extended family member for seniors who
who have been ill."
had no one else available to take them."
Rabbi Herbert Yoskowitz organizes
the Caring Community program at
Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington
also are stepping in to pro-
Hills, led by members Diane Howett of
Farmington Hills and Susie Graham of
thing from substance abuse to illness,
"It is based upon the premise of 'love
bereavement, divorce, gay issues, child-
thy neighbor as yourself,"' Rabbi
rearing and marriage.
Yoskowitz said. "Not everyone has fami-
Many congregations, including Adat
ly outside of the synagogue to turn to,
and Congregation Shaarey
so we hope our congregation can be
has synagogues in
there. The group is there to make sure
West Bloomfield, hold
everyone has someone they can count
on. They may visit someone in a nursing healing services, connecting those in
need of spiritual or physical healing.
home or be there if someone has a fami-
Temple Israel employs a social worker.
ly member with an illness.
Beth El in Bloomfield Township
"Recently, one of our members - with
on staff to help with
no family needed outpatient surgery, so I
called one of our committee chairper-
host outside groups
sons who arranged for someone to take
are run by syn-
her to the appointment, stay with her
and take her home."
At Congregation B'nai Moshe in West
Bloomfield, the Bikkur Cholim
For nearly 12 years, Jerry Bricker of
Committee has been visiting congre-
Arbor has benefited from the
gants and their extended family mem-
camaraderie of the
bers in their homes, nursing facilities
Temple's Gathering of Men
and hospitals for the last five years.
groups. The temple is in Farmington
"Our goal is to give community sup-
port to individuals and families who are
"What I discovered was that I was
dealing with illness — some of which
missing the support of having men
are long-term," said Laurie Novetsky of
to and share my feelings, fears
West Bloomfield, who chairs the 15-per-
said Bricker, who coordi-
son group with Dr. Ted Wizenberg of
with Martin Gorosh of
West Bloomfield. "I found that most
'As a result of illness, there are many
men are good at side-by-side relation-
who are isolated. We, as committee
ships — two guys with an objective to
members, address requests to have a Mi
being with a buddy to go golfing with or
Shebeirach [prayer for healing,' said for
on a car with. Now I've found
them during the Torah service or to pro-
relationships with men
vide transportation to and from services,
when we are in pain
or are afraid."
In addition to spending time with
74In synagogues throughout Detroit,
members when they are ill, Novetsky has
congregants begin their days with
established ongoing relationships that.go
and closeness of the
beyond the visits.
For others, the most worthwhile rela-
"The daily minyan is the ultimate
tionships also were made with those
group," said Rabbi Daniel
Nevins of Adat Shalom Synagogue.
"The most rewarding thing I've ever
"At Temple Israel, many who come to
done was to be part of the Temple Israel
morning service start coming while
Kever Avot [Graves of Our Ancestors]
are saying Kaddish [prayer for the
program," said Kenneth Lipson of West
but they never leave," said Marc
Temple Israel director of pro-
After volunteering to accompany older
adults to visit the gravesite of a loved
"They find they are with others who
one during the High Holiday season, he
become an extended family providing
said, "I won't forget being able to be an
Sue Leff of Farmington Hills serves dinner to Reuben Levy of Novi, and his wife . lh •
holding then 3-week-old Eliana as part of a Beth Shalom program.
comfort and support."
Kenneth Lipson began to attend the
Temple Israel morning service when his
father passed away nearly six years ago.
"People just took me in," said Lipson
of West Bloomfield. "When I had sur-
gery, the Temple minyan group was
there for me. We are there for each
other. The morning minyan is truly a
second family. There are people who go
who are older and don't have a lot of rel-
atives and we are there for each other."
Looking for ways to extend connections
among synagogue members, some con-
gregations are offering smaller programs
with a specific focus.
One way of doing this is by "linking
congregants to programs by neighbor-
hood," said Dr. Wolfson, who knows of
one synagogue where the Havdalah serv-
ice is organized by ZIP code.
"People connect over common inter-
ests, be those particular topics of study,
service projects or social opportunities,"
said Ahuvia of Beth Israel. "When peo-
ple share stories of their own lives, com-
munity grows closer."
The Oak Park-based Temple Emanu-
El Temple Talk series features synagogue
members who speak about their own
areas of expertise to fellow congregants
interested in the same subjects.
"Many synagogues offer chavurot,
small friendship circles to connect mem-
bers to each other and to the congrega-
tion," Dr. Wolfson said of programs, like
the long-time groups at Congregation
Beth Ahm in West Bloomfield.
Synagogues unite their members
through sisterhoods and men's clubs,
book clubs, couples clubs, singles clubs,
clubs for seniors and match-making
groups, like Temple Israel's Beshert
Connection, a Jewish singles network.
Many go on to expand relationships
begun in the structure of meetings into
personal friendships. Lipson's family par-
ticipates in a monthly dinner club,
formed from friends he met at the
Temple Israel morning minyan.
"We've also got Israel trip families who
FAMILIES on page 38