Hadassah presents end-of-life ethics panel

by | Sep 30, 2019 | Uncategorized

Israeli physician and first female Orthodox rabbi are featured speakers

Sunday, November 3, 3 pm
Sandler Family Campus, $18

  • Only 10% of Americans discuss end-of-life decisions with a health care provider
  • Only 42% of Americans rate the U.S. health system as fair for end-of-life care
  • 50% report religious or spiritual beliefs play a role in making end-of-life decisions
  • 70% report that death is a subject that they generally avoid discussing

—2016 Kaiser Family Foundation Study on End-of-Life Medical Care

Too few Americans have told their families what to do when death is near. The result can cause uncertainty and emotional strife with family members, doctors, social workers, clergy, and other professionals who are caught in the middle of end-of-life decisions.

To encourage the conversation, Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc., will present End of Life Ethics: A Conversation with Leading Global Voices, moderated by former local TV reporter and talk show host Joel Rubin. Admission is $18.

Special guest panelists include Charles Sprung, an Israeli physician, and Rabbi Lila Kagedan.

Director emeritus of the General Intensive Care Unit at Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem, Sprung is an advisor for the National Palliative Care and End-of-Life Program of the Ministry of Health of the State of Israel. He has consulted on end-of-life protocols in Israel, Europe, and the United States.

Rabbi Kagedan, a dual American and Canadian citizen and the first Orthodox woman to adopt the title of rabbi, teaches bioethics and is a chaplain in hospitals and hospices in Boston where she resides.

In addition to Sprung and Rabbi Kagedan, a panel will include local experts:

  • Thomas Elder, a certified hospice and palliative nurse who is administrator of Freda H. Gordon Hospice and Palliative Care, a joint agency of Jewish Family Service of Tidewater and Beth Sholom Village.
  • Scott Alperin, an attorney with Alperin Law, which specializes in elder law and issues involving medical directives, health care power of attorney, surrogate decision making, and other end-of-life issues.

Discussion topics include “halachah” (Jewish law) as well as the practical challenges that can arise when a family member of any faith is fatally ill. Panel members will also answer questions about medical directives, living wills, family dynamics, how Orthodox vs. Reform and Conservative movements approach end-of-life issues and more.

“All of us should prepare for the inevitable and Jewish teachings can help in the process,” says Sprung.

“Hadassah has focused so much of its work, through its hospital, research, and programs like this, on challenging medical topics,” says Dr. Gail Moscowitz, event chair. “We hope this will be the first of many opportunities for Hadassah to engage the local community in meaningful dialogue.”

“I am very eager to share my experience and knowledge of Jewish thought on end-of-life concerns,” says Rabbi Kagedan. “As rabbis and teachers, it is an issue we must help our fellow Jews address, and in advance when possible.”

Pre-registration at www.hadassah.org/southernseaboard is encouraged, as space may be limited. For more information, call Sharon Goretsky at 757-535-9633 or email at hadassahNFKVB@gmail.com.