With fall fast approaching, our Chaverim Shel Shalom (CSS) group soaked up the last lazy days of summer with a fun barbecue! CSS participants gathered at Center Communities of Brookline to enjoy a gorgeous August evening with residents of Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL). The aroma of (kosher) burgers and hot dogs on the grill, the sound of laughter from the dining area and the feeling of newfound friendships in the air made this event the perfect summer send-off.

A Perfect Partnership

Chaverim Shel Shalom is our Jewish social group for adults living with mental health challenges. We were thrilled to partner with Hebrew SeniorLife, which provides housing and health care for older adults, for this awesome event. CSS was introduced to HSL by our very own chaplain-in-residence Hali Diecidue, who recognized a unique opportunity to foster a connection between two local Jewish organizations.

Hebrew SeniorLife graciously hosted the barbecue at its Center Communities of Brookline location, and Chaverim Shel Shalom provided the food. About 150 guests, both CSS participants and residents of the senior living community, joined together in the newly renovated dining area to share a meal, make new friends and swap stories and experiences. The residents and staff at Center Communities of Brookline were incredibly kind and welcoming to our group.

Feeling Connected

The barbecue was especially enjoyable for many of our CSS participants because it offered the chance to socialize with peers and make new friends in the Jewish community. Individuals living with mental health challenges often lack invitations to social events and access to religious programming that is welcoming and responsive to their needs. Without access to social, recreational and educational events with Jewish content, people feel excluded from their community and their own religious heritage.

Chaverim Shel Shalom is dedicated to decreasing this social isolation for people with mental health challenges and creating meaningful connections to Jewish traditions and the Jewish community. We are so grateful to Hebrew SeniorLife for partnering with us to pull off such a special and inclusive event, and we hope this is the beginning of many future collaborations between our communities!

If you’re interested in attending upcoming events organized by Chaverim Shel Shalom, please contact Danielle Lubin, Jewish life coordinator, at JewishLife@jfcsboston.org or 781-693-5004.

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