Associate Chaplain for Jewish Life

Gail Bretan, Ph.D. is a compassionate advocate for connection to community through education and service.  She has a lengthy and proven track record of developing and operating successful programs in educational, healthcare, business, and religious venues.

She is a resource for those seeking to learn more about Judaism, explore their spirituality, or looking to connect to the wider Wake Forest Community.

Her scholarly interests reside in the intersection of faith and hospitality, and how action and practice can elevate meaning, connection, and joy.


Pursuing Rabbinical Ordination through the Academy for Jewish Religion, Yonkers, NY

PhD, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Educational Studies/ Cultural Foundations of Education

MS, University of Arizona, Rehabilitation Counseling

BA, Northwood University, Business Administration

BS, Temple University, Elementary Education

Religious Affiliation


Select Lectures

  • Judaism 101:  What is a Jew?
  • Judaism & Islam Lunch & Learn: A conversation between sister religions
  • Biblical Stress Management: Connecting Biblical texts to proven stress management techniques
  • Jewish Lifecycles: From womb to tomb experiences and the rituals that surround them
  • Women of the Bible: What the past can share about the present and future
  • Pirkei Avot: Wisdom of the Sages
  • X-rated Bible Stories: Sex in the Bible
  • Israel at the Time of Jesus: A multi-sensual tour experience
  • Stress Busters: 39 proven techniques to help one de-stress
  • Goal Setting: How to set and achieve your goals

Select Publications and Presentations

  • Bretan, G. H. (2020). “Mentoring for Ministry in Judaism and in Interfaith Settings.”In Senior, John & Floding, Matt (Eds.), Mentoring: A Toolkit for Supervisor-Mentors in Theological Field Education. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield.
  • Bretan, G. H. (2019). “’Awakening’ Gratitude,” in Dalton, Mary (Ed.), Sharing Gratitude: Daily Reflections, Winston-Salem, NC: Library Partners Press.
  • Bretan, G. H., Sky, H. Z., Rauch, C. (2014). The Loneliness Paradox: Hashem, Humanity, Healthiness, Happiness, and Hope. Bolivar, Missouri: Quiet Waters Publications
  • Bretan, G. H. (2013).  Jewishly-Informed Mature Adult Service-Learning. (Dissertation). Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest LLC. Dissertation found at
  • Bretan, G. H. (2005). Non-Pharmacological Pain Management. (CEU E-Offering). Wichita, KS: FavMo Institute of Holistic Health, LLC
  • Bretan, G. H. (2003). “And He was Refreshed…” Biblical Stress Management (Book). Boynton Beach, FL: Gail Bretan & Associates
  • Bretan, G. H. (2003). The Breath of Life (Relaxation CD). Boynton Beach, FL: Gail Bretan & Associates.
  • Bretan, G. H. (2000). Friday Night and Saturday Morning Shabbat Guidelines. Greenacres, FL: Temple Beth Tikvah.
  • “Faith-Based Service-Learning: Connecting Learners, Community, and Organizations.” Southeastern Association of Educational Studies (SEAES), 17th Annual Conference. Greensboro, NC
  • “Narratives of Academic Quotas based on race and religion: Case studies from Harvard quotas of Jews in the 1920, to their quotas of Asians in the 2010, collective stories of discrimination, segregation, advocacy, and triumph in accessing academic spaces.” For D.I.V.A.S 5th annual conference, Elon, NC
  • “Blacks & Jews. Stronger together than apart. Untold stories from Selma.” D.I.V.A.S 4th Annual Conference, Elon University, Elon, NC. 4th Annual DIVAS Conference
  • “Hillel Campus Affiliates Best Practices Skills Workshop.” Hillel International Global Assembly, Orlando, FL
  • “Jewish Service-Learning: Theory and Practice.” NewCAJE (Conference for Jewish Educators), 3rd Annual Conference. Greensboro, NC.

Select Service

  • Committee Member. Faith & Disability Conference, Winston-Salem, NC
  • Committee Member. Novant Health Ethics Committee. Winston-Salem, NC
  • Editorial Board Member of Organic Unity Newsletter. Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations Department, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC.
  • President (of 4 chapters and evening cabinet), VP, Education, Programming, Membership, Records Admin, and Newsletter Editor. Hadassah International.  Boynton Beach, FL, West Palm Beach, FL, and Greensboro, NC. Graduate of Hadassah Leadership Training Institute Program

Select Awards and Recognition

  • Spiritual Wellbeing Dimension Champion Award. Wake Forest University
  • Core Certification Honoree. Wake Forest University
  • Champion of Change Award. Wake Forest University
  • Go-For-The-Gold Award (exceeding fundraising goal). Hadassah, New York, NY
  • Presidential Award. Greensboro Chapter of Hadassah, Hadassah, New York, NY
Gail Bretan, Ph.D.



Phone:  336.758.4056

Office:  Benson University Center, Room 321

Media Requests

The Office of Communications is responsible for communicating information regarding programs, and other news to appropriate media sources. Chaplains are available to provide comments for a story or be interviewed (recorded and/or live).  To request, contact Cheryl Walker, director of news and communications for Wake Forest University.