Bikur Cholim, visiting the sick, is a term encompassing a wide range of activities performed by an individual or a group to provide comfort and support to people who are ill, homebound, isolated and/or otherwise in distress. Bikur Cholim can include such activities as: visiting patients in a hospital, rehabilitation center, or nursing home; visiting people who are restricted to their homes; transporting those who are ill or impaired on errands or field trips; providing telephone contact and reassurance to those who are ill or homebound.
The act of Bikur Cholim is a mitzvah, a moral and spiritual obligation incumbent upon all Jews to perform. Bikur Cholim is an essential quality of good inter-personal relationships. It reflects the primary Biblical value “And you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). By fulfilling this role, we deeply enrich both our lives and the lives of those we visit.
What kinds of things do Bikur Cholim visitors do?
Bikur Cholim visitors are involved in manifold ways of helping – either as an individual, in an “army of one,” or as part of a coordinated team effort. There are so many ways one can help; caring gestures include:
- Visiting a patient at home, in a hospital or nursing home.
- Phoning a homebound senior before Shabbat.
- Bringing food to a family with an ill member or to a home with a new baby.
- Driving someone to a medical appointment.
- Saying psalms together or on behalf of the ill.
- Calling when you are at the store and saying, “I am here. What can I pick up for you?”
Beth El’s Bikur Cholim Committee reaches out to congregants who are ill, recently hospitalized or given birth, have recently experienced the loss of a loved one, or feel disconnected from the community. Our committee telephones and/or visits, providing ongoing comfort or companionship. They also provide information on Beth El services: the Klei Kodesh (clergy), Chesed Committee, and Jewish Family Service.
This support continues until the recipient no longer needs the services. If you know of anyone who would benefit from receiving Bikur Cholim services, contact the Beth El Office at 856-675-1166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in joining the Bikur Cholim Committee, please call Leila Cupersmith at 267-261-9804.