When my dear son, Danny Pollak, died in 2008, aged 29, I was overcome by loneliness. I didn’t know any other Jewish families who had suffered the same fate – despite me later finding
out that there are 3 other families in my short street who had also lost a child.
When a newly-bereaved mother reached out to me, eighteen months later, I was happy to help her, and I realised the value of being there for each other. After an initial trial of a peer-support
program, I felt the need for a more social group with fun activities, where members could ‘act’ like normal ... until it really became our new normal, and we could rejoin society.
After five years of managing a variety of activities for the growing number of bereaved families, in 2016 I officially established Jewish Bereaved Parents Inc.
In the short time since its inception, we have brought together other Jewish bereaved parents and watched them regain their confidence as they find new friends they can relate to.
It does not take away our pain, but there is comfort being with others who understand you, who don’t make well-meaning but insensitive comments.
We feel unthreatened, enlivened and relaxed when we are together. I know that the group has been instrumental in bringing some people out of the isolation of their own homes,
and we have helped to create new friendships.
We get together for movie nights, exercise classes, Scrabble games, art and craft, lunches and to make items for charity. In the relaxed atmosphere in which we all understand and
respect each other, we talk openly and freely. Our current members are benefitting by being able to express their feelings, and getting things off their chest, that no one else but us,
in the similar position, can truly understand.
JBP also provides a support group for fathers, with regular gatherings where they have a chance to express their feelings with others who understand and share the same experience.
We operate out of our Quiet Room at the rear of the Lamm Jewish Library of Australia, at 304 Hawthorn Rd, Caulfield South, right beside the Beth Weizmann Jewish Community Centre.
This room is available to our members whenever the library is open. Many functions are also held at private homes.
In October 2018 I launched my book, ‘After the death of your child – a Jewish mother’s perspective’, which shares my experiences but also gives an overview of the Jewish customs
concerning the death of a loved one, and an explanation of the grief process. It also includes a selection of inspirational stories.
This book is available AT NO COST to any Jewish bereaved parent in Australia. Please contact me on
for your copy.
JBP is not affiliated with Melbourne Chevra Kadisha, Bet Olam, any shule or temple, or any other organization.
Cynthia Pollak OAM
Are you a Jewish bereaved parent?
Regardless of how or when your child died,
you may find some comfort in
this book I have just published.
Thanks to several generous donors, this book is available at no charge for every Jewish bereaved parent in Australia.
For your copy, please visit the Lamm library, 304 Hawthorn Rd, Caulfield, or you can contact me directly on 0403-867-494,
or click here