Car­ing: A Jew­ish Guide to Caregiving

Nao­mi Brudner

  • Review
By – June 25, 2012

In Car­ing, Nao­mi Brud­ner offers prac­ti­cal guide­lines for help­ing a fam­i­ly mem­ber or friend who needs care, whether phys­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal or spir­i­tu­al. Although Ms. Brud­ner calls her book a prag­mat­ic approach to care-giv­ing, what makes it unique is that the entire sub­ject is pre­sent­ed with­in a Torah frame­work. With an empha­sis on the mind-body con­nec­tion, the author shares her knowl­edge in a way that can be appre­ci­at­ed and under­stood by read­ers with diverse lev­els of reli­gious com­mit­ment. Many ref­er­ences are made to Jew­ish con­cepts, espe­cial­ly the mitz­vah of being of ser­vice to some­one in need. 

Among the top­ics she deals with are: how to be a care­giv­er; how to lis­ten and respond effec­tive­ly; how to care for the seri­ous­ly ill, the men­tal­ly ill, and the elder­ly; and var­i­ous ways to be sup­port­ive. The chap­ter on men­tal ill­ness is sim­plis­tic in places, con­fus­ing the symp­toms of an indi­vid­ual who has minor psy­cho­log­i­cal prob­lems with those of some­one suf­fer­ing from a seri­ous men­tal ill­ness such as schiz­o­phre­nia. This reser­va­tion aside, Ms. Brud­ner pro­vides prac­ti­cal tools and wis­dom from the Torah to guide read­ers in car­ing for those in need.

Bar­bara S. Cohen is a tri­al attor­ney in Los Ange­les who spe­cial­izes in child abuse cas­es. She is a mem­ber of NAMI and a sup­port­er of NARSAD, and is an advo­cate for those who suf­fer from men­tal illness.

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