no Jewish family
is ever alone
when facing terminal illness.


 

We bring together the hospice, health care and social service communities to meet the medical, cultural and spiritual needs of you and your family.

 

Archive for the ‘Annual Campaign Stories’ Category

Carole’s Enduring Legacy

 
Posted on: November 14th, 2016 by Mike

Carole’s enduring legacy…

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Every Day Is A Gift

Portraiture by Monni Must

 

When one imagines hospice,

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the mind often conjures up scenes of despair and feelings of sorrow — a no-way-out lonely and hopeless journey. But it doesn’t have to be that WAY.

 

The Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network

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(JHCN) guides jews who are terminally ill in southeast Michigan, giving them a chance to live comfortably, to be with their families, to feel loved and not alone. This gift of unconditional support and care during someone’s last chapter is precious and invaluable. JHCN gives families the strength to share memories, to express regrets, to reconcile relationships, and to live well, even when facing inevitable death.

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A grand piano accented the living room.

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Like an old friend, Its pearl-colored keys reflected the morning sunlight. Carole Lasser’s right fingertips danced along the keyboard, her eyes vibrant, enlivened by the sounds and memories of what it felt like to play with both hands, freely. For Carole, an accomplished pianist, her piano was a reminder of years of classical training — something which both saddened, yet comforted her. It was familiar, like an old companion. Carole had lost control of her left hand, which rested quietly at her side, a constant sign of her illness. Yet her spirit was lively, her humor quick and engaging, her energy electric and inviting.

 

A daughter, one of four sisters, a mother of two and a grandmother of one…

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Carole surrounded herself with family and friends, and took advantage of the time she had. Her daughter visited frequently from Taiwan, her son from California with his wife and newborn. Rabbi Joseph H. Krakoff, her rabbi for many years and now the Senior Director of JHCN, had become one of her most trusted and loving friends. Though the circumstances were not ideal, the chance for all to be together was a gift… . Every Day Is A Gift.

 

Plagued by brain tumors for nearly 30 years,

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Carole’s 64-year-old body finally started to give out. Doctors estimated she had less than six months to live. Though there was nothing doctors could do to cure Carole, there was still so much to be done. JHCN mobilized social workers and clergy to access the best care possible — to hold Carole’s hand and not let go.

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JHCN stepped in and enabled this vibrant, soulful woman to live comfortably at home, in as little pain as possible.

 

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Carole’s wish was to give all of us a message…

Cherish each moment with your loved ones because… Every Day Is A Gift.

 

It is a blessing to our community…

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… that if any Jew faces terminal illness, there is a team of loving, compassionate people at JHCN who can hold our hand and guide us through this profoundly challenging experience. They will meet us where we are and help us write the last chapter. JHCN helped Carole do just that.

 

lasser-img_1522Carole Jo Lasser z’l

April 11, 1952 — June 26, 2016

May her memory be for a blessing.

 

Please join with us…

Friends,

Sharing Carole’s story would not have been possible without the strength and conviction of Carole herself. She inspired her family to come together in her time of need — and theirs — and showed the rest of us how life can be celebrated even in the darkest of hours.

 

Everyone is entitled to the same kind of care that Carole received. The Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network has gathered the most amazing mitzvah team. Each team member does this sacred work with all their heart and soul every day.

 

We never charge anyone for our services.

 

This great mitzvah only happens because of your loving support.

 

Please donate generously.

God Bless You,

Rabbi E.B. (Bunny) Freedman

Founding Director and CEO

 

Click here to donate now.

Or call 248.592.2687

 

Carole wanted to leave a legacy of vibrant images for her family to remember her by and welcomed portrait photographer Monni Must to document these memorable moments and writer Sabrina Must to compose the narrative.

 

The relationship Carole shared with her family and Rabbi Joseph H. Krakoff was profound for all involved. Carole valued JHCN’s comprehensive hospice care and the ability it gave her to face her fragility, enabling her to find courage, and ultimately, peace.

 

One of Carole’s final wishes was for members of our Jewish community to understand the value of The Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network and contribute to its mission, while giving Jews facing terminal illness the courage to help their loved ones make Every Day A Gift.

 

Thank you, Carole. Your memory is a blessing.

 

With special thanks to…

Carole’s children Samuel Lasser and Lauren Miller and Rachel Lasser;

her grandson Adam Miller Lasser;

her parents Jacqueline and Myron Milgrom;

her siblings Paula Milgrom and Jim Barnett, Marcia Milgrom Dodge and Tony Dodge, Marianne and Rob Bloomberg;

Portrait photographer Monni Must and writer Sabrina Must

Meet The JHCN Rabbis

 
Posted on: September 15th, 2015 by Mike

Meet The JHCN Rabbis

Portraits by Monni Must, NaturallyMonni.com

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Rabbi Joseph H. Krakoff joined the JHCN family in August 2014.

Rabbi Joseph H. Krakoff

Jewish tradition understands the family as the central unit and influence in life. There is nothing more important and special to me than my family. I look forward to spending time with my wife and three children whenever possible. Perhaps it is because family means so much to me that working with JHCN feels as if I have become part of a larger family on two levels. First, in fulfilling the sacred responsibility of being with individuals and their loved ones at the end of life, I am so often welcomed in as a trusted extended member of their family which I take seriously and never for granted. So too, since joining the JHCN team just one year ago, I have discovered that this special group of kind, loving individuals operates like a family of caregivers and advisors each and every day, and it is evident to all how deeply they all care about not only their patients, but also for one another. JHCN gives me the opportunity to celebrate family in so many ways and for that I will be forever grateful.

To make a donation in honor of Rabbi Krakoff, click here.

Rabbi Yisrael Pinson

Rabbi Yisrael Pinson

Rabbi Yisrael Pinson

I come from a long line of activist rabbis who migrate across the world to where we are most needed. Born in France, I lived in many countries before settling in Michigan, where I ran Friendship House. Helping people recover from drug and alcohol addiction, I was frequently exposed to sudden, tragic deaths. Now that I am working for JHCN, I am grateful for the opportunity to offer support to those who still have time left in the last phases of life.

I currently live in the downtown Detroit Chabad House. I visit Jewish patients at various hospitals in the city, and showcase Detroit as a welcoming place for Jews to work, live, play or get medical care. I am also the rabbi for Seasons Hospice, and spend time with patients all over the metropolitan area.

The very best part of my job is connecting with someone who has lost touch with their Jewish roots and pulling them closer to Jewish life. Often, this meaningful closure happens at the very end of a life, and is dramatic and emotional for the patient, their family, and also for me. It is in my DNA to go where I am needed, and my work in Michigan certainly fits the bill.

To make a donation in honor of Rabbi Pinson, click here.

Rabbi Jennifer Kaluzny serves as a pulpit rabbi at Temple Israel in West Bloomfield. Here she shares time on the trail with her children.

Rabbi Jennifer Kaluzny serves as a pulpit rabbi at Temple Israel in West Bloomfield. Here she shares time on the trail with her children.

Rabbi Jennifer Kaluzny

I once had a teacher who taught us we should go through life as though we are amateur anthropologists. He implored us to study our surroundings, to ask questions, to attempt to fit into whatever culture we found ourselves in: be it geographical, familial, or congregational. His advice serves me well. Yes, I am a rabbi, and a chaplain. But most of all, I am an anthropologist.

In the work I do every day, I collect people’s stories and honor their memories. I learn what gives comfort, what heals, and what makes a difference in the life of a dying person and their family. I glean sacred knowledge from each person and each family I serve. Perhaps without realizing it, they in turn, teach me.

I hope I can also teach my children to be amateur anthropologists to complement whatever paths they choose. If they truly listen to the experiences of others, their lives will be richer in color and saturated with meaning. JHCN has been my greatest classroom. I do this work because I love the people I meet, and their stories, and I feel honored to hear every single one.

To make a donation in honor of Rabbi Kaluzny, click here.

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Study at the Kollel, Oak Park, Michigan

Rabbi E.B. (Bunny) Freedman

I am often asked how I can deal with being around death and dying every day. The answer is, this is the most rewarding work I have ever been privileged to be part of. When families invite me into their homes to make beside visits, I know I am entering their most sacred space. The trust and honor imparted to me is immeasurable. The reason I get out of bed each day is to make sure no Jew faces the end of life alone. My personal commitment to this cause begins with patients, extends to their families, and grows to include building bridges with donors, volunteers, staff, board members, partner agencies, and medical professionals. This work can be quite demanding, and there are three constants essential to maintaining my mental and physical fitness: the love I give to and receive from my family, regular, rigorous exercise and vigorous daily Torah study. I owe it to myself and those who count on me – our patients, their families, and my team — to be physically, mentally and spiritually prepared for this work.

To make a donation in honor of Rabbi Freedman, click here.

Rabbi Yerachmiel Rabin helps Stanley connect with and embrace his Jewish heritage at the Marvin & Betty Danto Family Health Care Center in West Bloomfield.

Rabbi Yerachmiel Rabin helps Stanley connect with and embrace his Jewish heritage at the Marvin & Betty Danto Family Health Care Center in West Bloomfield.

Rabbi Yerachmiel Rabin

Finding music in a Jewish soul

I want Stanley, and others like him, to feel embraced and cared for by their extended Jewish family. There are many in our community who have no one. Stanley, who lives in the Marvin and Betty Danto Health Care Center in West Bloomfield, has few visitors and no living relatives. But Stanley should be valued, for he has gifts and talents that G-d wants to see and hear.

I respect and embrace each person I meet, trying to understand them on their terms, and become a part of their journey. I hope to bring expression, meaning and happiness to their lives. I consider it my G-d given mission to make the world a brighter place, with one opportune moment, one interaction, one conversation, one person at a time. My affiliation with The Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network helps me complete that mission.

To make a donation in honor of Rabbi Rabin, click here.

 

Rabbi Klainberg at the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Campus in Farmington Hills.

Rabbi Hershel Klainberg at the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Campus in Farmington Hills.

Rabbi Hershel Klainberg

I was born in a Displaced Persons Camp in Germany, the only child of Holocaust survivors. While I provide care and comfort to any hospice patient, there is a special place in my heart for Shoah survivors and their families.

Each survivor represents their departed loved ones, and a stolen world and way of life. My ability to speak Yiddish and to connect with the hearts and souls of our remaining survivors allows me entrée into their homes at the end of their precious lives. With each patient and family, I hope to ease some of their fears, and to help give them the closure and peace they deserve. Each of them lost many family members in the Shoah, to tragic, horrible deaths. If I can make a difference at the end, even for one person, my work has been valuable and meaningful. I know my parents, may they rest in peace, would be proud.

To make a donation in honor of Rabbi Klainberg, click here.

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Rabbi Avie Shapiro

I have been visiting hospice patients for 26 years, but in many ways I have prepared for this work for a lifetime. My father, an orthodox rabbi, made visiting nursing homes and hospitals a part of his daily routine. He often took my brother and me to shivah houses for evening services, where, at a young age, I became sensitive to the emotional pain of others’ grief.

When I became a rabbi, I realized that many of my peers shied away from visiting the sick, attending funerals or making shivah visits. For me, however, it was second nature.

Working with the elderly and hospice patients is very much a part of who I am. I have developed deep friendships with many patients and their families. Many have become extensions of my own family. When a patient dies, it often feels to me like the loss of a family member. My friendships with their survivors frequently continues for years to come.
The names of the people I have had the honor to visit, carry significant reminders of a relationship treasured, enjoyed, then lost but never forgotten.

To make a donation in honor of Rabbi Shapiro, click here.

Rabbi David Nelson is a former rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom. Here he offers counsel at the Oakland County Jail.

Rabbi David Nelson is a former rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom. Here he offers counsel at the Oakland County Jail.

Rabbi David Nelson

Celebrating in moments of joy is easy. Supporting those in anguish or desperation requires reaching into the innermost part of one’s being to find compassion and understanding. It is this challenge that attracted me to the rabbinate, to chaplaincy and to prison work. My work also includes supporting hospice clients and families for JHCN, making hospital visits, and police-related chaplaincy.

I recently entered a hospital room at Beaumont and sensed the woman I had come to visit wanted to talk. I asked if there was anything she wanted to discuss. I listened as she told her life story, at times with tears. The next day I received a call from the funeral home letting me know she had died that night. I was shocked. She had been doing well and was not in critical condition. I was grateful that I had been able to be present for her on that last day.

Connecting with people in despair and enabling them to share an untold story can be a powerful healing opportunity. I have been blessed to have participated in many of these moments during my nearly fifty years in the rabbinate. Everyone has a story to tell but they don’t always have someone with whom to share it. Whether in a prison setting, a hospital room, a home, or at the cemetery with a family, these are sacred moments. I want to be there to hear that story.

To make a donation in honor of Rabbi Nelson, click here.

Rabbi A. Irving Schnipper

Rabbi A. Irving Schnipper

Rabbi A. Irving Schnipper

Growing up in my house in Philadelphia, my mother would say in Yiddish “You are born to be lost,” meaning once you are born you begin a journey to die. In my household, dying wasn’t something to fear. My mother sewed the shrouds we’d be buried in, and they were hung in the closet until the day they were needed. Dying is something we spent a lifetime preparing for.

I wasn’t there at the end when my mother, my father, or my brother died. Maybe that’s why it’s so important for me to do this work for JHCN, to be there for others when their loved one is dying.

I went to visit a little old lady the other day who was sitting in bed, medicated, her eyes shut tight. She was not responsive. I told her she looked cute today and she opened her eyes a little. I asked if she wanted me to say a prayer. She said no. So I started singing “You Are My Sunshine.” Her eyes got big and she broke into a smile. That’s what she needed. It’s those little moments that may seem insignificant, but it’s what she needed that day.

I’ve gained a lot of wisdom in eight decades. It begins with listening, then offering advice, saying a prayer, or acting to help a dying person or their family find peace and comfort on their terms. I’ve been a pulpit rabbi at Beth Abraham Hillel Moses; a chaplain in the Korean war; worked to plant the seeds for Second Harvest food pantry; helped ensure Jewish patients in a psych hospital received a Jewish service. What I know is this: we are all G-d’s people and we need to spend our time helping the old, the sick and the dying.

To make a donation in honor of Rabbi Schnipper, click here.

Rabbi Hershel Klainberg – Caring for our Shoah Survivors

 
Posted on: January 28th, 2015 by Mike

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Caring for Our Shoah Survivors

Rabbi Hershel Klainberg

 

“Yaakov Yehuda Leib… Bayla Breindel… Simcha Nissan….”

 

The names of his relatives still echo in Rabbi Hershel Klainberg’s head. Throughout their lifetimes his parents spoke of their parents and siblings killed in the Shoah. They were a part of his oldest memories and as the only child, Hershel always knew it was his responsibility to remember their names.
Rabbi Klainberg was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany where his parents met after WWII. They came to Detroit in 1949 where HIAS found a job for his father at Ford Motor Company. His parents sent him to Yeshivah Beth Yehuda in the old neighborhood, where he would later teach after being ordained. He was also the chaplain for Jewish patients in a number of nursing homes.

 

Rabbi Bunny Freedman approached Rabbi Klainberg to work for JHCN 13 years ago, knowing a vital niche would be filled. Fluent in Yiddish with a deep understanding of the needs of Holocaust survivors, Rabbi Klainberg is welcomed like family into the homes of those who do not necessarily take kindly to strangers.

 

He has found his calling, motivated by doing something for those who suffered so much. Each survivor, he feels, represents those who never had the comfort or security of someone caring for them in their time of need. His mission is simple but deep: “When we support them in illness, we honor them and their murdered families. When we attend their burials and participate in final rites, we give them the dignity of the Jewish funerals their loved ones were denied. We have an obligation to take special loving care of our dwindling number of survivors for the millions of our people who were buried in mass graves, burned in the ovens or starved to death.”

 

On the back of Rabbi Klainberg’s mother’s headstone are the names of her family members murdered in the Shoah. They were sent to their deaths with no grave, and it was the one permanent thing he could do to honor them. With that same unique perspective and compassion, he engraves the memory of each person he cares for on his heart. Each time he sits at the bedside of Holocaust survivors, speaking the language of their childhoods, singing the melodies of their pasts, he offers comfort and understanding so they might find the peace and dignity denied to their six million brothers and sisters. This time they will not be abandoned.

Shoah Heroes Rose, z’l, & Moris Huppert

 
Posted on: January 28th, 2015 by Mike

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Shoah Heroes Moris & Rose, z’l, Huppert

 

Moris Huppert aptly calls himself a man of no fear.

 

He survived several labor and concentration camps, escaping from the first, Kosztrze, three times. He gave himself up several times to save others. He is also a man who hasn’t had one good night’s sleep since the Shoah. “People cannot understand if they didn’t go through it,” Moris says. “I’ve seen terrible deaths. They are with me all the time.”

 

Moris tells how he and three other boys escaped Kosztrze under cover of dark, risking their lives to get to Krakow. There he sought refuge from a young customer of the Huppert family business who’d given Moris her address should he be in danger. Startled to find the four boys at her door, she warned them there was a drunk Gestapo officer asleep inside and began leading them silently to a nearby room. Spotting the sleeping officer as they passed by a bedroom, Moris went in and strangled the officer, then donned his uniform. With the young woman’s help, the boys propped the dead body between them in a truck. They drove out of the city where they left the body before walking the entire night to reach Moris’s home town.

 

Similarly, Moris’s wife — Rose Zarasinska Huppert — a multi-talented self-taught artist, was not afraid to stand up to Nazis. Moris proudly recounts how Rose saved the lives of dozens of women destined for Auschwitz.

 

In caring for Moris and Rose, their daughter Rita Huppert Frumin reached out to JHCN and Rabbi Hershel Klainberg. Rabbi Klainberg, like Rita, is the only child of Shoah survivors and was born in a displaced persons camp. Rabbi Klainberg speaks Yiddish with Moris, listening and bearing witness to his stories. Rita lovingly makes sure her parents’ lives are treasured, honored and dignified, and that the family celebrates Shabbat together weekly in her parents’ home. Rita appreciates Rabbi Klainberg’s visits and the care and spiritual support offered to her family by JHCN.

 

Moris carries on a daily dialogue with God, talking to Him about the things he has seen, the things he has done. “They have it all written down up there, what I did,” he says. And he is at peace with that knowledge.

A Testimonial from David Oliwek

 
Posted on: January 28th, 2015 by Mike

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From the desk of David Oliwek

 

February 5, 2014

 

Dear Rabbi Freedman,

 

I didn’t know a lot about The Jewish Hospice and Chaplaincy Network and in all honesty I never wanted to know. When unbearable times came to my dear mother I learned the great value of something I never imagined we might ever need. Rabbi Klainberg, the face I came to know of Jewish Hospice, brought comfort to my mother who was living in an unbearable situation. My mother, Anna Oliwek, a Holocaust survivor, a brilliant hero with a past of miracles, needed the comfort of understanding one so kind as Rabbi Hershel could then give her. My mother didn’t know much of Jewish Hospice but she sure saw the love, caring and understanding of her Rabbi. My mother was a Torah scholar and found comfort in the words of fellow scholar, Rabbi Klainberg. The respect, mutual as it was, brought dignity to my mother who was living in a place where little was offered.

 

Jewish Hospice and Rabbi Hershel ask me for nothing. It’s the service they willingly give. I am honored to give Jewish Hospice and Rabbi Freedman great respect for the important labor of love they do. For my new friend Hershel, I promise him what he has and continues to give me, the unending respect, understanding, and caring of a good friend. I was not so long ago not quite sure what Jewish Hospice offered but I sure came to know what heartfelt services they gave.

 

Thank you for being there for our community when in need. Thank you for being there for My Sweet Yiddishe Momma. May She Rest In Peace.

 

With deep sincerity and high respect:

 

David Oliwek

Larry Wayne, z’l

 
Posted on: January 28th, 2015 by Mike

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Shoah Hero Larry Wayne, z’l

 

 

Larry Wayne was an affable, ebullient man, with a regal bearing.
He was born in 1923 in Lodz, Poland, to a large family that owned a commercial bakery. Larry attended the famous Katzenelson Gymnasium, a private school where he studied Hebrew, English, Polish, Latin and German, and trained to be a lieutenant in the Polish army. But in 1940, the family was forced into the Lodz ghetto. Larry’s father died in that ghetto in 1944 before the family was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where his mother and a little brother were gassed. Larry and another brother volunteered to work at the Janina coal mine and were later moved to various camps. Larry was shot and wounded trying to escape Buchenwald, where he was eventually liberated by the U.S. Army in 1945. After the war Larry and his surviving siblings — a brother and a sister — reunited in Bad Nauheim, then immigrated to Detroit in 1946.

 

Larry loved everything about the United States and said he cried every time he heard the National Anthem. Once here, he couldn’t forget the war, but he believed “you cannot live it all the time. You gotta start a life.” And what a life he made, marrying his Dorothy, starting a family, building a business, enjoying his many grandchildren, golfing, becoming involved with his shul. Educated, prosperous and happy, he truly drank the nectar of life. “He felt proud and lucky,” his daughter Brenda says. “He chose to live life to the fullest.”

 

In 2014, as Dorothy watched her husband of 64 years begin to decline, she and her family chose to access the specialized comfort care that only a hospice team can provide. But Dorothy also needed the strength of someone who understood both of Larry’s lives. In Rabbi Klainberg, she found the solace and understanding of someone whose family also came from Lodz and survived the Shoah. Rabbi Klainberg visited often, singing Yiddish songs with Larry and giving succor to Dorothy. The rabbi’s presence, constancy and comfort as Larry lived out the end of his life made all the difference to his wife and to his family.

 

Larry Wayne, 94, passed away on April 8, 2014, at peace and surrounded by his large, loving family. The last months of his life afforded him the dignity and respect that a most special Holocaust hero so richly deserved.

Boris Broder

 
Posted on: January 28th, 2015 by Mike

Shoah Hero Boris Broder

 

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Boris Broder is the only member of his family living in Poland during the Shoah to survive.

 

A visit with him is a fantastic experience. A sprightly 93 year-old, he jokes that he’s also the only bum in his family. Drafted into the Russian Army in his early twenties, Boris was befriended by a colonel who kept him back from several dangerous missions. Boris said he not only survived, but arrived in the States with a Buick and $1,000 taken from the Nazis—war spoils gifted to him by the colonel. “He was a good man to everyone, but he was almost like a father to me and I felt almost like a son.”

 

Boris, who retired at 85 after a successful career in home construction, doesn’t sleep well, waking four or five times a night. “Now that I’m not working, the Holocaust is with me all the time.” He remembers vividly Hitler’s 1943 declaration that the war would be over in four months. It was a fall of extreme cold, freezing Stalingrad with temperatures as low as -42°F. “The German army was dressed lightly, totally unprepared. We encircled their headquarters, cutting them off. All SS had a tattoo on their shoulders, and if we saw SS we put a bullet in them. Hopefully, young people should never, never have to go through what I went through.”

 

Then Boris breaks into Yiddish, singing songs from his youth near Bereznitz, and with a twinkle in his eye, teases his caretaker. Boris has become fast friends with Rabbi Hershel Klainberg, whose frequent visits assure Boris’s daughter that another pair of eyes are helping to watch out for him. With JHCN’s guidance, she secured a hospice aide and additional home care that helps her father’s health to improve, allowing him to become increasingly independent. With hope of Boris no longer needing this hospice care, both he and his daughter know that his return to good health won’t end his close relationship with Rabbi Klainberg.

 

©2017 Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network