US Chesed News

US Chesed support Prison and Hospital chaplains from Jewish Visiting
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Thursday 29th September 2016

September has been a busy month for US Chesed with our annual training workshop for prison chaplains on the 7th September and our  Jewish Visiting Conference for Hospital chaplains and visitors on the 20th September. 

At the prison chaplaincy conference we heard from our counsellor Gill Cashdan who gave everyone suggestions on their first meeting with a prisoner and how to recognise when a prisoner (and /or their family) needed professional help. In the afternoon the chaplains got together in small groups to discuss their roles, including those areas that are controversial. The highlight of the day was a talk by a Jewish ex-prisoner who, even though it was difficult for him to relive that time in his life, spoke to us honestly about what it was like to be a prisoner and how chaplaincy was a support to him – and what we could to do provide even better support - mainly trying to visit more frequently! A useful and moving experience for us all. 

Jewish Visiting Conference

We were delighted to see over 25 of our hospital chaplains and visitors at our second annual conference on the 20th September. The evening, held at JW3, was an opportunity for Jewish Visiting chaplains and visitors to network and gain insights from our guest presenter as well as from colleagues. The evening began with a presentation by Gill Yentis, Dementia Development worker from Jewish Care who spoke to attendees about Supporting Patients Living with Dementia.   Some of the topics that Gill covered included:  helping volunteers to understand the causes and symptoms of dementia and how we can respond to challenging  remarks and behaviour of people with dementia

The informative evening was also an opportunity to show appreciation and recognition for the hard work and effort made by volunteers. In particular, a presentation was made to Gordon Ballon and to Dr Brian Robinson, both of whom have recently retired from chaplaincy, to mark their longstanding work visiting patients in hospitals.


The evening concluded with an interactive discussion about, “the role of the Jewish chaplain/visitor today.”  Topics included whether it was part of either the visitor’s or the chaplain’s role to educate other faith Chaplains about Judaism, how far should we engage with patients of other faiths and whether it was part of their role to encourage patients to explore their Jewish identity .This valuable exercise allowed chaplains and visitors to discuss important issues while sharing their personal experiences they have had as a chaplain/visitor.

All our chaplains and visitors provide a vital service to anyone who identifies themselves as Jewish. If either you or anyone you know needs their support, please telephone US Chesed on 020 8343 6238 or you can e-mail us at and we will try to assist you.