and Rabbinical Program and in preparing our students to care for people with disabilities of all kinds,” he said.

Dr. Madorsky’s expertise elevates the Academy’s consciousness in what they provide in their curriculum, such as evaluating whether the ordination space is sensitive to disability issues, said Rabbi Mel Gottlieb, PhD, dean of the Rabbinical School.

“She brings a very principled and insightful presence to the board,” he said. “She always looks at ways to help others.”

The multidisciplinary team approach of rehabilitation medicine meshes seamlessly with AJR, CA’s pluralistic and nondenominational training of rabbis, cantors and chaplains, Madorsky said.

“Since the academy is not affiliated with any one of Judaism’s movements, it is free to use creative, innovative approaches to teaching Jewish spiritual leaders,” she said. “By contributing the experience I gained working with individuals coping with catastrophic disease and disability, I hope that I will be able to help the students gain a deeper understanding of the human condition with all its pain, perplexities and possibilities.”

Madorsky has received national recognition for her work on disability issues and was named U.S. Physician of the Year by President Ronald Reagan.

She also has a long history with WesternU. Her husband, Arthur Madorsky, DO, MD, served as a professor and Board of Trustees member at WesternU for many years. After his death, she established the Arthur Madorsky, MD Memorial Scholarship, given to one or more students with disabilities who demonstrate academic excellence and financial need.

Their daughter, Danya, is a 1998 graduate of Western University’s Primary Care Physician Assistant Education Program. Dr. Julie Madorsky received the Philip Pumerantz Medal in 1988 and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 1996 from WesternU.

Madorsky gave the commencement address for the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific and the College of Allied Health Professions in 1996, which led to the introduction to WesternU of Brenda Premo and the establishment in 1998 of the Center for Disability Issues and the Health Professions (CDIHP). Madorsky is the Founding Chairperson of the Advisory Board of CDIHP.

“Brenda is a champion for disability rights and under her leadership, CDIHP has accomplished and continues to produce major advances in the health care of people with disabilities,” Madorsky said. “I remain in awe of the tremendous growth and brilliant development of Western University of Health Sciences.”