Hands in a circleSynagogue caring communities are built around the tradition of bikur cholim, Hebrew for "visiting the sick." In Jewish tradition it is an imperative to support those who are ill or isolated. Visiting those in need brings comfort and reinforces connections to life. But it’s not easy. Caring communities depend on members to make sure this caring work happens, yet the knowledge and skills of these volunteers varies.

At JF&CS we recognized the need for experienced professionals to educate and support synagogues to create effective caring communities – ones that truly reach out to provide support to each congregant in need. We developed the Caring Communities Resource Network (CCRN) to bring together members of synagogue communities and help them refine their synagogue's caring skills. Each caring community benefits from developing a structure based on a “train-the-trainers” model that is then replicated and tailored to fit each synagogue’s specific needs.  At CCRN community-wide workshops hosted by JF&CS and JFS Metrowest, synagogue lay leaders bring their experience and expertise to collaborate and support each other in building strong and effective caring communities. Currently more than 60 synagogues are members of the CCRN including synagogues throughout Greater Boston, Eastern MA, and Metrowest.

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