Saul’s Circle provided synagogue outreach and directed services to address the spiritual and Jewish communal religious needs of adults Jews and others who are mental health services consumers. Programs were held at the synagogue and at other sites in Greater New Haven. Saul’s Circle helped adults locate the resources in Jewish tradition and synagogue community that added meaning and structure to their lives, including those that could be of particular value to mental health services consumers. Concomitantly, the project helped synagogue members and staff learn to better understand and welcome this segment of our community.
At right: Melakhim Scroll Cover
Saul’s Circle created special programs designed for the unique situation of adult Jews who are mental health services consumers. Local mental health professionals enthusiastically endorsed the Saul’s Circle concept and offered their experience and labor to make it succeed.
Adult mental health consumers are concentrated in the City of New Haven. Many others are served by mental health agencies located in the City. Jewish professionals working at Yale New Haven Hospital and at the Hospital of St. Raphael estimate there are 200 to 300 adult Jews in the area that could be served by this program. In preparation for Saul’s Circle, contact was established and a relationship created with over 60 adults. Congregation Beth El–Keser Israel is located within walking distance and along the bus routes of a high proportion of the target population.
Major funding for the first year of Saul’s Circle (5760 – 1999-2000) was provided by a grant from the The Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven and by Congregation Beth El–Keser Israel (BEKI).
BEKI has taken a lead regionally in programs for adults and children with special needs. In 1994, the Congregation became the first in our region to offer a Special Education Hebrew School, the Talmud Torah Meyuhad, which it founded as part of its religious school. Additional support for special education for youth at BEKI is provided by the The Borick Family Endownment for Special Education for Youth at Congregation Beth El–Keser Israel.