One of the themes that surfaced in the presentations I was part of at URJ Biennial was the issue of Boomer focus on health.
Many of us are committed to trying to stay as healthy as we can for as long as we can. Eating better and staying active have been shown to be beneficial. From as far back as Maimonides, this has been part of who we are as a Jewish culture. Many congregation are beginning to look at this issue, not only as to what they serve at functions, but as a basis for text based study on how Judaism approaches health and wellness; both physical and mental. Indeed, this issue has risen to be one of the top requested workshops from Jewish Sacred Aging.
Part of the work we did with the URJ Department of Jewish Family Concerns was to create a Congregational Health Audit. It has 3 pages of program ideas for congregations and a final page check list of things we should be doing on a regular basis. In between these little sections is a text that speaks to the idea of health.
We ran out of these at the Biennial and we promised that we would post the form on the web site so you can download it and make use of it in your congregation or in your organization. There is a growing literature on this subject. A good resource is also the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health, based at HUC in Los Angeles.
Congregational Health Audit – Download PDF file here.
We are posting the Audit now and encourage you to make use of it within your community and family. Another good resource for this issue is the recent book Judaism and Health: A Handbook of Practical, Professional and Scholarly Resources, edited by Levin and Prince, published by Jewish Lights.
Good luck with this project and if you wish, let us know what you are doing with this project so we can share it with others
Rabbi Richard F Address
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.