Caring Community

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Deeds of Loving kindness                              

Beth El is a Kehilat Chesed (loving community) -- a congregation of people who care about each other and stand ready to help one another through the physical and emotional storms that punctuate our lives. At some time, almost every family faces a difficult situation that can be overwhelming. When this happens, Beth El members, through the Caring Community Committee, deliver meals, offer transportation, provide information and suggest resources, run errands, or just lend an ear.

Caring for one another is our obligation as Jews. We are responsible for one another, and the Torah commands us to perform g'milut chasadim—deeds of loving kindness. So, in a sense, we are all members of Beth El's Caring Community Committee. As such, each member is encouraged to extend—and receive—a helping hand in times of bereavement, illness, loneliness, and debility.

We can only help people if we know about their needs. Most of our information comes from the rabbi or cantor or directly from individuals in need, but members of the congregation also alert us to situations in which people might need help. Typically, after the clergy has contacted a congregant, we call and offer practical assistance—though sometimes we reach them first. We keep the clergy informed about our activities so that we do not intrude upon theirs.

To maintain the trust of the congregation, we operate on a strictly confidential, privacy-respecting basis.                                                                                         

We welcome ideas, suggestions, and offers of help.


THE CARING COMMUNITY COMMITTEE (CCC) engages in the following areas of action:

Bereavement - We contact members of the congregation who have experienced a death in their immediate family and offer condolences, meals, assistance with arrangements, and any other help they desire; and we go to congregational funerals and shiva services.

Calls to Homebound Individuals - We call homebound congregants to offer them greetings from the congregation, various services, a visit, or just a friendly ear. These calls also alert us to any new concerns.

Immediate Needs - We call members whom we know are acutely ill or have other immediate needs and we offer them various forms of assistance, such as meals, rides to appointments, pick-ups of prescriptions, friendly visits, and so forth; and we follow up until their situation stabilizes.

Holiday Goody Bags - We deliver bags filled with holiday goodies to homebound and recently widowed congregants four times a year: at Rosh Hashanah, Hannukah, Purim, and Passover.

Long-Term Needs - We keep track of congregants who are severely affected with chronic conditions and makes sure that they (or their caregivers) are contacted regularly and offered support.

Shalom Baby - We bring greetings and a bag of goodies to families in our congregation who have recently had a baby.

Support Groups - We've organized a Bereavement Support Group that meets once a month at Temple and sends letters to Temple members who have recently experienced a loss, inviting them to join the group. Our Caregivers' Support Group meets monthly; we also provide caregivers one-on-one support and information.

Information - We offer people with long-term or ongoing needs information about area services and other resources and help them obtain what they need. We have revised the Funeral Practices Booklet (pdf), which is also available in hard copy at the Temple office.

Special Workshops - From time to time, we offer special workshops to provide information to congregants on specific issues.

Cards - We send notes of condolence, encouragement, or congratulations to members of Beth El who are experiencing life cycle events.

If you or a Beth El member you know is in need of assistance or information, please call the Beth El office, (703) 370-9400, and ask to speak to one of the clergy. Your call and any subsequent services will be strictly confidential and your privacy will be respected. 

Meals - We offer meals of condolence, for someone coming home from the hospital, or for others in distress as needed.




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