Bereavement

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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JCARES Professional Training Institute

by Betsy Lazerow, JCARES & Community Services Professional Education Coordinator

JCFS Chicago's Community Services is committed to offering cross-discipline professionals – mental health, social service, health care and addiction treatment professionals; Rabbis and synagogue leadership; law enforcement and legal advocates; administrators and educators – with a diversity of opportunities for learning, networking and dialoguing.  

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Help, Healing and Hope After Loss - “How to Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies”

by Elizabeth Siegel Cohen, LCSW
Coordinator, illness, loss and spiritual support at JCFS Chicago
Bereavement Specialist

I recently read a letter published in the Washington Post by a young widowed father of two named David Creekmore. The letter was written to his deceased wife, Trish, who died three years ago.  Towards the end of this deeply moving letter David wrote “Life’s too short.  I had to lose you to really understand that. You are not forgotten. We move on because we have to, not because we want to.” These words really resonated with me because they speak so powerfully about how the experience of loss can forever change our focus and priorities in life.

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An Empty Chair at the Seder

by Rabbi Joe Ozarowski, D.Min., BCC
Rabbinic Counselor and Chaplain, JCFS Chicago

The Hebrew word “Seder” means order. The Seder evening and Hagada have a framework—a time for talking, a time for ritual foods, a time for dinner, a time for praising God, a time for singing, a time for engaging children, a time for questions and a time to think about possible answers. But the order of the Seder also refers to the non-ritual aspects of the evening. We often have a routine of who comes, who we might invite, where we sit, how we arrange the table, and more. These things can change from year to year, yet they are always present in some form. But what happens when the order is upended? What challenges the sense of order when a loved one who has been a part of our sacred evening is no longer with us. Where is the “seder”—the order—when the Seder has been changed, the order ripped away from us?

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Helping Teenagers Cope With Grief After Tragedy and Loss

by Robin Stein, Director, Response for Teens at JCFS Chicago

As a therapist who has worked with teens almost exclusively for over 30 years, I can’t help but imagine what it must be like to be a teenager in 2015. With so many young lives cut short today due to violence, bullying and suicide—dealing with the fear, the sense of loss, the uncertainty.  Grief work with adolescents is so incredibly important.  Often, parents immediately react by telling their child they must be in counseling – they just know their child must be depressed and at risk of imploding. 

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