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*Photo by Carly Fishman

Chloe Zelkha is an organizer, educator, and chaplain. She has spent the last ten years designing transformative programs for young people and adults, and loves building worlds where people feel they really belong.

 

After graduating from Carleton College with a B.A. in Religion, she was trained as a community organizer through the JOIN for Justice Fellowship in Boston. There, she worked at The Food Project, a youth development and food justice organization that brings diverse cohorts of teens together to grow food, learn about social justice, and connect across difference. Looking to build experiences like these in the Jewish community, she transitioned into a role as Fellowship Director at Urban Adamah, where she led semester-long deep dives for young adults into Jewish spirituality, farming, mindfulness, and social justice. After her dad died suddenly in 2017, she felt called to grief work and trained as a chaplain at UCSF Hospital, where she earned 3 units of CPE and offered spiritual care to those who were ill and dying. She is the co-founder of the COVID Grief Network, a mutual aid organization that offers free support to those who've lost someone to COVID-19.

 


 

Chloe holds an MA in Education in Specialized Studies, focusing on transformative experiences, from Harvard University. Her research focused on what ritual, game, and performance studies can teach us about designing immersive learning experiences. 

 

Chloe is currently studying towards rabbinic ordination at RRC, where she is a Wexner Graduate Fellow. She serves as the rabbinic presence at Centre College.

Testimonials:

Grappling with life in all its complexity

Uncanny ability to meet people where they're at

A wise spiritual caregiver

"I came into this experience not knowing what to expect and walked out with 39+ friends who get me in a way no one else ever has. Sure we cried, but we also laughed a lot, danced, sang and celebrated life."

"Impeccably facilitated from beginning to end—it was gentle, fierce, stabilizing, and enchanting all at the same time.”
 

- Grief Retreat Participants

"For me the bar for a spiritual leader is high: intellectual capacity, emotional intelligence, love of wisdom, a deep commitment to one’s own spiritual growth, humility, and an uncanny ability to meet people where they are at – not where we want them to be. Chloe has it all. She also holds space as well as anyone I have ever met, and has a gorgeous singing voice. She is one of my rabbis.”

- Adam Berman 
President, Urban Adamah

"Watching Chloe accompany our patients through the darkest moments--through death, fetal demise, difficult diagnoses, compassionate extubations, and beyond--was a master class in wise spiritual care. Chloe's approach to chaplaincy is one of true accompaniment: a deep ministry of presence and an ability to meet people exactly where they are.”

- Sarah Bellows Meister
Palliative Care Chaplain,
UCSF Medical Center

Press & Writing:

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"We are Doctors of the Spirit"

A podcast episode exploring the role of the chaplain with Muslim and Christian colleagues in spiritual care. 

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"Do We Have the Space to Grieve Anymore?"

Interviewed for an article in Dame Magazine on the grief crisis the pandemic ushered in, and how we might turn towards loss, as individuals and a society.

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"How We Grieved in Lockdown"

Interviewed for an article on grief & community in the era of COVID-19

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"Seven zines that helped people get through"

My grief poem zine profiled by an online art magazine

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"Mourners as Spiritual Teachers"

A blog post for The Conversation Project

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"Rabbi Roundtable: Processing 500,000 Lost"

Some thoughts on how we might mourn this milestone

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Press features on the COVID Grief Network

A collection of press on our mutual aid initiative

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"Grief Reconfigured"

Mourning rituals and interreligious community online

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"Smash It and Smash It, For Everything is In It"

Reflections on brokenness, wholeness, and my dad.

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"Covid Grief Network Provides Support for Young Adults"

A profile on me and the
COVID Grief Network

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"Let's Talk Death"

 A podcast interview with HealGrief.org