The Jewish Wellness and Healing Center (JWHC) emphasizes communal well-being by providing an organized approach to programming and outreach services that help address identifiable needs within the Greater New Haven Jewish Community. Through an ongoing needs assessment (and in collaboration with synagogue rabbis and lay leaders, agency professionals and community stake holders), the JWHC addresses areas of need which offer value add-on programming of a spiritual, emotional and educational nature within existing Jewish institutions.
JWHC Program Mission
Judaism’s positive outlook on life, affirmed through traditional Jewish resources and combined with psychological insights, serves as a foundation for practices of wellness and healing. In individual and communal times of crisis and in the daily challenges of living meaningful and spiritually fulfilling lives, Judaism offers support which can elevate our humanity and offer new paths of connection to that which is greater than our individual selves. Through study, spiritual reflection and psychological support, the Jewish Wellness and Healing Center addresses concerns of mind, body and soul. It is a holistic approach to Jewish life and living which approaches need where it is identified. The Jewish Wellness and Healing Center is not locked into a physical place. Rather, we take programs and support groups into the community, meeting the needs of individuals in places which are most accessible to them.
The JWHC offers an on-going Bereavement Group. This group provides an opportunity for individuals who have lost a loved one to reflect with others who can understand the immediacy of loss and the struggles which one faces in the aftermath of a loved one’s death.
Caregiver Support Groups
This group is for individuals who are coping with the needs of elderly and frail loved ones. The group takes place monthly on a Thursday evening at Tower One/ Tower East in New Haven (7:00 – 8:30 p.m.). Please contact Michelle O’Brien at the Towers (203) 722-1816, ext. 170.
Community Educational Offerings
Rabbi Sommer teaches classes which utilize Jewish texts as a gateway to spiritual insight and personal reflections. Twice a month at the Shoreline Jewish Federation office in Guilford, there is a class entitled, “The Healing Power of Psalms”; and monthly, a class on Pirke Avot, an ethical tractate from the Talmud, offers a jumping off point for reflections on the moral compass of our daily lives. Texts are provided with English translation and no prior study experience is required to participate. Please contact Jill Lesage at the Jewish Federation Shoreline office (203) 387-2424, ext.375.
Community Professional Groups
The JWHC provides both a venue and a coordinating role to facilitate discussions for different professional groups in the Greater New Haven community.
Monthly, Jewish Pastoral Care Professionals (individuals who are engaged in providing pastoral care and counseling in a variety of settings) meet to discuss the challenges and opportunities in providing care and counseling from a Jewish perspective.
Bi-monthly, rabbis in the Greater New Haven community gather in the spirit of fellowship to discuss issues of local, national and international concern. These meetings provide an occasion for rabbis who represent the New Haven Board of Rabbis on various community bodies to report on new developments.
Individual and Group Pastoral Counseling
The JWHC offers individual and group pastoral counseling focusing on issues of loss of a loved one, life transitions, unemployment, changing family dynamics and other issues of spiritual and emotional concern.
Outreach to Individuals in Nursing Homes and Rehabilitation Facilities
In coordination with community nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities, and through a partnership with rabbis serving congregations, Rabbi Sommer makes pastoral visits to Jewish individuals who are residents at these facilities. As part of the mission of the JWHC, the pastoral outreach is provided to individuals who may not have roots in the Greater New Haven Jewish community or who may not have an affiliation with a local synagogue.
Outreach to Senior Adult Living Communities
The JWHC, in partnership with several local Senior Adult Living Communities, provides monthly outreach programs in a variety of settings:
- Tower One/Tower East (New Haven): A monthly discussion group that focuses on contemporary issues exploring the ethical concerns which touch each of our lives.
- Maplewood at Orange: A monthly discussion group focusing on contemporary issues through a Jewish lens.
- Coachman Square (Woodbridge): Bi-monthly discussions on current events
- The Whitney Center (Hamden): Bi-monthly discussions focusing on ethical and moral dilemmas in contemporary life.
- Village at Mariner’s Point (East Haven): A bi-monthly discussion on contemporary issues
For more information, on the Pastoral Care portion of the JWHC, please email Rabbi Fred Hyman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (203) 389-5599, ext. 135.
For more information on the Educational component of the JWHC, please email Sydney Perry at email@example.com or call (203) 389-5599, ext. 117.