Illness, Loss & Spiritual Support

“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, 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's illness, loss and spiritual support services embrace the comfort of human connection, the spiritual support of Jewish tradition and a sense of community to alleviate loneliness and isolation. JCFS Chicago works in collaboration with the Chicago Board of Rabbis and CJE SeniorLife.

Strength through Meditation

  • The following document and audio file offer a guided meditation for support and healing during challenging times.
  • For Yom Kippur, Dr. Beth Fishman has provided a document and audio file for meditation on forgiveness.

Support for the Community

  • Jewish Chaplaincy Services offer welcoming, compassionate, easily accessible and professional spiritual support for individuals and families
  • Nechama ("comfort" in Hebrew), a one-time  conversation 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 
  • Annual Grief Retreat filled with healing activities such as  meditation, music, study, and contemplation
  • JCFS Chicago, MISSD (The Medication-Induced Suicide Prevention and Education Foundation in Memory of Stewart Dolin) and No Shame on U are partnering to provide suicide prevention education and support in the Jewish community with support from JUF’s Breakthrough Fund. 

Training and Education

  • Community programs including the annual Conference on Help, Healing and Hope after Loss 
  • Workshops for social service and healthcare professionals, clergy, chaplains and synagogue leaders
  • Bikur Cholim trainings for synagogue communities to  strengthen skills needed to sensitively and compassionately provide comfort and care to sick and struggling congregants
  • Learning opportunities focused on illness and death through a Jewish lens  to help   hospices and other healthcare facilities provide culturally sensitive care 

Information and Resources 

Support & Funding
 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.

Video from Grieving a Death During a Pandemic: An Evening of Support, sponsored by the Lauri S. Bauer Foundation for Sudden Loss.

For information contact:
Rabbi Joseph Ozarowski, Rabbinic Counselor and Chaplain at 847.745.5433 

Carol Brumer Gliksman, Jewish Chaplaincy Services Coordinator at 847.745.5404.