NEW YORK, Feb. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Plaza Jewish Community Chapel has awarded a grant to three Jewish organizations to work together to increase awareness of advance care planning and end-of-life decision-making. JCC Manhattan, The Center for Pastoral Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Jewish Home Lifecare will collaborate on a project that will inspire conversation and study to equip individuals to complete advance health care directives.
Stephanie Garry, Chief Administrative Officer of Plaza Jewish Community Chapel believes "this initiative is in keeping with Plaza's mission of providing support to those in the community who are working in the field of end-of-life care. Without question, this innovative program will make a profound difference in how we address end-of-life care within our Jewish community."
In the last two decades, there has been increased awareness of the inadequacy of end-of-life care practices on several levels: a focus on extending length, rather than quality of life, and the lack of coordination between care protocols and patients' needs and wishes. The development of advance care planning initiatives creates open and honest conversations among families, and life-affirming discussions regarding choices and options are helping to change these trends. Such an initiative was highly successful in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where the Gundersen Healthcare Network and others collaborated on the development and testing of an improved model of end-of-life planning and decision making. They brought the community together by fostering the difficult conversations that need to be addressed between spouses, partners, parents and children, and extended family units surrounding end-of-life choices.
Rabbi Joy Levitt, the executive director of JCC Manhattan is excited to bring the Gundersen model to Manhattan. "We know that people need to have these conversations and make informed decisions. For us at the JCC, this project gives us the opportunity to work with wonderful community partners to help people make these decisions through a Jewish lens in the most compassionate and personal way."
This program will be directed by Sally Kaplan who served as a professional with the Caring Commission of UJA-Federation of NY for 15 years, where she developed and managed a grant portfolio in end-of-life and spiritual care in New York and Israel. Ms. Kaplan created an initiative to change the conversation about end-of-life in synagogues and has spoken widely on these issues.
"Jewish tradition provides a comforting presence to guide us in making important decisions about life and death. This new project will provide the tools to foster a conversation so each family can make informed choices that are right for them, in a manner that respects the sanctity and dignity of life," said Audrey Weiner, President and CEO of Jewish Home Lifecare.
Rabbi Mychal B. Springer, Director of the Center for Pastoral Education, adds "The Center for Pastoral Education at JTS is thrilled to be able to team up with the JCC of Manhattan and Jewish Home Lifecare, thanks to this forward-thinking grant from the Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, and be part of the transformation of end-of-life experience for individuals in Manhattan and the Jewish community as a whole."
About JCC Manhattan
The mission of JCC Manhattan is to foster an inclusive, engaged, and informed community that embraces diversity and is rooted in Jewish values. One of our goals is to be the "community's living room" for important conversations regarding important issues. With a longstanding history of serving as the crossroads for a diverse and expansive group of people on the Upper West Side, the JCC is well-positioned to convene the advanced care planning initiative with JTS and JHL. The JCC has deep connections to the older adult population in the community, and vast experience in engaging the community in rich and meaningful opportunities. We are all strengthened by collaboration, and JCC's leadership believes that by knowing the strengths, interests, challenges, and needs of our neighborhood partners we are all better equipped to serve those who live amongst us.
About Jewish Home Lifecare
Jewish Home Lifecare has a 166-year history of providing innovative, comprehensive elder care in the NY metropolitan area, serving individuals across various religious affiliations, ethnicities, age groups, and payment sources. We provide services to support health, individuality, and dignity. As a leader in the elder care sector, JHL's staff routinely engages in the topic of advanced directives with the thousands of elders served each year. Our expertise in this area, as well as our longstanding partnerships with NYU Langone Medical Center and Mount Sinai Hospital, both teaching hospitals with nationally recognized palliative care programs, also prove invaluable access to thought-leaders and practitioners in the end-of-life arena.
About The Center for Pastoral Education at JTS
The Center for Pastoral Education at JTS is at the forefront of training seminarians, clergy and lay leaders to provide in-depth spiritual care to people in need. We have a special focus on training religious leaders to engage in conversations about death and dying with clients and families, respecting the broad range of backgrounds and attitudes. Our faculty has a depth of Jewish knowledge, which will enable us to train facilitators to invite participants into thoughtful conversation around their religious concerns related to end of life care. Facilitators who are grounded in Jewish and pastoral approaches will be able to provide participants with knowledge of the tradition while helping them achieve their own integration of traditional and personal concerns as they make end of life decisions.
About Plaza Jewish Community Chapel
The mission of Plaza Jewish Community Chapel is to ensure that every member of the Jewish Community receives a dignified and respectful Jewish funeral; to lower the high cost of funerals by eliminating the profit motive and commercialism so often associated with the funeral industry; and to provide appropriate connections to Jewish communal resources that the bereaved may need to cope with emotional or practical problems.
If you have any questions or wish to schedule an appointment to meet our staff and tour our funeral chapel, please reach out to us. We are available 24 hrs a day via email or phone at 212-769-4400 or at [email protected]
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SOURCE Plaza Jewish Community Chapel