When You Are Ill

When You Are Ill

Illness is a part of life. Everyone experiences illness or frailty of some kind. Being ill, whether physically or mentally, for a brief time or over a long period, whether living alone or with others, can be painful, distressing, or isolating. We may not feel our normal selves – or our sense of self may be deeply influenced by our experiences with pain, with illness, with confinement or disability or even stigma. Our outlook on the world or on God may be challenged or changed. An illness or a disability can come with a sense of heightened vulnerability, and a need or desire for understanding, support, and connection. Sometimes when we are ill we are also more open to our spirituality or yearn more palpably for healing and growth. We may move from a place of deep religiosity to a place that is more agnostic or atheist. We may move from a secular place to one that contemplates the world beyond. This is because illness is inherently alienating. It is as if we are suddenly in a foreign place. We may not recognize our own inner terrain. Out of this experience we may shift in our sense of self, the world around us, and our  relationship to the spirituality of life.

If you are affected by illness, or someone you care for is in need of help, guidance, strength, or inspiration, here are ways to find spiritual support, comforting perspective, and ready-made resources.

Rabbinical support

The skilled and understanding ears of the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center rabbis are available to you in person and over the phone if you are in our service area (Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and northern Santa Clara counties). Each of our rabbis has extensive, specialized experience in chaplaincy and spiritual care, and in the issues around illness and dying, loss and healing. They bring human compassion, comfort, and hope in the face of pain and struggle. To learn more about how we can help, simply call or email us to be connected with one of our rabbis. Our regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 9am to 5 pm. If you are seeking support elsewhere in the U.S., go to ncjh.org for a listing of Jewish healing centers and programs throughout North America, or contact us for assistance with Information and Referral.

Prayers, reading and study materials, healing music

BAJHC can help you find blessings for healing and shalom, prayers for caregivers, and materials that offer comfort and help focus people’s healing prayers. Please contact us for more information.

Specially adapted holiday supplies

BAJHC produces specially adapted supplies for people who are in hospitals during the Jewish High Holy Days, Chanukah, or Passover. These are provided through the Spiritual Care or Social Services departments of the hospitals in our service area. To request a “Holidays in an Envelope” for yourself or someone else, contact a chaplain or social worker on the unit. These materials are specially available for those who are in a psychiatric unit or other treatment setting for mental illness.

Information and Referral

We do not endorse any specific service or professional. We are available, however, for support as you thing through decisions as: finding a nursing home, considering hospice, grief support, and other concerns.

Support for Caregivers

Serious illness can bring profound challenges to caregivers. Within a shifting landscape of time and relationships, there are inherent stresses, needs to address, demands of the soul; feelings and concerns are stirred, and all sorts of questions may arise. Internal shifts can be similar to one who is ill.

If you are seeking rabbinical support for yourself as a caregiver, or for someone close to you who is ill or dying, you may contact us directly. To learn more please call 415-750-4197 or email jewishhealing@bajhc.org and you will be connected with one of our rabbis.

If you are seeking support outside the San Francisco Bay Area, go to ncjh.org for a listing of Jewish healing centers and programs throughout North America, or contact us for assistance with Information and Referral.