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Rachamim: A Sacred Space for Grieving Parents

Rachamim is a project inspired by the tragic deaths of three young members of our community and shaped by the creative healing of their parents.  Rachamim comes from the Hebrew word Rechem, meaning womb. It is the boundaryless love of a parent for her child, a love that stems from the deep knowledge that the child is both of her and not of her.

Rachamim offers safe and comforting support for others who are grieving a child. Based on the idea that Judaism understands creativity as an inherent human capacity, Rachamim integrates imaginative activities with Jewish teachings.   Healing is viewed as an engagement with the creative process that strengthens the capability to survive.

Jewish sacred texts emphasize the creativity of both the divine and the human; from the beginning of Genesis when the world is created through the lengthy descriptions of the sacred spaces we are invited and instructed to build to encounter the divine.  In the face of shattering loss, when we engage in creative work, we chose life.

The three founding members of this support group create memorials, legacies, memories and intimacy and, in so doing, find connection, hope and survival.   We meet monthly, sometimes in each other’s homes, sometimes at TIOH and sometimes on field trips to investigate creative and sacred places.  We welcome others who might find this kind of engagement helpful and each of us is available for individual introductory meetings.

Allison Dworetsky is a teacher in LAUSD where she advocates for creative engagement in the curriculum.  Her daughter, Rebecca, died on July 5, 2019 at eighteen years old.

Sandra Klein is an artist whose images, whether captured with a camera or composited, portray a layered world which, though filled with anxiety and trauma, still is rich with joy. Her son, Noah, died on June 5, 2017 at thirty-two years old.

Debra Linesch directed the Graduate Department of Marital and Family Therapy at Loyola Marymount University for over thirty years and is committed to the healing potential of the expressive arts.  Her son, Nico, died on January 3rd 2017 at age thirty-one.

Resources for Grieving Parents

Kinsuguri for Rachamim

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