October 12, 2006
Wanted: someone to help suffering Jews
(Page 3 - Previous Page)"The community has to value this service," Asikoff said.
Speyer believes "the Jewish community should pick up the bill."
Indeed, some Jewish communities have full-time chaplains to provide services around the city.
Los Angeles has a 24-hour emergency hotline through the Board of Rabbis, created in response to The Federation study. The hotline has a dozen rabbis on call who can provide emergency chaplaincy services to some institutions for unaffiliated Jews in life-threatening or crisis situations. The hotline, which costs $30,000 annually, is just a small step in meeting the growing needs of the elderly and sick, 50 percent, at least, of which are unaffiliated.
Diamond is dreaming bigger: "My dream would be to have three community rabbis, one for the city, one for the valleys and one for inmates.
"It is a dream awaiting funding," he said, estimating the cost at $500,000 a year.
Or, as Speyer said, "Where is the priority for the people looking for some meaning to the end of their lives?"