One of the most challenging issues that confront us, and our families, has to do with decisions that impact us at the end of life. There is an ever-expanding series of opportunities to have the discussions about end of life care. We have posted many articles on this issue on this site as well as articles on our Facebook page. Just recently we expanded this to include the discussion on developing a family based “care-plan”.
Now, we have completed a compact Resource page on end of life decision-making based on A Time to Prepare, a resource book developed for congregations. This text has helped numerous families in congregations and has served as a guide for numerous congregational educational programs on Jewish Approaches to End of Life Decisions. It still serves in that capacity in the workshop we do on “Making Sacred Decisions At The End Of Life”. To access this resource here, go to the RESOURCES on top menu bar and click on A TIME TO PREPARE.
It is important to remember that if questions arise as to rituals, practice etc, please consult with your rabbi or feel free to contact us at RabbiAddress@JewishSacredAging.com
Rabbi Richard Hirsh was instrumental in editing down a much larger work so that it could be placed on jewishsacredaging.com. His caring and sensitivity to the project is greatly appreciated. We hope that this resource can be helpful to you and your families, and families in general, as they begin to contemplate these very “sacred decisions.” As part of our work we also have posted a blessing to be said as one completes the advanced directive and other documents. These documents mark in a very real way, the reality of our mortality. Thus the blessing (with thanks to Tess Levine and Rabbi Dan Fliegel):
Blessed is the Eternal who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this moment.
God who has given me the power of choice and who has brought me the strength to make these decisions today, thank You for granting me the wisdom to think ahead and to understand the great range of possibilities that could come in the future.
While so much is out of our control, we are grateful that we can make choices in our life, make them known and have them acted out in the event we no longer have the ability to do so ourselves.
When the time comes that I am no longer able to make decisions on my own behalf, may those who are close to me carry out my wishes. I have been blessed with so much and may my family be at peace with my decisions. May we love one another and cherish our time together.
Baruch Atah Adonai, who has given us free will and agency in out lives.
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.