Terry Bittker Caring Committee

The Washington Society of Jewish Deaf (WSJD) Terry Bittker Caring Committee (CC) was established to provide support and resources to our community in times of need. Jewish law says all Jews should do G’milut Chasadim – deeds of loving kindness. This is why WSJD established the Terry Bittker Caring Committee to carry out this Jewish law. The Terry Bittker Caring Committee is made up of volunteers who support the WSJD community.


History of the Terry Bittker Caring Committee

In 2015, Terry Bittker conceived the idea of a WSJD Caring Committee and brought it to the attention of the WSJD Board for consideration. Terry’s idea received unanimous approval. Terry understood that WSJD, like many religious organizations, needed a place where our members could find guidance on life cycle events from a Jewish perspective in times of sadness and joy from people from within our community who understand our specific needs.  She knew the kind of assistance our members of all ages might seek: information about Jewish rituals, contacts for interpreters, counselors or religious leaders who understand our culture, and support during unexpected or ongoing situations.

Sadly, Terry passed away on May 25, 2019.  Members of the Caring Committee who worked closely with Terry and admired her sensitivity to the needs within our community wanted to honor Terry’s memory.

The WSJD Caring Committee was renamed the “Terry Bittker Caring Committee.”   At its February 23, 2020 meeting, the board of the Washington Society of Jewish Deaf approved the Caring Committee’s members’ request to rename the committee in Terry’s memory. 

The Terry Bittker Caring Committee reflects Terry’s vision and tells our members, now and in the future, that it was Terry Bittker who not only conceived the idea but brought it to fruition. We dedicate ourselves to honoring her memory.

The Terry Bittker Caring Committee supports the WSJD community by....

Connecting

WSJD members and/or their families with volunteers as available.

Providing

helpful resources and information.
The death of a loved one is a difficult time. Many decisions have to be made quickly. If friends and family are unsure of what to do, our Bereavement Team can provide guidance to make things easier. Following Jewish tradition, and where possible, the Bereavement Team can help by:
  • Sending condolence cards.
  • Identifying and helping to contact friends and relatives who can help set up meals, prepare for the funeral and the shiva (mourning) period.
  • Sending shiva and obituary announcements to the WSJD community with family permission.
  • Helping to arrange for lay leaders to conduct shiva minyans (brief religious services where a minimum of 10 people must be present).
  • Helping to arrange for house sitters on the day of the funeral.
  • Providing educational materials to help families understand the Jewish rituals and traditions of death.
  • Suggesting where families can order food trays. Often, friends and family donate money towards the cost of the food in memory of a loved one.
  • Providing guidance for those helping in the home with tasks such as staying in the house during the funeral, accepting trays, or helping to set up the shiva. It is a mitzvah for family and friends to do this.
Our Resource Team compiles and shares links and referrals on the WSJD website to include:
  • Psychologists, social workers and therapists for individual, marriage, family counseling, family life education, child development, LGBTQ services, addiction, vocational services, aging, and other topics.
  • Resources for seniors, including independent living communities, assisted living and nursing homes in the greater Washington DC area.

As our volunteer base increases, we hope to be able to provide the following types of support to members in need:

  • Meals: TB-CC volunteers may provide a prepared meal for a member of the community who is homebound due to illness or physical injury or help find individuals who can prepare meals.

  • Physical Presence: TB-CC may offer occasional companionship.

  • Transportation: TB-CC may offer rides to people in need if possible.

  • Errands: At times, TB-CC may run general kinds of errands (i.e., groceries, dry cleaning, etc) for people in need.

  • Life Cycle Notifications: TB-CC may send congratulatory cards for happy Life Cycle events (i.e., birth, marriage, retirement).

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How to Contact the Terry Bittker Caring Committee?

Please communicate with us! If you wish to volunteer for the TB-CC, request support for yourself, or inform the TB-CC of a person/family in need or celebrating a special event, or for any other reason, send an email using this form below.

All information is held in strict confidence. Without your help, we won’t know if someone needs help.

Interested in Volunteering?

Please consider becoming a part of our volunteer network. We always need more volunteers. Volunteers will be notified when support is needed. It will be up to you to decide if you’re able to assist at that time.

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