Most members of Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County have returned to the synagogue and no longer rely on Zoom for companionship and spirituality. But one program the synagogue created during the pandemic continues.
Worried about the homebound who were becoming more and more isolated, Beth El Program Director Ricardo Munster created a phone program so that those feeling alone could receive a friendly call, keep up with events and just chat.
Callers make sure the members feel part of the community and are reminded that people in the synagogue are thinking about them, Rabbi Greg Harris explained.
One lesson the congregation learned during COVID was the importance of these calls and the need to continue them, regardless of the status of the pandemic, Harris said.
“We’re making sure that people are not forgotten,” he said, noting about 50 people receive regular friendly phone calls.
Now that those receiving the calls are more likely and able to get around, the synagogue also holds lunches throughout the area where the older adults live, including the Charles E. Smith Life Communities and Maplewood Park Place on Old Georgetown Road.
“It’s bringing the synagogue into the community,” Rabbi Harris said.