Kol Haneshama: Jewish End of Life Care Volunteer Program

Kol Haneshama: Jewish End of Life Care Volunteer Program

Kol HaNeshama T’hallel Yah
-Psalm 150

The Kol Haneshama Volunteer program is based on the belief that no one in the Bay Area Jewish community should die without companionship. Our volunteers partner with hospice patients in need of spiritual support at the Jewish Home of San Francisco as well as in home hospices across the West Bay. Kol Haneshama volunteers can be many things to dying people: confidants, silent companions, partners for coffee or manicures, a source of calm and respite, a consistent presence, and/or a much needed connection to the Jewish community that the enforced isolation of aging and illness can restrict.

2019 Training

June 18, 20 – 5:30-9:30pm

June 22-23 – 9am-6pm

June 25, 27 – 5:30-9:30pm

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2019 program.

Volunteers receive forty hours of initial intensive training through the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center, in partnership with Zen Hospice Project and the Jewish Home of San Francisco. The volunteer training calls upon the participants to self reflect on the nature of their experiences with, and reactions to, illness, loss and dying. Volunteers will also gain familiarity with Jewish spiritual care tools such as text study, meditation, listening, simple touch and spiritual assessment, which can facilitate a sense of emotional and spiritual wholeness at the end of life. There are no expectations about levels of religious observance, rather the focus is on our availability as a compassionate presence.

We ask for a minimum one year commitment to volunteering after the training and a weekly commitment of four hours a week. Approximately 3 of those hours will be spent with patients and 1 hour will be spent engaging in reflection and supervision in an average weekly shift. After the initial training, volunteers meet for monthly continuing education learning sessions and weekly check-ins for peer supervision, mentorship and support. Our monthly teachers include rabbis, physicians, chaplains, social workers and other leaders in the field of end of life care. Past monthly learning sessions have included classes on the physiology of dying, working in an interdisciplinary medical team, the use of psalms at the bedside, understanding family systems, caring for people with addiction and mental illness, and many more. We enjoy a primary site relationship with the Jewish Home of San Francisco and all of our volunteer gatherings take place at that site.

For more information contact Rabbi Elliot Kukla at 415.750.3440 or email: ekukla@bajhc.org.