January 1999

The Nathan Cummings Foundation

 

January 1999

Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Philadelphia, PA

 

Perspectives on End of Life Decision-making

The Center for Jewish Ethics of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RCC) will prepare a manual on end-of-life care issues that will combine secular information with Jewish values. The manual will provide resources helpful to those serving non-Orthodox Jewish individuals facing the end of their lives (e.g., families, rabbis, doctors, and chaplains). It will approach decision-making holistically through the use of case studies arranged by type with variables and commentary. The content of the manual will be informed by a survey of 200 rabbis, 200 Jewish and non-Jewish chaplains, and 200 health professionals. In order to assure broad-based interest in the manual, the authors will be a geriatrician, William Kavesh, MD, Medical Director for the Acute Care of Elders Unit, Presbyterian Medical Center of the Health System of the University of Pennsylvania (U of PA); and a bio-ethicist, Paul Root Wolpe, PhD, Director of the Projection Informed Consent at the U of PA and faculty associate of the U of PA's Center for Bio-ethics. A well-known Reform or Conservative Jewish thinker will be invited to contribute a foreword for the document. In addition, endorsements will be sought from highly respected individuals, each representing a different perspective. The manual will be distributed to 1,000 organizations and individuals, including the individuals surveyed.