Emily Grotta UAHC Department of Communications 212.650.4221 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
"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.
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..