Support for those in the Jewish community and beyond

During the most challenging of times, we ensure that life is honored, human dignity is respected and kindness is shown to individuals and families who are coping with illness, loss and grief. 
JCFS Chicago works with the Chicago Board of Rabbis and CJE SeniorLife to offer the following support:

Evenings of Support

Our quarterly community-wide grief support programs incorporate music, mindfulness, grief education, first-person narratives, and opportunities to share loss with others.

You can view videos of previous programs here.

Grief Support Groups

  • Monthly groups for adults who have experienced the death of a loved-one within the past two years, in partnership with area congregations, currently offered on Mondays and Wednesdays.
  • Monthly groups for young adults grieving the death of a parent, sibling, or partner, in partnership with Mishkan Chicago and Base Hillel.
  • Hand in Hand: a group for those under age 60 who are grieving the death of their spouse or partner within the past two years.
  • Healing Hearts: a group for older adults grieving the death of their spouse/partner within the past two years.  
  • Grieving a Loss to Suicide: monthly group for adults navigating the world after the death of a loved one to suicide.

Suicide Prevention Education & Support

JCFS Chicago, MISSD (The Medication-Induced Suicide Prevention and Education Foundation in Memory of Stewart Dolin) and No Shame on U have partnered to provide suicide prevention education and support in the Jewish community with support from JUF’s Breakthrough Fund. 

Helpful Information and Resources 

Strength through Meditation

  • A guided meditation for support and healing is available here and as an audio file.
  • A meditation on forgiveness, specially developed for preparation for Yom Kippur is available here and this audio file.

Help and Healing Workshops

  • The Healing Shofar, for bereaved adults anticipating the major Jewish Fall Holidays after the death of a loved one.
  • The Empty Chair, for bereaved adults grieving the death of loved ones who will not be at this year’s Passover seder.
  • Workshops that explore the healing power of art, music, reading and/or writing.

Jewish Chaplaincy Services

Sometimes, leaning on our faith offers the strongest healing. Our chaplains provide welcoming, compassionate, easily accessible and professional spiritual support for individuals and families.

Community and Professional Education

  • Bikur Cholim trainings for synagogue communities and other Jewish organizations. 
  • Clinical training for mental health professionals on grief and loss.
  • Learning opportunities focused on illness and death through a Jewish lens for hospices and other healthcare facilities. 

No One Should Have to Grieve Alone.

For more information, please contact: 

Marsha Raynes, LCSW, Manager, Adoption, Infertility and Bereavement Supports, 847.745.5408

Rabbi Joseph S. Ozarowski, D. Min., BCC, Rabbinic Counselor and Chaplain, 847.745.5433

Support & Funding

We are thankful for our support from the JF/JUF Fund for Innovation in Health (funded by the Michael Reese Health Trust) and The Albert and Lucille Delighter and Marcella Winston Foundation, a Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, The Lauri S. Bauer Foundation for Sudden Loss and other generous donors.

Grief & Loss Resources

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For assistance or more information, call us at 855.275.5237 or email us at