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All Gone: On the Challenges and Resources of Spirituality After a Suicide

Losing a loved one to suicide is not only an emotional earthquake and a psychological crisis; it is a spiritual cataclysm of a profound nature. Our assumptive universe, normally, projects that the ones we care about, those whom we know intimately and assist regularly will not abandon us, and will share with us if/when the […]

Helpful Jewish Community Services Links

General Resources RitualWell: Presented by Ma’yan and Kolot: The Center for Jewish Women’s and Gender Study, RitualWell focuses on women’s life cycle and other issues. While it is not oriented to physical illness, there is a healing section with rituals related to healing from abuse and mastectomy, as well as some other generic material. There […]

Helpful Bikur Cholim Links

Jewish Board Bikur Cholim Resources Rita J. Kaplan Jewish Community Services: the home of the Bikur Cholim Coordinating Council, Jewish Community Services promotes integration of services with spirituality and combine the richness of Jewish traditions with social work practices—such as spiritual and group counseling, workshops, consultation, training, and more. We offer individuals and families connections […]

The Outstretched Arm

From 1991 to 2010, The Jewish Healing Center, which became part of The Jewish Board in 1999, published a series of newsletters called The Outstretched Arm that helped define Jewish Healing and how to achieve wholeness through it. This was done by looking within Judaism and the Jewish community to develop resources, activities, environments, and […]

Recovery Seder Workshop

Seder Order Kadesh- blessing the day over the fruit of the vine Urchatz- ritual hand washing Karpas- eat a green vegetable Yachatz- break the middle matzah Maggid- tell the Exodus story Rachtza- hand washing before meal Motzi Matzah- eat matzah Maror- eat bitter herbs or vegetable Korech- eat bitter herb and matzah together Shulchan Orech- […]

The Second Half of the Seder: Healing, Hope and Redemption

Every year, as Pesach approaches, I plan that we will go a little faster through the first half of the seder, and that I will serve a lighter meal, so that we can devote sufficient attention to the second half of the seder service.  Every year, we linger over new and familiar interpretations of the early […]

The Haggadah and Healing

Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm… Deut. 5:15 Reciting the Passover story reminds us not only of a transcendent moment in the history of the Jews, but of transformative times of misery and suffering ‐ and […]

Being a Bikur Cholim Telephone Visitor

The ubiquitous telephone! How many of us have gotten calls that lift our spirits or warm our hearts? With forethought and skill the telephone can be used for bikur cholim in a meaningful and efficient way. Many points of visiting are the same whether face-to-face or via the telephone, but some are different. Both require […]

Prayers for Bikur Cholim Visitors

Traditionally, prayer has been an integral part of a bikur cholim visit, with two main purposes: Comforting the sick Helping them experience, in a tangible way, a connection with the Jewish community Jewish sources cite specific prayers to be offered at the bedside of the sick. The Shulchan Aruch (16th century Code of Jewish Law) […]

Conversation Essentials for Bikur Cholim

Bikur cholim is an investment of time and includes attention, patience, perceptive listening, sincere concern, openness, and communication skills. As in all verbal communication, tone of voice is very important and can change the meaning behind the question. Below are techniques to help facilitate communication when making a visit or talking with the person on […]

Tips For Bikur Cholim Visitors

Bikur cholim visiting skills are skills for life. They include being fully present, and being a good listener and knowing proper visiting etiquette. These guidelines will help you in communicating your caring intention and being an effective visitor: Being fully present Try to put yourself in the other person’s place. Put aside daydreams and distraction […]

A Digest of Laws of Bikur Cholim

The following digest of laws of Bikur Cholim is compiled from the Shulhan Arukh (16th Century text) & Rabbinic Literature Visiting the sick is in emulation of the Almighty’s own actions, when He visited Abraham after his circumcision: “The Lord appeared unto him by the terebinths of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door […]

About Being a Bikur Cholim Visitor

Our good intentions can be enhanced with skill, grace, and efficiency. The ideal visitor needs to be mindful as he/she provides optimistic support, assistance toward independence and a listening ear. Hiddur (Hebrew for “beautify”) is the concept of enhancement of a mitzvah through beautification. Conventionally, hiddur applies to the ritualistic aspects of religious observance: the […]

A Passover Seder for Jewish Adults with a Psychiatric Condition and Their Friends

The following are excerpts from a Passover Seder created by and for Jewish adults with psychiatric conditions who are members of Chaverim Shel Shalom, a program of Jewish Healing Connections of Boston. Maggid: Telling the Story Ha Lachma AnyaThe Bread of Affliction ALL: This is the bread of affliction, the poor bread that our ancestors […]