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Planning for Jewish End-of-Life Care rss

Posted on: January 21st, 2014

Although many people are reluctant to confront end-of-life issues, the importance of planning for the inevitable has never been greater. To meet this need, UJA-Federation of New York and MJHS, a beneficiary agency, have collaborated to establish a web-based resource initiative called the Center for Jewish End of Life Care.

Jewish hospice care

Photo: iStock

Created this year, the initiative has three primary goals: increase awareness and understanding of comprehensive end-of-life care in the Jewish community; promote the various ways for individuals to access appropriate care; and provide assistance to families, such as support services, Jewish spiritual care, and advance planning guidance. MJHS is the largest hospice and palliative care provider in New York State and the largest Jewish hospice in the region.

The center is designed to assist patients diagnosed with an advanced or terminal illness and their families, to inform physicians in keeping with the wishes of their Jewish patients, and to support religious leaders who are often involved in medical decision-making. The center can be contacted at www.centerforjewishendoflifecare.org.

One method by which the center is aiming to build awareness is through a series of commentary articles on Jewish end-of-life care. Rabbi Irwin Kula, president of Clal – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, wrote in an article, “It is time to take back dying from the medical, pharmaceutical and political fields, all of whom have a job to do but none of whom advocates for a good death…Fighting fiercely to live includes knowing when not to let go but rather to take hold and live until our last breath…what Jewish wisdom names the divine kiss.”