May You Live To Be 120!

May You Live to be 120!

Sunday, March 26, 3pm-7:15pm

Hybrid: In person at Sha’ar Zahav and on Zoom

For Members Only

Jews often bless each other with the phrase “May you live to be 120!” and we hope you do! If you do live that long, however, you still need to make plans for when the time comes. We’ll explore the legal, ethical and spiritual aspects of end-of-life decisions. Planning is especially crucial for LGBTQI, single adults, or anyone in relationships that may not be guaranteed legal, financial, and medical protections.

Register here (whether attending online or in person)

Welcome & Keynote: 3 – 4:00 pm

Jim Van Buskirk has co-hosted Death Cafés for many years, and currently volunteers with Final Exit Network, counseling callers on end-of-life options. A Final Exit Regional Coordinator, he also reviews relevant books and films for FEN’s quarterly newsmagazine.

Session 1: 4:10-5:00 pm

Peaceful Death: Another Option? Led by Jim Buskirk

Jewish Death & Mourning Rituals Led by Marc Lipschutz

Session 2: 5:10 – 6:10 pm

Getting Your House in Order: Estate Planning, Wills, Power of Atty & Health Care Directives Led by Ora Prochovnick.

Finding the Right Words On-site session will be led by Lisa Finkelstein. Remote session will be led by Eliana Smithstein.

Session 3: 6:25 – 7:15 pm

Traditional Burials & Cremation Options: Creating a checklist Led by James Carlson

Be Prepared: Long Term Care, Hospice & End of Life Choices Onsite Session led by Irene Ogus. Remote Session led by Linda Edelstein and Marion Gillen.

Detailed Information

Welcome & Keynote: 3 – 4:00 pm

Jim Van Buskirk, Keynote: I’ve spent most of my life not realizing that I was death ignorant, likely in death denial, and desperately in need of death education. By sharing my personal experiences with Death Café and Final Exit Network, I hope attendees will be inspired to become more comfortable discussing this stigmatized topic. I have learned that the more conversations and the more planning, the greater solace one can achieve and the deeper experience of life as precious. Plus, we leave a generous gift to our grateful, grieving loved ones. Magical thinking suggests that If we ignore death, it might go away. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.

Session 1: 4:10-5:00 pm

Peaceful Death: Another Option? California’s End of Life Option Act took effect in June 2016 allowing patients to request — and physicians to prescribe — life-ending medications. However, some people desiring a death with dignity may not meet the state’s strict criteria. For more than twenty-five years, Final Exit Network has been supporting those who wish to hasten their own deaths. FEN also serves as a strong advocate for members who need help getting their legally enforceable Advance Directives honored. Led by Jim Van Buskirk, FEN Regional Coordinator.

Jewish Death & Mourning Rituals Our tradition holds great wisdom around death and mourning. We will talk about the various customs that are meant to support us through the most intense times in our lives, including end of life prayers, Jewish burial customs, shiva and yahrzeit. This is our one in-person only session of the day. Led by Marc Lipschutz. This is our one in-person only session of the day. If you are unable to attend, please find these resources at the end.*

Session 2: 5:10 – 6:10 pm

Getting Your House in Order: Estate Planning, Wills, Power of Atty & Health Care Directives One of the greatest gifts you can give to your friends and family, and yourself, is to draft estate planning documents – at a minimum a Will, Durable Power of Attorney and Advance Health Care Directive. If you haven’t gotten around to it yet, not to worry. We will be discussing how to draft these documents to communicate your end of life choices, and by the end of the workshop you will have a set of completed basic documents. Led by Ora Prochovnick. Ora is a long time member of SZ and an attorney who has specialized in LGBTQ family law and housing justice issues for forty-ish years.

Finding the Right Words You hear of a dear friend’s loss or illness. What do you say? What do you write? Do you do nothing at all because you fear saying the wrong thing? This workshop will provide some ideas as you support others in their distress. On-site session will be led by Lisa Finkelstein.  Remote session will be led by Eliana Smithstein. Eliana is the founder and co-chair of Sha’ar Zahav’s Disability and Accessibility Committee.

Session 3: 6:25 – 7:15 pm

Traditional Burials & Cremation Options: Creating a Checklist What are our Jewish traditions around burial? Is cremation an option? What is the significance of the “plain, pine box?” We will walk you through the process of setting up a plot so your wishes are fulfilled. Led by James Carlson. Longtime SZ member, James Carlson was the Executive Director at Hills of Eternity Memorial Park, the cemetery where Sha’ar Zahav has our burial section.

Be Prepared: Long Term Care, Hospice & End of Life Choices What are the options for you or your loved one as you plan for the last days, months, or years of life? Our presenters will share the wisdom they have gleaned from personal or professional first hand experience managing the end of life process for others. Onsite session led by Irene Ogus. Irene has been a Sha’ar Zahav member since 1979 and is a retired financial professional. She has managed end of life processes and care for three loved ones. Remote session led by Linda Edelstein and Marion Gillen. Linda Edelstein developed programs for the elderly and disabled, ran Coming Home Hospice for 10 years and cared for several friends receiving hospice care. Marion Gillen managed her mother’s hospice care for more than 2 years, worked in home care, health department and university settings.

*If you’re unable to attend, you’re invited to make a one-on-one appointment with Rabbi Copeland to learn about these rituals, or to find the resources here:

  • G-dcast/BimBam excellent videos on Jewish mourning practices-watch one and then follow links to the rest:
  • Books on Jewish Mourning:
    • Mourning and Mitzvah (Brener)
    • Saying Kaddish (Diamant)
    • Living A Year of Kaddish (Goldman)

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