October 2017

Kesher Nashim (Outreach to Women) is a discussion and support group for women at Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County, Bethesda, Md who have been recently diagnosed with cancer and women who are cancer survivors. It is open to women with any form of cancer. The group has been meeting since it was founded about 15 years ago by congregants Marge London and Susan King, and has been coordinated for the past 10 years by Susan Winarsky.

Meeting over dinner in a restaurant, most recently in September, has been popular. Upcoming meetings are discussion groups scheduled for November 9, January 24, and March 15 at Beth El, and a May 16 dinner meeting offsite. Notices of meetings and events of interest are communicated to members via an email list. Despite the seriousness of members’ situations, our meetings have been not only informative and supportive but also humorous and energetic. It has been inspiring to hear from longtime survivors as well as those newly diagnosed and to share stories, concerns, and coping strategies in a comfortable and confidential environment. Members volunteer to be on call for a designated month to respond to questions and concerns, help find resources, or offer support. The group has no specific leader. Instead, various members have helped coordinate activities and the on-call schedule. One member serves on the Sisterhood Board. Over the years, a variety of women have attended our activities. We have shared resources for treatment, personal experiences, and many issues connected with coping with cancer. Each woman can make use of the group as she wishes. Some close friendships have formed. Some meetings have featured presenters on specific topics, such as “The Genetics of BRCA 1 and 2,” and “Introduction to Reiki.” Most meetings are informal and provide opportunities to discuss issues relevant to attendees. Beth El clergy or staff, if called by a woman or her family about a cancer diagnosis, will provide information about Kesher Nashim. If a woman is diagnosed either for the first time or with a recurrence of cancer and wants someone from the group to reach out to her, the Kesher Nashim member on call for the month will be notified. She will then make a connection to see what help is needed and provide support. For further information about Kesher Nashim, or if you are interested in being on the email list, please contact Naomi Greenwood.
Link to article is at pages 12 and 14 at https://bethelmc.org/scroll-archive/Vol%2067%202017-18/1710%20Oct%2017%20Scroll%20vWeb.pdf