On June 30, Calvary Hospital, in collaboration with National Association of Chevra Kadisha (NASCK), hosted its second “Halachic End-of-Life Care: Practical Information Every Community Rabbi Should Know” event. The objective was to educate people on the complex issues surrounding end-of-life care under Jewish law, so they can make the right decisions for their families.
The attendees learned about how Calvary provided excellent care for renowned Rabbi Zelig Lieb Taussig in 2015. The program featured presentations by Rabbi Elchonon Zohn, founder of NASCK; Rabbi Mordechai Willig, rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University; and three physicians from Calvary: Michael J. Brescia, Christopher C. Comfort, and Alma Carrington.
The event attracted rabbis, laypeople, and students from throughout the greater New York area. Attendees came from Congregation Beth Sholom Chabad, Congregation Machane Chodosh, Congregation Etz Chaim, New York-Presbyterian/Queens, Young Israel of Riverdale, and Young Israel of Woodmere.
From Michael J. Brescia, MD, executive medical director, the attendees learned about the hospital’s 117-year history of caring for Jewish patients. Three rabbis care for hundreds of Jewish inpatients and home hospice patients at Calvary each year. In addition to receiving kosher food upon request, Jewish inpatients and their families can expect a daily visit from a rabbi, food in an expanded kosher hospitality room, dedicated Shabbos lounge, Kabbalat Shabbat service, and celebrations of all major holidays. Calvary Hospital is within the Pelham Parkway eiruv.
Calvary is currently restoring a historic Torah, No. 515, on permanent loan from the Memorial Scrolls Trust. Fundraising for this project will support Calvary’s comprehensive care for all patients and families at their inpatient facilities, home hospice patients throughout the greater New York area, and those at the Dawn Greene Hospice. Calvary plans to complete this restoration at the end of 2016. To support this important initiative, please visit www.calvaryhospital.org/torahrestoration. The hospital’s outreach to the Jewish community, and the Torah restoration, has been spearheaded by Dr. Brescia.
Since 2012, Calvary has partnered with Yeshiva University to educate people in the Orthodox Jewish community about how to access excellent end-of-life care in accordance with Jewish law (halachah). The goal of this partnership is to provide observant Jews with the information they need to make the right end-of-life care decisions for their families. To learn more about the YU program or to submit questions, go to http://yu.edu/riets/end-of-life-care and click on “Rabbinic Consultation Form.”
The National Association of Chevra Kadisha (NASCK) was founded in 1996 in order to form a united and cohesive group of Jewish burial societies in the United States and Canada dedicated to promoting awareness of traditional Jewish end-of-life decisions and burial practices. It acts as an umbrella organization to assist affiliated groups in defining, establishing, and achieving the highest degree of respect for life and kavod ha’mes as defined by Jewish law.Â v