Site launched to link global Jewry in recovery prayers

Shira Kalish

Shira Kalish

A teacher whose sister battled leukemia has developed a website for Jews around the world to unite in prayers for a speedy recovery.

Shira Kalish, from Long Island, came up with the idea of "linking the Jewish community through chesed (lovingkindness)" when she witnessed the response to her sister's illness.

Darielle Rabe, who was 33 and pregnant for the third time when she was diagnosed last year, is now in recovery after a bone marrow transplant.

During Darielle's treatment, people rallied around, creating prayer groups, challah-baking circles and making meals for the family.

"People were sending emails, texting, going on Facebook, making calls, and there were ten lists going at the same time," said Ms Kalish. "It was all over the place.

"One Thursday night while I was kneading challah dough, I said that there had to be a better way of organising everyone's efforts."

From that moment of inspiration, Tziporah's Nest was born.

The site officially launches this Thursday, and new features are still being added.

Users can sign up free and create a campaign for a loved one or join an existing one and co-ordinate efforts in four areas, challah-baking, prayers, nourishment (meals) and tzedakah for families who are struggling with medical bills.

Email updates are sent out to those who are signed up to the campaign and there is also the option to send condolence cards.

"When a friend or family member is diagnosed with a serious illness, often, the feeling of helplessness is one that becomes overwhelming.

"Our instincts tell us we need to help, yet we often don't know what we can and should do," said Ms Kalish.

"The beauty of this website is that even someone in London, or Israel, who happens to be baking challah for Shabbat, can log on, and join a campaign to do chesed for a friend or stranger on the other side of the world."

    Last updated: 2:15pm, September 12 2011