Articles by Daniel Rose

Living Life to the End


walker

In the previous part of this article, we discussed some ways to find purpose and peace even, or especially, when one has come face to face with the end of life. In this second part, we will offer a few more suggestions of meaningful activities to pursue. As a conclusion, we will suggest a way to rethink our attitude towards the end of life.

Words that Matter

The “conversation on the deathbed” is perhaps the most clichéd of images when it comes to the end of life. It is, however, important and meaningful, and, as we have seen of other activities, it can be carried out effectively a long time before a person is actually at the end. The fact is that many of us are not good at talking about what is most valuable to us or sharing the feelings we really want to share. There is something about facing the end that gives us both the courage and the impetus to make sure that these things do not go unsaid.


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Living Life to the End, Part 3


old sick men

Generations ago, the end of life was a part of life. At a time when people died at home, when several generations of a single family lived together, and when, unfortunately, disease was both more common and more dangerous, being present for the final days and weeks of someone’s life was an experience that most people had been through several times. While it was surely never routine, there would have been a certain rhythm to it, a sense that it was time to put one’s affairs in order, for family to gather around, and for final words to be said. The end of life was a sacred time.

Today, by contrast, our experience with the end of life is usually much different. For one thing, many people pass away in hospitals or other kinds of medical facilities, lending an institutional feel to the final period of time. Our modern medications and treatments have also profoundly changed the experience. Even as they provide the tremendous gift of relieving pain and anxiety, these medications usually leave their beneficiary unable to think clearly or communicate in the days or even weeks before passing away. And, thankfully, death is something many of us simply experience less often.


Read More:Living Life to the End, Part 3

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


Read More:Living Life to the End, Part 2

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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