Spiritual Care

At Wexner Heritage Village, our commitment to providing superior care is holistic in nature and therefore includes an individual’s religious and spiritual needs. Under the leadership and guidance of Rabbi Debbie Lefton and Jewish Educator and Hospice Chaplain, Rabbi Arye Berk , our founding Jewish principles inspire the life-affirming spirit that is at the heart of everything we do. While we remain faithful to our Jewish heritage and traditions, we also welcome individuals of all faiths into our family of services. 


Rabbi Debbie Lefton

Director, Spiritual Care & Resident Life

Rabbi Debbie Lefton serves patients, residents, and their families across Wexner Heritage Village. An integral part of the central Ohio Jewish community for more than a decade, Rabbi Lefton came to Wexner Heritage Village from Temple Beth Shalom in New Albany, where she conducted services, taught, counseled and officiated life cycle events. Prior to that, she was an assistant rabbi and religious school director for Temple Israel in Columbus.

Ordained at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati in 2001, Rabbi Lefton also earned a Masters in Theological Studies, with a concentration in the Hebrew Bible, from the Harvard Divinity School in 1995. She did her undergraduate studies at Hobart & William Smith College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in religion in 1992.
In addition to leading the Columbus Board of Rabbis, Rabbi Lefton is a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Women of Reform Judaism, Hadassah and the National Council of Jewish Women. She lives in New Albany with her husband, David Lefton, and their three children, Jeremy, Emily and Stacey.

"I treasure the ability to help people during times of stress and joy and to help them feel a level of trust that is hard to fathom,” Rabbi Lefton said. “Whether it is a still voice inside or G-d felt through prayer, G-d is near in times that we do not even know. These moments are filled with kedushah – holiness – and make us thrive as human beings."




Elaine Malzahn

Elaine Malzahn, the Christian chaplain, is a 2016 graduate of Trinity Lutheran Seminary. She did her internship at Wexner and was very excited to return as the Christian Chaplain for this next chapter of her life. Elaine is thrilled to be with Wexner Heritage Village elders and staff again. They are very special people and she is honored to be part of the team. Prior to returning to school, Elaine held many volunteer positions in her local congregation in Indiana. Helping to feed the hungry was particularly important to her. Before retiring, she worked at Muncie (Indiana) Southside High School, serving as the principal’s secretary and then the registrar. The mother of two married children living in New York City and Denver, Colorado, and one infant grandson, Elaine is a thankful and frequent user of social media and a cell phone to stay in touch with them and her elderly mother living in Illinois. Her hobbies include reading fantasy and science fiction and various handicrafts.