A very special Mitzvah day: Creating hospice comfort bags

Posted by Rhonda Wehner, Jewish Care Services Program Manager

A very special Mitzvah day: Creating hospice comfort bags
At the Beth Tikvah Mitzvah Day, the family and fellow congregants created almost 150 comfort bags.

On Sunday, April 29, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Mitzvah Day program at Congregation Beth Tikvah in Hoffman Estates, one of more than 400 communities served by JourneyCare. A Mitzvah Day is a day in Jewish communities when congregation members come together to perform a wide variety of deeds that benefit their community. Many congregations in our service area have these annual programs.

The focus of this particular Mitzvah Day was inspired by a Jewish Care Services patient we cared for last year in our Marshak Family Hospice CareCenter in Glenview.

After the patient had died, I reconnected with this family when they attended our annual Yizkor Service that our Jewish Care Services program provides each High Holy Day season. They spent time sharing their hospice experience with me. The patient’s husband recalled that, during their time at the CareCenter, their family realized they forgot some items from home that would have been helpful. Things like: a toothbrush and toothpaste; perhaps some reading and writing materials; a journal for keeping notes; and a handmade blanket for warmth.

Because the family was overwhelmed by the love and compassion shown to them by JourneyCare, they wanted to give back. So, the patient’s husband asked if he could have his congregation create what he called “Comfort Bags” for Jewish Care Services and all five of our CareCenters. Included in each bag would be a letter from him explaining the inspiration behind the bag and why it was given. Doing Mitzvot is a primary tenet of Judaism; giving to others with no expectation of thanks is the ultimate “good deed.”

And so, at the Beth Tikvah Mitzvah, the family and fellow congregants created almost 150 bags, including some especially for children! I attended the event, greeted those creating the bags and shared information on JourneyCare, Jewish Care Services, and the patients and families that will be benefitting from their generosity. 

These congregants will never know who receives a bag and how meaningful it will be, which makes their selflessness so special. Thank you to this family for “paying it forward” to other families in hospice and palliative care! And thank you to all our JourneyCare staff members, who make families feel so well cared for at a very difficult time in their lives!

volunteers making hospice comfort bags

Learn more about JourneyCare's Jewish Care Services on our website.


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