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May 9, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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May 9, 2014

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 9, 2014 PAGE 3A Mourners will find comfort in a grief support group By Yvonne David I recently joined a grief support group offered by the Jewish Pavilion in conjunc- tion with VITAS Innovative Hospice Care and held at Chambrel at Island Lake, a Brookdale Senior Living community. While my beloved mother passed away 18 years ago, my dear father died only last September. But with the recent loss of my father, I now felt like a heartbroken orphan. Swept up in my grief, I decided to seek help. My admiration for Nancy Ludin, executive director of the Jewish Pavilion, and this organization as well as my positive experience with hospice for my late father prompted me to choose the VITAS Bereavement Support Group. While the Jewish Pa- vilion's mission is to improve the lives of the elderly in independent, assisted-living and skilled nursing facilities by offering visits, Shabbat services and Jewish holiday programs in the Orlando area, it is reassuring to see that this organization has now initi- ated a grief support group at Chambrel in Longwood. VITAS Innovative Hospice Care is one of the largest hos- pices in the United States and operates in 18 states. It has a foundation that, for example, can aid patients by paying for flights for out-of-state family members to be with a patient, thus ensuring a me empathic situation for every- one. Its main goal, however, is to provide hospice care at home or in a facility where the patient is most comfortable and can have their needs met appropriately. Rabbi Maurice S. Kaprow, a retired U.S. Navy chaplain, ledthe free six-week VITAS Bereavement Support Group. The quiet space of the craft room at Chambrel provided an arena conducive to focus- ing on our mutual feelings about the loss of a loved one. While the discussions dur- ing the sessions are strictly confidential, Rabbi Kaprow's excellent leadership and ex- planations were essential to Yvonne David our understanding of the grief process. The one-and-a-half hour weekly meetings exam- ined loss and grief, as well as how to adjust, adapt and heal after a loved one dies. As Rabbi Kaprow said, "We take life for granted and we assume that everything that we want will be there tomorrow and it is not so. We all learn that lesson our own way." Relaxation techniques, the myths and truths surround- ing grief, and the benefits of joining a support group were discussed during Week One. Bonding through adversity and discovering how to cope arejusttwo benefits of joining such a group. Emphasis was placed on the fact that every- one's grief is unique, yet no one is alone in this situation. During Week Two, Rabbi Kaprow discussed the signifi- cance and irrationality of grief and mourning, adapted from "Understanding Grief: Help- ing Yourself Heal" by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. It is common for someone in mourning to lose track of time and have difficulty remembering dates. Precious belongings, such as clothing and books, can bring comfort to a mourner. Wearing my father's woolen sweater during the cold win- ter evenings made me feel as if my father were giving me a big hug. Even completing his book of crossword puzzles made me imagine that he was sitting right next to me and we were working on the solutions together. "But what is the solution for overcoming grief?" I asked the rabbi. "You are never going to get over a loss and the reality is that time may make it better. But there is no such thing as taking a year to get over a loss," he explained. Happy memories of a loved one can indeed help a person cope with loss. But note that grief attacks happen often. Sudden mood changes are normal; it is all part of grief and mourning. People should not hold back from crying. It is important to not let one's feelings bottle up and erupt into anger. Unresolved grief for the loss of a loved one could develop into illness. Rabbi Kaprow discussed the spiritual aspects of a departed loved one during Week Three. Although our loved ones may be gone physically, they continue to be with us in our hearts and in our minds. Rather than focus on my father's suffer- ing and the ravages of his lung cancer metastases, I remembered how he lived his life after his heart attack. He would always take the high road during family disputes and hardly ever complained. His positive outlook became legendary--especially when his lung cancer had spread to his spine. He wanted to walk a little further, stand a little taller and laugh a little louder. I now aspire to be like him. One of the Ten Com- mandments states, "Honor thy father and thy mother." Honor the beautiful memo- ries of your loved one, be it a parent, a spouse, a partner, a sibling, or a special friend. The article "The Journey Through Grief" byAlan Wolfet describes the six "reconcilia- tion needs" regarding the loss of a loved one. If you are to heal, you must go through grief and mourning. Grief is an internal feeling when some- one you love dies. A divorce or major illness can elicit the same emotions. Mourning is the outward expression of grief. Acknowledging the Mourners on page 14A A discussion about worldwide Christian persecution On Friday, May 16, from 7p.m. to 9 p.m., Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 1515 South Semoran Blvd, Or- lando, FL 32807, an expert international panel will dis- cuss Christian persecution around the world. The co-organizers of the event are Bruce Lieske and Alan Kornman. "As a Jew I believe in the concept of tikun olam, to repair the world, which is the foundation of Judaism. Right now the Christians are being persecuted and it is incumbent upon the Jews to be the voices of conscience for Christians in their time of need, because it is the right thing to do," stated Kornman. Time will be allotted for a robust question and answer session. All people of con- science should be concerned about these ongoing atroci- ties. This event is free and open to the public and is being held the day before an inter- national prayer march for persecuted Christians at Lake Eola. For more information, please contact Bruce Lieske at Friday evening Shabbat service Congregation Beth Sho- lom of Leesburg invites the public to join Rabbi Karen Allen for Friday evening service on May 9 at 7 p.m. This service will include special readings for Yom HaAtzma'ut, Israeli Inde- pendence Day. Following the service, there will be coffee and re- freshments at the Oneg Shabbat. Guests are en- couraged to stay and enjoy the warmth and friendship of "The Synagogue That Feels like Family." Congregation Beth Sholom is located at 315 North 13th Street in Lees- burg, with the entrance on Center Street. For more information, visit the website at http:// or call congregation president Linda Bork at 352-315-0309. ITAGE Central Florida's Fastest Growing Segment of the Jewish Community Advertising Deadline: May 9, 2014 FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL: 407-834-8787 Dedicated To Serving Our Jewish Community Call on Central Florida's Exclusively Jewish Funeral Home for Details Regarding: Traditional Jewish Funerals Non-Traditional Services Interstate Shipping Pre-Arranged Funerals (Shalom Assurance Plan) Headstone, Grave Markers (Cardinal Memorials) 407-599-1180 640 Lee Rd. Orlando, Florida W.E. "Manny" Adams, LFD Samuel P. (Sammy) Goldstein, Executive Director