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Jul 16, 2020

Mishkan Miami Offers Free Jewish Community Bereavement Support Workshop

Perhaps you or someone you know has lost a friend or loved one? How do you cope with losses during this strange time? Learn some strategies from chaplains and therapists during the free, online Jewish Community Bereavement Support Workshop on Wednesday, July 22. The panel is a collaboration between Mishkan Miami, Federation's connection for spiritual support, and Jewish Community Services of South Florida, our primary human services agency. Topics will include information about the bereavement process, practical and spiritual skills training, self-care suggestions and availability of local and national resources. Click here to register. Panelists will include clergy, physicians, mental-health experts, social workers and others counseling participants who have lost loved ones or need spiritual and psychological support during the current pandemic.  

The upcoming public workshop follows a successful Bereavement Support Workshop for Health Care Workers sponsored by Mishkan Miami and Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care. The gathering provided moral, spiritual and psychological support for professionals on the frontline of the battle against the coronavirus. Mishkan Miami Chair Michael Bittel said, "As our community goes through these extraordinary circumstances, we all face many pressing questions and issues. Federation and Mishkan Miami are holding this workshop to address these challenges not only in terms of physical health, but also regarding the mental and spiritual issues that we are facing." 

With social distancing preventing the bereaved from coming together for group rituals and services, Mishkan Miami Director Rabbi Frederick Klein and Mishkan Miami chaplains have officiated at virtual funerals and shiva events. They also have conducted virtual Shabbat services at local hospital and healthcare facilities. Other trained Mishkan Miami volunteers have called families in mourning to offer solace and sympathy. “Many in our community are feeling a tremendous lack of control in the face of social isolation and the rapid spread of this deadly illness,” said Rabbi Klein. “What we can control are the decisions that we make.”

Rabbi Cheryl Weiner, a Mishkan Miami chaplain, recounted how she responded to a family whose mother lived in an assisted living facility and was very ill with the coronavirus. The family was distressed that they were unable to see their ailing parent and wanted a “spiritual connection while she was transitioning.” The Rabbi arranged a telephone call with the family during which she led prayers. “The most challenging aspect is virtual support for people who can’t visit loved ones when they are ill or cannot be by the side of those who are dying,” said Rabbi Weiner. “We provide a way for people to create rituals that support them in their grief and loss.”

For more information about Mishkan Miami or for information about volunteer opportunities, contact Rabbi Klein at rabbiklein@gmjf.org or 305.576.4000, ext. 620.

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