From book groups to birthday visits, lunch groups to ‘Square Meals’: Community Care Coordinator Eve Hersov gives an insight into community care at Belsize Square Synagogue.
Belsize Square Synagogue’s unique history has helped to create a strong sense of commitment and friendship amongst our members. As Community Care Co-ordinator I work in partnership with the Rabbi, the Cantor, synagogue staff, outside agencies, and our volunteers and members to offer assistance during times of need. We join together to contact and visit members that are ill, grieving, or are in need of an extra bit of comfort and support.
Our joint efforts involve making hospital visits, delivering “Square Meals,” helping people with the transition of needing in-home support, or with a move into residential living. We have strong links with the Association of Jewish Refugees and Jewish Care which help us to create clear pathways towards the most appropriate care options.
While much of our work is with the 200 members that are over age 75, our remit is to help support members of any age with a variety of issues. We are happy to deliver “Square Meals” to members who have had a new-born baby, a child in hospital, or any event that will be helped by a bit of home-cooked food. Sometimes we are simply being a sympathetic ear, helping our younger members to cope with the strains of modern life and juggling work/life balance; and other times it is assisting carers who might be experiencing mental or physical strain. Almost everyone feels better when they have a chance to speak about private matters that can weigh heavily and create a sense of frustration and/or isolation.
Currently we have a team of volunteers that assist with all of these activities as well as making birthday visits to members aged from 80-105! Volunteers also run 2 monthly Lunch Groups that meet in Edgware and NW3. Our “Telefriend” volunteers help to keep in touch with every member over age 75 making calls a few times a year just to ensure that we know how people are doing, and to check if anyone needs help and to keep us aware of life events.
Additionally, a corps of volunteers helps to record “Our Cong,” the synagogue magazine, for distribution to members that are visually impaired. This allows people to keep up to date with synagogue events, gossip, politics, and Fritz Klopstick.
All feedback about our activities is welcomed, as are suggestions and ideas. We are also happy to have volunteers of all ages. Please get in touch.