We are a portal to full service hospice care for our clients at the appropriate time, managing all the medical aspects and tending to their spiritual needs. One call to us handles all the arrangements for you. Our service area encompasses the greater Los Angeles area, from West Valley to the South Bay.
The full trajectory of spiritual care begins from the moment of diagnosis, and may move through hospice care and include bereavement. JHCLA partners with a variety of hospice organizations in the Los Angeles area to provide the chaplaincy component for any of their Jewish clients and non-Jewish clients as well, being pioneers in the spiritual care realm of end-of-life. Such care consists of meeting with the clients and their families as needed, advising them of issues in Jewish law and custom regarding illness, end-of-life, and mourning practices, and in general providing the spiritual care and support needed. We are there in a time of crisis to provide meaning and to bring together the sometimes disparate factions among family and friends, all of whom desire the best for their loved one. We can also provide music at the bedside, or canine visits, which often brings comfort.
We provide spiritual care and guidance for individuals, couples and families requiring support for whatever reason, and in a variety of settings. For the seriously ill and their families, we visit them in their own homes, in hospitals and nursing homes, etc. Care in this situation may often involve the bringing together of disparate family voices when faced with the illness of their loved one to help foster a sense of wholeness, so crucial in the healing process.
In addition to those seriously ill, we work with individuals, couples and families in need of counseling for any and all life crises: marital/relationship issues, gender identity, addiction, and bereavement. Spiritual care is as unique as the person seeking it. We tailor a plan of care to the specific needs of the individuals, which may include any of the following: dialogue, text study, prayer and/or meditation and writing. We also provide spiritual direction – a long-term exploration and appreciation of the Divine presence in one’s life. All of the above sessions can be conducted long-distance, via telephone or video conferencing.
In addition to the spiritual care discussed above, JHCLA personnel provide to those in crisis and their families other kinds of support services, including referral to appropriate social service agencies and interfacing with their healthcare professionals in care and medical decisions, including providing complementary medicine resources. JHCLA’s executive director has many years of experience in dealing with the medical and social service communities, and our healthcare advisory board, composed of licensed health-care professionals in the community, is readily available for consultation.
JHCLA conducts Refa’einu Healing Services at Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles. Click here to see information about the upcoming service. These services, coordinated by ordained rabbis, allow anyone seeking quiet, as well as those in crisis, to approach their challenges from a religious/spiritual perspective in a contemplative setting. Each service is followed by an informational dialogue about a particular illness or spiritual challenge. Click here to see a list of speakers we’ve had in the past. Participation is free of charge.
JHCLA provides rabbis to work with physicians and medical students in learning how to provide whole-patient care. Our programs increase understanding about the nature of dealing with illness from the patient’s perspective, create recognition of the special skills of chaplains, and enhance sensitivity to the role of spirituality in medical care and practices about illness, death and dying. In addition to addressing physician seminars and conferences, we maintain a continuing relationship with UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine and the Simms/Mann – UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology.
JHCLA provides training for rabbis, rabbinical students, cantorial students and chaplaincy students from all three of the Los Angeles rabbinical seminaries in chaplaincy and hospice work. Rabbi Howard has taught at the American Jewish University (formerly the University of Judaism), and is currently on faculty of the Academy for Jewish Religion, teaching courses in chaplaincy. JHCLA, through Rabbi Howard, is a partner in Hebrew Union College’s Kalsman Institute. In addition, we provide internship opportunities for students from all three seminaries.
JHCLA offers members of the community an opportunity to do volunteer work such as visiting the sick and helping the center administratively. Our volunteers are provided with requisite training in learning how to be with the sick and dying. By raising the consciousness of the community to the importance of spiritual healing, we are fostering an example of creating conscious community.
As an outgrowth of providing spiritual care to those facing death, the rabbis of JHCLA educate families about the Jewish traditional ways of death and mourning, and provide support for non-Jewish patients and families. We are available to assist with funeral arrangements and can, when needed, officiate at funerals. We also provide bereavement services for the survivors, in both group and individual settings.