By Analia Bortz, Congregation Or Hadash, Atlanta, GA
Seeds of Hope is a support group for those dealing with infertility and pregnancy loss. The program started as a request from a member of my congregation, Congregation Or Hadash, who tragically experienced a stillbirth. For the last 6 years, our group of women trying to conceive has been meeting once a month.
My approach is a holistic way to look at the body and soul:
I incorporate my background as a physician and my rabbinic vocation to address these challenges and to invite couples to open their minds to thinking holistically. We attend the mikvah where women connect with the waters of our tradition allowing the waters of the mikvah to be a funnel of hope and prayer for a successful conception and birth.
The Project’s Impact:
The program has grown exponentially:
I started the program in my home. Seeds of Hope has since moved to the Jewish Family and Career Services of Atlanta. We invite psychologists, medical doctors, and guests from reproductive clinics, who volunteer their time and expertise to speak to the group.
Skepticism was a challenge at the beginning:
- How does my body respond to prayers?
- How can I believe that my future may change and I will be able to have a child by engaging in this process?
Those are legitimate concerns, but women who have gone through the program have come back to encourage others in this process. I’ve seen women transform their skepticism into faith.
Funding, of course, continues to be a challenge.
Follow your dreams. Allow people to touch your heart, so you can touch theirs.
Dr. Rabbi Analia Bortz has over 18 years of experience as a pulpit rabbi and over 20 years of experience as a Jewish educator. She has been a scholar-in-residence in several cities in South America, the United States of America, and Spain.