by Rabbi Sandra Kviat, Community Educator, Liberal Judaism
Welfare and care for members are a central part of any community. Some large communities have part time professionals running volunteer services, and put on many events yearly events. Other communities, whether small or middle sized have one person who calls, visits or sends a card. No matter the size and budget, your community can do something.
There is an online seminar on Welfare in Liberal Judaism Communities in the Training section of the Resource Bank, which can be found by clicking on the link. The seminar was aimed at those who wanted to think about what to do, and what is needed to create or maintain a community care team. The seminar is presented by Angela Peters, care coordinator at Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue (NPLS). She shares what they do at this large flagship synagogue. Please bear in mind that NPLS is a very large community with over 1000s adult members, and a long history of semi-professional care teams. Angela’s presentation is inspiring and contains a wealth of ideas. You do not have to do or be everything they are.
The best approach is to figure out what your resources are, both in terms of budget and people, as well as what the needs are in your community. Ask key people in the community, including your rabbi, to get a real sense of what is needed. There is no need to establish a warm food bank if no one wants it, or to train befrienders if that not what your community wants or has the resources for. Remember also that any age group can need support, so that care teams do not only focus on the elderly or ill – young families with small children, or singles can also need support.
The following documents are referred to in the presentation and may be useful:
There are many other organisations that can provide guidance and training on this topic:
JAMI: The mental health service for the Jewish community: www.jamiuk.org
JEWISH CARE: www.jewishcare.org
ALZHEIMER’S SOCIETY: http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/