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. 


Grief Support Groups 

JCFS offers grief support groups both in-person and online. For more information about these and other groups, please contact Leah Shefsky at 847-745-5404. 

  • 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

  • 20s/30s support groups for young adults grieving the death of a parent, sibling, or partner, in partnership with Mishkan Chicago and Base Hillel. 

  • Hand in Hand is a group for those under 60 who are grieving the death of their spouse or partner within the past two years. 

  • Healing Hearts is a group for older adults grieving the death of their spouse/partner within the past two years.   

  • Grieving a Loss to Suicide is a monthly group for adults navigating the world after the death of a loved one to suicide. 

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

Additionally, we offer 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, and other workshops that explore the healing power of art, music, reading and journaling. 

Bereavement Resources 

Guide for the Grieving is a resource that includes a toolkit for navigating practical matters, reviewing Jewish ritual and mourning practices, and understanding the range of emotional responses mourners may experience following the death of a loved one.  

You are Not Alone: Support for Those in the Jewish Community and Beyond Grieving a Death by Suicide was developed to serve and gently guide individuals and families facing suicide loss, who often need more support, but receive less. We have also created a companion piece: Supporting a Friend or Loved One Through Suicide Loss

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. Learn more. 

Community and Professional Education 

  • 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.  

  • Bikur Cholim trainings for synagogue communities and other Jewish organizations.  

For more information, please contact:  
Leah Shefsky, LCSW, Chaplaincy Coordinator and Grief Specialist, 847.745.5404 
Rabbi Joseph S. Ozarowski, D. Min., BCC, Rabbinic Counselor and Chaplain, 847.745.5433 

Support & Funding 

JCFS deeply values our collaboration with the Chicago Board of Rabbis and CJE SeniorLife to support the community at times of grief and loss.  

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