Illness, Loss & Grief

“I am with you in times of trouble, I will strengthen you and honor you.” (based on Psalm 91:15)

During the most challenging of times, the Jewish Healing Network ensures life is honored, human dignity is respected and kindness is shown to individuals and families who are coping with illness, loss and grief.

Jewish Healing Network provides a continuum of programs and services that embrace the comfort of human connection, the spiritual support of Jewish tradition and a sense of community to alleviate loneliness and isolation. A program of Jewish Child & Family Services, JHN works in collaboration with the Chicago Board of Rabbis and CJE SeniorLife.

Support for the Community

  • Tikvah: The Jewish Chaplaincy Community Initiative offers welcoming and easily accessible spiritual support for individuals and families.
  • Bereavement programs such as Nechama ("comfort" in Hebrew), a one-time session designed specifically to meet the needs of individuals who have experienced a recent loss.
  • Loss-specific support groups
  • Pastoral counseling for those struggling with spiritual or religious issues related to illness, loss or other issues.
  • An annual Grief Retreat is filled with healing activities including meditation, music, study, contemplation and more.

Training and Education

  • Bikur Cholim trainings for synagogue communities to learn the skills they need to sensitively and compassionately provide comfort and care to sick and struggling congregants.
  • Educational community programs and professional trainings like the annual Conference on Help, Healing and Hope after Loss feature expert speakers and opportunities for learning and discussion.
  • Spiritual support for local hospices to ensure that their advanced illness services are religiously and culturally sensitive and reflective of Jewish values
  • Trainings on illness and loss-related topics for social service and healthcare professionals, clergy and synagogue leaders.

Information and Referral

  • Prayer pamphlets for nursing care patients and their families, hospitals, hospices and other organizations: Jewish Prayers and Reflections on Healing (English and Russian versions); Jewish Prayers and Reflections on Healing (Russian); Prayers for the Caregiver; Vidui—Prayers for the End-of-life; Prayer for Persistence for Those with Chronic Illness
  • Advanced Directives and other end-of-life resources and support
  • Connections to support and resources.

Support & Funding

JHN is supported by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, the Jewish Federation’s Fund for Innovation in Health (underwritten by the Michael Reese Health Trust), the Lauri S. Bauer Foundation for Sudden Loss and other generous donors.

JHN Staff 

Elizabeth Siegel Cohen, JHN Program Manager or 847.745.5404

Rabbi Joseph Ozarowski, Rabbinic Counselor and Chaplain or 847.745.5433

Amy Schwartz, Tikvah Coordinator or 847.745.5456