End-of-life arrangements are never easy to talk about, but delaying the conversation sets the stage for serious problems – at a most difficult time. Join TEAM Shabbos and help your community open the dialogue about these important issues now, before crisis strikes.
Under the leadership of Rabbi Elchonon Zohn, the TEAM Shabbos initiative was founded to address important end-of-life issues, and encourage our community to take appropriate action.
And now, the highly anticipated fifth TEAM Shabbos is right around the corner. On Shabbos, Parshas VaY’chi (January 11, 2020), hundreds of shuls in communities nationwide will join the annual TEAM (Traditional End-of-life Awareness Movement) Shabbos, a project of the National Association of Chevra Kadisha (NASCK).
It is difficult for most people to imagine the wide variety of issues that can arise at the end of life – and the many ways that secular society promotes decisions that are antithetical to Jewish values. Looking at Parshas VaY’chi’s account of Yaakov’s illness, his last words to his children, and his instructions regarding burial, provides rabbis across the country with a natural way to open a conversation with their congregants about the many Torah issues regarding illness and death.
Topics for discussion include: the Torah’s view of the intrinsic value and sanctity of life, the importance of being prepared to make proper medical and other end-of-life decisions, writing wills in accordance with halachah, and choosing – and helping others to choose – traditional Jewish burial practices.
But TEAM Shabbos is not just about a drashah or shiur. TEAM Shabbos inspires community members to take responsibility – and to take action. TEAM Shabbos encourages individuals to create living wills that ensure the people they choose will be in charge of their medical decisions if they are unable to speak for themselves, to reach out to family members who may be considering a non-halachic burial for a loved one, to begin the process of writing a halachically valid will, to consider which life insurance best protects their families, and to spark a conversation about end of life with their parents.
“Due to a lack of awareness about the inherent sanctity of every moment of life, many people end up making end-of-life medical decisions that are contrary to Torah values,” Rabbi Zohn explains. “TEAM Shabbos has created a unified national movement to raise awareness about these issues. We encourage communities and shuls to join NASCK’s many ongoing programs dedicated to supporting, informing, educating, and inspiring all those seeking information about traditional Jewish burial, including programs promoting halachic living wills and Emergency Medical Education and Sign-up (EMES) cards,” continues Rabbi Zohn.
By opening the dialogue about end-of-life topics, TEAM Shabbos enables the Jewish community to allow Jewish values to guide their most sensitive decisions.
To have your community join TEAM Shabbos, or for a comprehensive list of resources, please call 718-847-6280 or visit www.TEAMShabbos.org.