Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My experience at the National Institute for Jewish Hospice

Flying to Newark, New Jersey, to attend the NIJH Annual Conference is a highlight in my year. This year was especially good as the leadership was trying a new approach by including a breakout session. Mrs. Lamm, now the out-front spokesperson for the organization called me a week prior to the conference and asked if I would be a facilitator for the Chaplains. I accepted not knowing how incredibly blessed I would be to do so. From the beginning of the conference to the end, the conferees were exposed to the nuances of Judaism that were simply unknown to us. The breakout session was illuminating as our group was comprised of Rabbis and non-Jewish Chaplains. The theme was how we all benefited from the type of information we received at this conference. Rabbis and Chaplains have at least one thing in common__we like to talk… and, not always about the subject! And, that is what made the breakout group so fascinating. I was so very impressed by the professionalism and skill of both Rabbis and Chaplains. We agreed that we needed one another. I believe that in those short moments we were together a bond formed based on mutual respect. Beyond that we agreed that knowledge of Judaism enhanced our ability to serve our Jewish patients. Our Rabbi Chaplains sensed they could better serve their non-Jewish patients through similar events where knowledge was shared. The beauty of the discussions was in the expressed desire on everyone’s part to not be religiously offensive to the patients and families that we serve. And, that is where we came together to agree that we need each other. I was so glad I went to this my third conference. Of course, my generous and spiritually open hospice, Cornerstone Hospice & Palliative Care, Inc. received its re-accreditation from the NIJH. In 2015 we intend to further develop our relationships with Rabbis and synagogues. Building bridges of understanding and mutual respect is a wonderful project. I hope you have to the opportunity to engage in this most worthy effort!

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