Synagogue Life Should Be Like Handwashing (not hand wringing!)

Our institutions should follow the example of the Temple. They should be enlivening not deadening, to those who, like the priest, work in them.

That is not what boards of Jewish institutions report. Meetings are often desultory at best, litigious at worst - even downright nasty. They can be life-depleting, not life-enhancing. Committee assignments are like life sentences. Volunteers are hard to find.

But that is not the Jewish way. Jewish organizational life should be like the handwashing that characterized the original Jewish institution, the Temple.

Rekindling Tradition as Life Partnerships End

It is somewhat surprising that researchers have paid so little attention to how people experience divorce in congregations. Studies that do address the relationship between religion and divorce are largely quantitative, measuring divorce numbers. Rarely do these reports consider the personal impact and how (or if) communities support those affected by divorce.

Removing the stumbling blocks: A local synagogue takes action to increase awareness and improve access for families with special

This year, for the first time, February is National Jewish Disability Awareness Month. The idea was first proposed by the Jewish Special Education International Consortium, and it has been picked up by Jewish organizations and agencies across the religious spectrum, including the Union for Reform Judaism, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and United Jewish Communities. To mark the month, NJJN will publish a series of articles on special-needs families and programs. Next week: Special education in synagogue religious schools.

What is Jewish Healing?

Healing remains one of the genuine mysteries of our daily lives. Real healing from physical or emotional illness is a multidimensional process, and new medical fields such as psychoneuroendoimmunology indicate a growing modern awareness of the intricate interrelationship between mind and body in illness and health.

Showing Up

It's been said that 90 percent of life is just showing up.

What I Learned from My Heart Attack

Stephen A. Karol

From CCAR Journal: A Reform Jewish Quarterly, Winter 1997
Reprinted with Permission

Healing of Body; Healing of Spirit


Nancy Flam

From Sh'ma: a journal of Jewish Responsibility October 3, 1997
Reprinted with Permission

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The Jewish Way of Healing - Jewish Tools

The Torah can be a source of healing for the spirit and psyche. Some rabbis ``prescribe'' sacred verses for use in mediation.

Spiritual Healing: Prayer

In addition to bikur cholim, Jewish tradition teaches that we should pray for ourselves and others during a time of illness. Many modern Jews are resistant to praying in general, and especially skeptical about praying for something specific, such as good health or a cure.

Spiritual Healing: Bikur Cholim

A fundamental feature of Jewish spiritual healing is bikur cholim (visiting the sick), which responds to two of the greatest burdens of contemporary life: isolation and lack of community. At a time of illness, bikur cholim offers us the comfort of human connection and interdependence, a sense of community we so desperately need.