Joint Chaplaincy to Present its Sixth Annual Creating a Caring Community Conference

Our Joint Chaplaincy Committee will host its annual Creating a Caring Community Together conference for area healthcare professionals, social workers, synagogue lay leaders and volunteers, agency representatives, and chaplains. Participants will come together to learn about and discuss the topic of Conversations: Learning to Listen. The event will take place on Thursday, November 15, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Alex Aidekman Family Jewish Community Campus in Whippany.

Dr. Jessica Israel, Corporate Chair of Geriatrics and Palliative Care and the director of the James Maida Geriatrics Institute of RWJ Barnabas Health, will moderate the opening session. Panel members include Chaplain Alisa Danon-Kaplan; Joshua Shor, M.D.; Susan Schechter LCSW; and Maria Mullen BSN, RN. The conference will also offer a number of workshops designed to provide participants with the tools they need to better provide care to all types of people in their own communities. Workshops include: Listening While Creating an Inclusive Community, Capturing Life Stories, Text Study: What Does Jewish Tradition Have to Say?, A Guide to Planning Positive Visits, and a Case Study for Professionals.

“Hearing and listening are two different components of being with someone. We can hear the words without listening to the message,” says Joint Chaplaincy Director Cecille Asekoff. “For professionals and volunteers who work with the frail and/or elderly, it is vital that they are able to listen beyond hearing words and be ‘present’ in their interactions. This helps to validate them and keep them part of the conversation ABOUT them.”

In response to requests from area clergy and educators, Joint Chaplaincy is offering a mental health first aid training on the same day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This training is designed to provide professionals with the resources and knowledge to better address the mental health conditions they face in their daily interactions.

This event is free of charge and open to the public, but registration is required. To register or for more information, contact Geri Wallis at or (973) 929-3136.