Topics: Main Topic: Other, Health, Health Education, Haredi / Strictly Orthodox Jews, Jewish - Non - Jewish Relations
Abstract: This article reports research examining the relevance of a health visiting service to an orthodox Jewish community. Data were gathered by 14semi-structured interviews with community members and health visitors. The community was seen by members of both groups as self-sufficient, with a very well-developed network of voluntary support networks. Orthodox Jewish mothers typically have large families and have a lot of child-care experience. Some health visitors seemed oblivious of the Jewish religious calendar. Cultural practice and health visitor advice relating to breast-feeding were at odds. The community’s relationship with health visitors was distant rather than close, and health visitors’ role was unclear to and unvalued by the community. The service had persistent problems of recruitment and retention. Health visiting needs to work in partnership with community organizations and representatives to develop a service that the community finds valuable.