Rise of Professional Jewish Community Chaplaincy

Jewish chaplaincy is rooted in sacred texts; it builds on older traditions of bikur cholim, the Talmudic commandment to visit the sick. Jewish chaplains haven’t been around for long, however. The first Jewish chaplains can be traced to the American Civil War but greatly expanded in World War II, when about three hundred rabbis served in the U.S. military. After the war, chaplaincy programs started to appear around the country.

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Suicide Prevention and Support in the Jewish Community

JCFS Chicago, No Shame On U, and MISSD (Medication-Induced Suicide Prevention and Education Foundation) have received a JUF Breakthrough Fund grant to launch a critical initiative: Suicide Prevention and Support in the Chicago Jewish Community. The overall goal of this initiative is to initiate dialogue that enhances understanding of suicide, reduces the stigma surrounding it, and ensures appropriate and compassionate responses.

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Creating a Community of Caring

Addiction and addiction recovery are realities in our community; they always have been and likely will be into the near future.  Until recently many people in the Jewish community denied that addiction was a Jewish issue.  Now there is a much greater recognition of how addiction challenges our own.  However, many Jewish families still express deep feelings of isolation when confronting addiction in themselves or their loved ones.

There are so many ways, large and small, that each of us can support Jewish families struggling with active addiction or in recovery, to bring them out of isolation and into the loving support our community offers.  Here are some ideas:

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Coping With Sudden Loss

Not a day goes by when we are not inundated with stories of shootings, accidents, senseless acts of violence or natural disasters. When these events happen, we might feel shock or sadness, yet we strive to protect ourselves by keeping the tragedies at arm’s length. But how do we handle an unexpected or sudden loss in our own lives? 

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Elana Boiskin Among Jewish Communal Professionals Awarded an MA in Jewish Professional Studies at Spertus Institute Graduation

Elana Boiskin, Jewish Chaplaincy Program Coordinator of JCFS was presented the distinguished Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies (MAJPS) at Spertus Institute’s commencement ceremony on December 9, 2018. Elana was among 17 Jewish communal professionals and scholars from across North America who were also awarded this prestigious degree.

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Our Perfectly Blended Family

Each fall, my husband and I turn our thoughts to adoption. While adoption is on our minds all year long, we think about it even more at this time of year. In addition to National Adoption Month taking place every November and raising awareness of adoption, each September, our family also celebrates “Gotcha Day” – the unforgettable day our son, Jake, joined our family.

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