Who We Are – The Essence

In Kehilla, we strive to treat each other with kindness and compassion every day. Sometimes an extra effort is called for. The Chesed (Lovingkindness) Committee coordinates requests from Kehilla members who have a short term need for food, rides, shopping or other services as a result of an injury, illness, birth, or other sudden life change. If you have such a need, just contact Dee at or call her at 547-2424 ext. 100 to let her know. She will notify the Chesed Committee and someone will contact you, usually within a day or two…it’s that easy.

The Things We Do – More Than You Might Think

Throughout the year we – the Kehilla Community – help by bringing meals to folks post-surgery or to families with new babies, and by visiting and bringing meals to those who have lost a loved one. We have given rides to the doctor, the chiropractor, the store, and to various Kehilla events that members would otherwise have missed. We have called those who have limited mobility, to chat and stay connected, and have visited folks who are older and less able to leave their homes. We have shopped for food and run errands for people who are house-bound. We have offered workshops on caregiving, with a focus on eldercare and caring for the caregiver, and have initiated two ongoing caregiver support groups.

In a growing community it is easy to begin to feel lost. New members need a way to meet the people in their new Jewish family. Over the years, the Chesed Committee has organized Kehilla-wide brunches within neighborhoods. Usually held in the fall, the brunches have allowed members to spend some time getting to know Kehilla neighbors who live nearby. We hope that people will use the brunches to connect, re-connect and deepen their personal relationships. We also hope that in the future this will facilitate organizing help for those in need – making it easier to both ask for help from Kehilla and for congregants to reach out to those in need, particularly through our ongoing effort to create Neighborhood Caring (Chesed) Groups.

Neighborhood Caring (Chesed) Groups – A Supportive Future

We continue to work on a program of dividing up the Kehilla community into four to five smaller neighborhood caring groups. Thus far, the one group in El Cerrito/Richmond is doing wonderfully! The idea is to have people in Kehilla who live relatively close to each other get to know one another through additional informal gatherings augmenting our annual neighborhood brunches. The hope is that when a Chesed need arises it will be addressed by those close by who are at least somewhat familiar with the person/family.

In order for other groups to get up and running, we need people to volunteer to coordinate caring groups in their neighborhood. The Chesed Committee will train you in how to do this…it’s not rocket science and it is a fabulous way to meet your neighbors and your volunteer hours.

If you are interested in learning more about this delightful opportunity, please contact the Chesed committee at Chesed@kehillasynagogue.

Free Loan Program – G’Milut Chesed

Kehilla’s Free Loan program is administered by our committee. It’s a quick and easy way for Kehilla members to get some temporary financial relief during difficult times. Loans of about $500 are available for about six months. No interest, no fuss, no muss.

Contact the Chesed Committee at or send a note to the Kehilla office c/o Sasha Gottfried. Confidentiality will be respected.

Ditty’s Closet – A Virtual Closet for the Free Loan of Real Durable Medical Equipment

Founded in 2013, Ditty’s Closet continues to make equipment already owned by members available to those of us who need physical aids during rehab and recovery following surgery or an illness. At the present time, nearly 50 items–from ice machines to walkers and from crutches to shower benches– are in use or waiting for their next opportunity to be useful. You can find out more about Ditty’s Closet here. Contact to discuss items on the list that might be helpful to you or a loved one. Note: if you have items to add to the inventory (you keep them at your house), please contact us! Biggest ongoing needs: walkers with seats and shower chairs.

What You Receive through Chesed Opportunities – A Gift Each Time

It is a wonderful feeling to both give and to receive this loving kindness from Kehilla. We have great fun at our neighborhood chesed groups, love providing and receiving support from our neighbors, and encourage all of you to become active participants in providing random acts of loving kindness. If you are interested in joining a group in your neighborhood, or would like to speak with someone to find out more about it, please email us at for information.

Yours with loving kindness,
The Chesed Committee

  • The Mi Shebeirach List: a note from the Chesed Committee The healing power of our community is available to us in many ways. One of them is during the Torah service.  As part of the healing prayer, in the Mi Shebeirach, we mention the names of those who are ill, injured, in distress or recovering. During that prayer, the community prays for physical, psychological and/or spiritual … >>
  • An Interview with Laurel Zien, Chesed Committee Co-Chair by Bill Lazarus
    Laurel Zien, co-chair with Hedy Straus of Kehilla’s Chesed (Lovingkindness Committee), remembers her mom’s generous spirit. “If Ditty was wearing a coat and you said something like I like that a lot, she’d say, ‘Here, take it.’ Anything in her closet you were welcome to have.”
    About seven years ago, after her husband died, … >>
  • Ditty’s Closet Update – Fall 2015 by the Chesed (Lovingkindness) Committee
    Several new items have been “donated” to Ditty’s Closet this past year, including a beautiful, brand-new, large-wheeled wheelchair, for which we are very grateful. Items that are frequently borrowed include:  walkers with brakes and a seat, a shower transfer bench that bridges over a bathtub, an ice machine for post surgical … >>

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