(Courtesy of NechamaComfort)
As October draws to a close, fashion blogger Elizabeth Savetsky and artist Elizabeth Sen will join bereaved parents from all walks of life to share their devastating journeys of loss and healing at NechamaComfort’s annual fundraising event. For the first time in the organization’s history, the event will be entirely virtual through a free live stream accessible across the globe at 8 p.m. (EST) on October 25.
NechamaComfort is an international nonprofit organization supporting families of all Jewish backgrounds through the trauma of miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss. It offers individual and family counseling, support groups, training for medical personnel, and sensitivity programs for communities and workplaces.
“One in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage—that means every Jewish community is affected, and every story is unique and tragic,” said Reva Judas, founder and director of NechamaComfort. “The challenges these families face can be devastating physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and there is still so little understanding out there about how best to support them. Through individual and group counseling and educational outreach, NechamaComfort is working to change that.”
Each October—which is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month—NechamaComfort hosts an event to raise awareness and help educate broader communities about how they can offer support to bereaved parents.
The program will begin with a memorial service where all families who have lost babies can come together to commemorate their children’s brief lives. An invocation will be delivered by Rabbi Yosef Adler, spiritual leader of Rinat Yisrael and dean of the Torah Academy of Bergen County.
In addition to Savetsky and Sen, other families who have been affected by pregnancy and infant loss will share their stories and speak about the role NechamaComfort played in their healing process. Attendees will also hear from a wide range of communal figures—from rabbis and mikvah attendants to healthcare staff—about the crucial impact NechamaComfort’s education initiatives have made on their ability to care for bereaved families with sensitivity, kindness and respect.
The evening’s theme will emphasize growth, of both the personal and botanical kind, with a special session led by a professional gardener about how attendees can raise their own lavender plants at home. “The choice of lavender represents relaxation and calm,” said Judas.
NechamaComfort will also unveil an artist’s rendering of a virtual memorial at the event. This will be an online site where parents can honor their babies’ lives by sharing pictures and stories about their children, which the organization plans to launch in the coming year. “This is something we have wanted to offer our clients for a long time: a place where their children’s legacy and stories live on in a real way,” said Judas.
In addition, NechamaComfort will recognize Rabbi Adler during the evening for his dedication to its mission and tireless support of grieving families. “Too often families feel they must keep their grief hidden,” said Judas. “Rabbi Adler has been a courageous advocate for allowing families to grieve their losses within the framework of Jewish communal life.”