The Tapestry of Our Lives: Connection and Compassion
Posted by Marjorie U. Sokoll
On Tuesday, September 27, JF&CS hosted an Evening of Dedication celebrating the 18th anniversary of Jewish Healing Connections and the dedication of the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Jewish Healing. Betty Ann, of blessed memory, was a founding member of the Jewish Healing Connections Advisory Council; she cared deeply about the program because, as a teenager, she survived Hodgkins lymphoma, which left her weakened and prone to chronic medical issues. Sadly, Betty Ann passed away last August. In her memory, her husband, Dan, made a very generous gift to Jewish Healing Connections and we are proud to rename the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Jewish Healing in her honor.
Betty Ann understood the importance of connecting with and supporting others throughout one's life. How auspicious, then, that this dedication was held on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Elul, the birthday of the world. Several days later, during Rosh Hashanah, we celebrate the birthday of the first human beings, Adam and Eve. In Genesis, after creating Adam, God realized that human beings need connection and support, saying, "It is not good for people to be alone" (2:18). So God created Eve. Creation of the world and the creation of human beings is all about the interconnectedness of all life. Betty Ann understood that.
During a difficult surgical procedure many years ago, Dan shared that Betty Ann experienced a powerful vision of life and community as a tapestry or prayer shawl of the intertwined threads of our lives. The result - her beautiful poem,Tapestry.
The Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Jewish Healing will continue to help people feel a sense of connection when facing the challenges of illness, loss, or isolation by offering spiritual and communal supports to foster hope, comfort, and wholeness guided by Jewish tradition. Last week’s evening of dedication on the 25th of Elul recognized Betty Ann's legacy, ensuring the program's mission into the future.
Marjorie U. Sokoll, MEd, Director of Spirituality and Aging, is the founder and director of the JF&CS Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Jewish Healing. Marjie also provides oversight for the JF&CS Alzheimer’s/Related Disorders Family Support Program, spiritual support for the JF&CS Charlotte & Richard Okonow Parkinson’s Family Support Program, and is a founding partner at the Kalsman Institute for Judaism and Health. Marjie earned degrees in sociology and social work from Boston University and Tel Aviv University respectively, a graduate degree in counseling from Northeastern University, and holds a certificate of thanatology from the National Center for Death Education.