Rabbi Isaac N. Trainin Bikur Cholim Coordinating Council

The tradition of bikur cholim (be-core kho-leem), Hebrew for "visiting the sick," is an imperative to visit and support the needs of those who are ill or isolated. Visiting those in need brings comfort and reinforces connections to life.

In 1986 Rabbi Isaac N. Trainin created The Coordinating Council on Bikur Cholim to advocate for and to help facilitate the development of vibrant synagogue sponsored and community-based bikur cholim groups. To secure these goals, the Coordinating Council was organized to provide: consultation, training, print and audio-visual resource materials, information and referral services, and an annual conference.

In 1999 the Coordinating Council became a program of Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services (JBFCS), a leading mental health and social service agency in the New York metropolitan area. The Coordinating Council remains a service program inclusive of the entire Jewish community.

We offer consultation, training workshops and follow up support as requested by synagogues, schools, and community groups, wanting to create or maintain a bikur cholim programs. Training topics include Listening Skills, Bikur Cholim Do’s and Don’ts, and The Visitor’s Role. We teach skills that inspire confidence and provide step-by-step guidelines for the visit. We have assisted more than 100 synagogues, schools, community groups and organizations throughout the NY metropolitan area.

Each Fall we host an annual conference in New York City to engage, inspire and educate those interested in bikur cholim. This conference raises awareness of the importance of bikur cholim for the well being of the individual and community and to offer a structure for people/organizations to come together to learn and network. Our conference attracts people from the tri-state area and beyond.

Past conference keynote speakers include Elie Weisel, Samuel Klagsburn, M.D., Rabbi Moses Tendler, M.D., Rabbi Peter Rubinstein, Rabbi Meir Fund, Rabbi Avi Weiss, Rabbi Simkha Weintraub, Rabbi Tzvi Blanchard and Blu Greenberg.

The conference offers basic skills training and organizing assistance along with other informative topics. Workshops are facilitated by experts in their field. Recent conference workshops have included: Mindful Visiting: Transforming the Heart through Compassion and Self-Awareness; Ethical Wills; Bikur Cholim the MTV way: Organizing Teen and College Projects; Storytelling as a Tool in Bikur Cholim; Send in the Clowns—uses of Humor in the Visit; For Rabbis Only: Worst Cases, Best Practices in Rabbinic Bikur Cholim.

Rita J. Kaplan Jewish Community Programs are soley supported by the generosity of individuals and foundations. We are grateful to UJA Federation of New York for their extraordinary support of these programs. 

Synagogues, Bikur Cholim Programs & Caring Committees are encouraged to become affiliated with us.

There is a modest fee for training and publications, all other services are offered free of charge.

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