“When illness strikes,” says Temple Beth El Cantor Andrew Bernard, “the possibility of healing remains a reality even when the possibility of a cure does not.”
It is with this in mind that Temple Beth El is hosting a panel titled “Healing of Spirit, Healing of Body” at 9 a.m. May 18.
Bernard has served as a cantor at Charlotte’s Temple Beth El since 1999 and as Chaplain Specialist at the Levine Children’s Hospital since 2005.
The panel is part of a weekend devoted to “celebrating the many acts of loving kindness shared amongst Temple Beth El’s congregants and towards the larger community,” says Rabbi Judy Schindler.
The Weekend of Caring and Social Justice will begin with a special 7 p.m. service May 17 called “A Culture of Caring – Celebrating the Quiet Moments of Healing,” which will feature several congregants who have been on both the giving and receiving end of congregational support in the wake of a health or personal crisis.
It will end Sunday with Temple Beth El’s 15th annual Mitzvah Day, in which more than 500 congregants, from toddlers to seniors, pitch in to better the community and help those in need.
Saturday’s panel discussion, free and open to the public, is co-chaired by Louise Frumkin, a social worker and chairwoman of Temple Beth El’s Caring Committee, and Michael Blackman, a physician and Temple Beth El member.
“As a general rule, the medical community doesn’t talk about healing. It focuses on curing,” Blackman said.
Frumkin, who will moderate the discussion, says it is designed to generate “a dialogue about healing and hope in the face of illness and difficulty.”
Bernard will serve as one of the four panelists, who all are community experts on healing. He will be joined by Dr. Derek Raghavan, medical director of the Levine Cancer Institute; Dr. Russ Greenfield, director of Greenfield Integrative Healthcare, PLLC; and Beth Rosenberg, a social worker at Hospice and Palliative Care Charlotte Region. The panelists will each speak for approximately five minutes on their unique perspectives on healing, then will field questions from the audience.
Frumkin hopes family members of those facing chronic illness and other life challenges will attend the panel discussion and that “they’ll come away with some new ways of looking at their situations and some new coping mechanisms.”
Bernard, who said “many people discover that their faith does not have the depth they need to cope with acute or tragic situations,” sees his job and that of other chaplains as one of helping the individual rebuild it in a much more profound way: A way that can help that individual find healing – and perhaps even joy – in his or her journey.