Living Life to the End, Part 2


dementia

In our first article about the end of life, we discussed the common halachic and practical issues that arise at the end of life and the best ways to address them. This second article concerns one the most effective ways to make sure that our wishes are followed in the way we would like: the halachic medical directive.

A halachic medical directive is a legal document that contains an official record of a person’s health care wishes. Typically, a health care directive has two main components. First, it appoints an agent who will speak on your behalf if you are no


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Ask the Shadchan


bride

To the Shadchan:

I have been inquiring about a young man who was redt to my daughter. I happened to meet a friend of mine who is a teacher and taught him in 10th grade. This boy seems to have been a troublemaker at that age. My friend could not say anything nice about him. She told me he was chutzpadik and gave her a hard time.This young man is 23 now. He is a professional, who is working after learning in yeshiva for a few years. More recent references have only good things to say about him. It seems he is a hard worker with good middos. He comes from a good family, and everything checks out okay.

My question is how much credence should I give to the teacher’s words. Maybe the attributes that made him behave badly when he was 15 are deeply ingrained character defects that are still relevant. Or maybe he is now using his chutzpa, etc. for good things. How can I find out which scenario is the correct one? Or should I chalk it all up to being a teenager?

If you think that information from the past is relevant, what would be the cut-off age, before which we should not take information seriously? Obviously, no one would pay attention to the way a person behaved when he was in kindergarten. Or would they? I would appreciate your advice and opinion.


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Confronting Cancer with Compassion


bone marrow

“What’s her prognosis?”

I’ll ne “ ver forget the first time I was asked that question. It was the first of many days I would travel up and down the NJ Turnpike alone. Earlier that morning, at 5 a.m., coffee in hand, I quietly left the house and drove down to Baltimore to spend a few hours with my mom, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. By the time my kids woke up, I would almost be there. A babysitter would have already arrived to get them off to school, and the kids would assume that I was at a professional


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My Journey to Bat Ayin


beach

What do you get when you mix together chasidut, a desire to work the holy soil of Eretz Yisrael, ahavas Yisrael, and creativity? The answer is Bat Ayin! A friend of mine, who often goes to this small hilltop yishuv in Gush Etzion for Shabbos, had been inviting me to join her for a while. I had many reasons for turning her down time after time. But when I heard that Midreshet B’erot Bat Ayin was looking for a madricha for their summer program, I figured it didn’t hurt to apply and check it out – and now that I’m there, the joke is on me!

As I alighted from the bus at the traffic circle on Bat Ayin’s main road and made my way down the hill, a beautiful mountain panorama lay before me, and I felt the clear air entering my lungs. I noticed the variety of homes as I walked. Many families live in caravans (trailers) while others occupy houses of all sizes and types. There are small matchbox-style homes that the owners built themselves and others that are large and multi-level. Some houses are faced with beautiful stone, while others are built from colorfully-painted cement or wood, log-cabin style. Each home is surrounded with a bit of land, and many have well-kept gardens. Each home is unique, attesting to the individuality of the people residing inside.


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Apples and Honey (and More!) for Rosh Hashana


honey

May you and your families have a good and sweet new year! 

With the approach of Rosh Hashana, fall is upon us, and the time for warm and cozy dishes has arrived. On my current “health kick,” I have been trying to make better choices – isn’t that what Rosh Hashana is all about? – which, in terms of eating, means limiting high fat foods and sugar. Argh. As my sister would say, “better choices” is really code for not binging on Reese’s peanut butter cups.

Seriously, Rosh Hashana is the perfect time to take stock of your life and make small but meaningful resolutions. Some of mine are to eat more healthfully and to spend quality time with my family. Somehow, it all ends up (as do most things in my life) in fun and delicious recipes. Cooking not only results in great food to be enjoyed and shared but also enhances family togetherness, especially if you can get the little ones on your team. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a big proponent of kids in the kitchen. A bunch of studies and anecdotal evidence indicate that, when children participate in making the meal, they are much more likely to eat it.


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Coming Soon to a Shul Near You: KLEE Shabbat


israeli

When is a dish is not a dish?

When it is a KLEE, of course!

A KLEE can be anything you have handy – a bowl, tray, platter, or, yes, a dish. (It is the Hebrew word for container, after all.) Or you and your children can make one out of clay or cardboard, even Clicks or Legos. Whatever form your KLEE takes, the point is to keep it on display in your home and fill and refill it with the products of Eretz Yisrael.  


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Faces of Frumkeit


bubby

From the Yated to the Mishpacha, our magazines have presented the Jewish world with a definition of what it means to be a modest woman: She’s not in print. Even if she follows halacha perfectly, she is still not modest enough to be featured in the pages of our publications. This policy requires that even pictures of our great rebbetzins and leaders, past and present, cannot accompany the articles written about them. Rather, pictures of their husbands, their residences, and their speaking venues take the place of the special faces and spiritual beauty of our righteous women. This policy requires that historical photographs capturing unforgettable events in Jewish history cannot be included in our magazines if a woman is in the shot. This policy requires that non-Jewish female political leaders can never be featured. And this policy requires that girls above a certain age cannot be seen, giving the message, especially to young girls, that it is not tznius (modest).


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Living Life to the End


flower

There are many reasons why it is difficult to talk about the period of time we call the end of life. Most obviously, it is a subject we would prefer to consider theoretical. But, like many aspects of life that are difficult to discuss, our approach to the end of life is an important topic that is often misunderstood.

In working with Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care as the director of Jewish Hospice Services, I have gained some insights into the end of life experience. Written with the encouragement of those involved in end of life within the frum community, this short series will shed some light on how we approach this part of life as frum Jews. Future articles will focus on how to plan ahead and on ways to find meaning and strength even when life is limited. In this article, we will provide an overview of the halachos, values, and practical realities that guide our thinking about this issue.


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What Does an Open Door Look Like?


dementia

Slowly, the passengers tumbled out of the cramped SUV, tired from their long trip to the Pearlstone Center. Two people dressed in black* immediately ran out to greet them with warm hugs and carefully led them into the dining room. Sharon and Scott, from California; Steve, from D.C.; and Martin, from New York, had just arrived at the biennial Deafblind Shabbaton.

Inside, attendees who had arrived earlier reached out to say hi and express their warm welcome in tactile sign language**. It looked like a flurry of hands: hands touching hands, hands feeling the hand shapes that form letters and words, hands reaching out to read Brailled nametags, hands holding elbows for guidance, hands flying in excited discussion.


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Crosswalks, Potholes and More: Getting Your Traffic and Safety Concerns Addressed


cars

We’ve all noticed them, whether we live in Baltimore City or County: intersections prone to accidents, potholes we must swerve to avoid, and the lack of wheelchair accessibility at curbs, among other unsafe conditions. Is it possible to get action to resolve such traffic and safety issues? And if so, how?

I have to admit, I never gave this topic much thought until I attended the Pikesville-Greenspring Community Coalition’s (PGCC) traffic and safety committee/neighborhood and pedestrian safety meeting in July. Although the subject of the meeting was the Smith Avenue corridor, the safety issues it raised are not exclusive to County residents. As a City resident, I took note.


Read More:Crosswalks, Potholes and More: Getting Your Traffic and Safety Concerns Addressed