Rabbi-detective needs the public’s help


Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh received a B.A. from Skidmore College and was ordained as a Rabbi from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She is fortunate to be involved in so many facets of the community including serving as the chaplain for JF&CS and an instructor for CAJE. This will be her fifth year serving as the visiting Rabbi in Decatur, Ill. She has also served congregations in both Sydney and Perth, Australia. When not writing her weekly BLOGS, she can be found running marathons.

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

I need your assistance. I want to visit your loved ones in Skilled and Assisted Living Facilities. However, I cannot spend time with your parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and children unless you contact me at JF&CS and provide me with the name of the place where your family is living. It takes one telephone call and there I am! I spend my work days going in all directions around the greater St. Louis area visiting with Jewish residents both affiliated and unaffiliated. It does not matter. I see everyone.

Some of the people I visit have been away from the Jewish community for decades. People are quick to tell me they are not “religious.” People are happy, however, to have someone to talk to. It pleases most that the Jewish community has not forgotten them. It doesn’t take long for even the most removed individual to somehow reconnect. And even if s(he) does not, who doesn’t welcome a visitor in an often lonely environment?

I liken my work to a detective. While some places are extremely cooperative and keep me updated with new Jewish residents, others are not. It is often other Jewish residents who let me know someone new has arrived. But there are many who go unseen, especially in more remote places.

Please help me fulfill the mitzvah of helping to care for the elderly and visiting the sick.

My telephone number at JF&CS is 314-993-1000. My direct line is 314-812-9382. The message is confidential.