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September 2, 2015 | 18th Elul 5775

Contact: Emily Grotta
UAHC Department of Communications

Program that Encourages Reform Synagogues To Become
Caring, Supportive Communities Unveiled at UAHC Biennial

BOSTON, MA, December 5, 2001 - A new program book that encourages Reform Jewish congregations to become caring communities, reaching out to aid members going through difficult periods in their lives, such as such as illness, death, divorce, and single parenting, was unveiled today as part of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations' 66th Biennial Assembly in Boston.

Becoming a Kehilat Chesed: Creating and Sustaining a Caring Congregation was created through the UAHC's Department of Jewish Family Concerns and published by the UAHC Press. It features a guide on how to create a "caring community" program in eight steps, and suggests programs currently in use within UAHC congregations.

Programs suggested in the book include support groups for the bereaved and those afflicted by illnesses, chavurah groups for older adults, congregational hospital visits, and groups that help combat self-destructive behavior in teenagers. In all, Becoming a Kehilat Chesed offers the titles and descriptions of more than 30 successful caring community programs implemented by Reform congregations across North America.

"The strength of the community has always been an essential part of Judaism," says Rabbi Richard Address, Director of the Department of Jewish Family Concerns. "By strengthening the bonds of community within their members, synagogues can work to create communities that address the needs of those who are alienated or in pain, to give them places for healing and places to feel connected to their roots, to their spirituality, and to Reform Judaism."

Becoming a Kehilat Chesed is part of a major initiative launched by the UAHC. This past April, the Union held "The Synagogue as a Center for Healing and Caring," a two-day conference at which rabbis and healing professionals advised synagogue leaders on how to initiate caring community programs in their congregations. In addition, nine workshops at the UAHC Biennial focus on creating caring communities, with sessions on how synagogues can best serve special-needs children; create a chevra kadisha; and provide services for caregivers.

To order a copy of Becoming a Kehilat Chesed, contact the Department of Jewish Family Concerns at (212) 650-4094, The Department's Web site can be viewed at

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The Union of American Hebrew Congregations is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, representing over 1.5 million Reform Jews in over 900 congregations. UAHC services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programming, and the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC..


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