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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

The Carole Jo Lasser z’l Music Program

Posted on: June 14th, 2017 by Mike

The Carole Jo Lasser z’l Music Program

We are delighted to formally introduce the Carole Jo Lasser, z’l, Music Program. There are currently no other music initiatives in our community for Jewish patients who are critically ill. Carole Jo’s parents, Jacqueline and Myron Milgrom, have generously helped JHCN create this program in her memory.

The Carole Jo Lasser z’l Music Program provides home visits from cantors and musicians, connecting JHCN patients to their Jewish heritage.

Carole’s parents nurtured her passion for music. They encouraged Carole’s musical gifts from the time she sat down at the piano at age seven and quickly discovered she could play by ear. Earning a bachelor’s degree in music at the University of Michigan and an advanced degree in music pedagogy at Schoolcraft College, Carole found her calling as a much sought-after piano teacher and performer.

To make a donation, click here and choose The Carole Jo Lasser z’l Music Program from the Choose A Fund dropdown menu.


The JHCN Board of Directors recognized Carole Lasser’s parents for creating a music program that will benefit JHCN’s LifeLinks and hospice patients. (From left): JHCN Senior Director Rabbi Joseph H. Krakoff, Jackie Milgrom, JHCN President David Techner, Myron Milgrom, and JHCN Founder and CEO Rabbi E.B. (Bunny) Freedman.

Members of Carole’s family attending the recognition ceremony included (from left): Rob Bloomberg, Will Bloomberg, Allison Bloomberg, Jackie Milgrom, Myron Milgrom, Marianne Bloomberg, Paula Milgrom, Jim Barnett.

Judge Michael L. Stacey Trust Hospice Heroes

Posted on: April 19th, 2017 by Mike


Recognizing Hospice Heroes

The Jewish Hospice and Chaplaincy Network expresses its profound gratitude to Judge Michael L. Stacey (z’l) for naming the agency as a beneficiary of his Trust. In 2016, the Judge Michael L. Stacey Trust provided funding to several agencies throughout the community, with hospice caregiving among those causes he cared for deeply. In honor of Judge Stacey’s commitment to those who care for those with life-limiting or terminal illness, JHCN has established a recognition program honoring compassionate caregivers who serve those facing the end of life in the Jewish community. Beginning in 2017, JHCN will select a caregiver each month to be recognized for their dedication, commitment and advocacy on behalf of the most vulnerable among us. The Judge Michael L. Stacey Trust enables JHCN to continue its mission ensuring no Jew is ever alone at the end of life.


January 2017 – Kathleen Olsen

“It is a privilege and honor to be a presence for individuals and families embracing, grappling, fearing, fighting, succumbing, accepting the suffering which accompanies failing bodies and/or a life ending on this earth. I can’t imagine doing anything more worthwhile with my education and background. This is the best possible way to care.”


February 2017 – Sharon Perry

“I am a woman of faith who at the age of 18 learned that health care was a calling in my life. I love what I do. I approach every case as if they were a close family member. It makes me stay humble and give 100% of myself. To God be the glory.”


March 2017 – Kim McKenzie

“Symptoms are multiple, emotions are raw and despite all the challenges in hospice work, there is a peace that settles into our souls knowing you helped provide compassionate care for a fellow sojourner. That keeps us motivated to this daily work. Either that, or maybe just a touch of crazy. It is a thin line!”


April 2017 – Dauwan Yharbrough

“I love what I do. My passion for this work comes from within. It’s instilled in my mind but mainly my heart. It makes a big difference if I can change a frown to a smile by being someone’s companion. I just love walking into someone’s home changing the atmosphere to happiness.”

Save the Date – 11th Annual Caring Coalition Conference March 21, 2018

Posted on: November 15th, 2016 by Mike

Registration opens January 15, 2018.


The Best Care Possible

The 11th annual Caring Coalition Conference, The Best Care Possible, to be held on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 in Southfield, Michigan, will bring together nurses, social workers, clergy, case managers, nursing home administrators, and other health care professionals from Southeast Michigan and bordering states. The intent of this conference is to increase understanding of the complex issues related to serious and terminal illness. Conference participants will receive continuing education credits, along with the opportunity to network with others in their field.


Co-chaired by Rabbi Bunny (E.B.) Freedman, founding director of Jewish Hospice and Chaplaincy Network, and Cheryl Weiss, JHCN’s director of education, this symposium will feature national presenters William Breitbart, MD, Betty Ferrell, RN, PHD, Sherri Mandell, MA, and Steven Pantilat, MD.


About Our Featured Speakers

William Breitbart, MD, FAPM, is a psychiatrist and chief of the psychiatry service, department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer in New York. He is a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Dr. Breitbart is also a past president of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine and the editor-in-chief of ”Palliative and Support Care.” He is an attending psychiatrist in the palliative care service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Breitbart is a founding member of both the American Psycho-Oncology Society (APOS) and the International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS), where he served on the executive board and is a former president respectively.


Betty Ferrell, RN, PHD, is the director of the nursing research and education and a professor at City of Hope National Medical Center in California. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and her publications have appeared in more than 400 peer-reviewed journals and texts. She is principal investigator for the “End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC)” project and directs several other funded projects related to palliative care and quality of life issues. Ferrell completed a master’s degree in theology, ethics and culture from Claremont Graduate University. She has authored 11 books, including the “Oxford Textbook of Palliative Nursing,” and co-author of “Making Health Care Whole: Integrating Spirituality into Patient Care.” In 2013, Ferrell was named one of “30 Visionaries” in the field by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.


Sherri Mandell, MA, is an Israeli-American author. She is best known as the mother of Koby Mandell, a thirteen-year-old American boy who was murdered near their home in the West Bank in May of 2001. Mandell and her husband, Rabbi Seth Mandell, founded the Koby Mandell Foundation. Sherri Mandell was born in New York and graduated from Cornell University in 1977. She received an M.A. in creative writing from Colorado State University and taught writing at the University of Maryland and at Penn State University. She is the author of “Writers of the Holocaust” and has written for numerous magazines and journals, including The Washington Post, The Denver Post and The Jerusalem Post. Sherri is the author of “The Blessings of a Broken Heart” and “Resilience.”


Steven Pantilat, MD, is a palliative care physician, hospitalist and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and founding director of the UCSF Palliative Care program. Dr. Pantilat is an internationally recognized expert in both hospital medicine and palliative care. Dr. Pantilat directs the UCSF Palliative Care Leadership Center which trains teams from more than 200 hospitals in establishing palliative care services. He also consults with hospitals and health systems nationally to help them establish, implement and grow palliative care programs. Dr. Pantilat also directs the Palliative Care Quality Network, a national collaboration of more than 85 palliative care teams focused on improving the quality of care for seriously ill people.



The Best Care Possible conference is presented by the Caring Coalition, a diverse group of Southeast Michigan hospices, hospitals and community organizations whose purpose is to educate health care professionals and the general public about issues related to hospice and palliative care. Our attendees serve the physical and emotional needs of thousands of patients and their families throughout Southeast Michigan and bordering states. The more than 75 members of the Caring Coalition have worked together since 2008 to present accredited conferences featuring nationally known and local experts and have each attracted more than 900 health care professionals.


Past Conferences

The 2017 Shenkman-Weisberg Caring Coalition Conference featured national presenters Ira Byock, MD, Sheldon Solomon, PhD, Jessica Zitter, MD and David Pinsky, MD. The program included a viewing of the award winning documentary “Extremis” as well as an Experts Panel moderated by hospice medical director Michael Paletta, MD. Panelists included our conference speakers as well as local experts Corey Kennard, MACM and Michael Miller. Jeffrey Forman, MD, closed the conference with the story of his personal journey.The 2016 conference featured neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky, PhD, geriatrician Joanne Lynn, MD, oncologist Richard Payne, MD, Marcus Engel, and Michael Paletta, MD. The 2015 conference, Caring for the Whole Person featured Rawandan survivor Immaculeee Ilibagiza, grief specialist David Kessler, psychologist Dr. Dale Larson, and cancer researcher Dr. Sofia Merajver. In 2014 Pain, Loss and Suffering presented journalist and author Joshua Prager, physicians Stacie Pinderhughes and Michael Levy, and local grief survivor Gary Weinstein. The 2013 conference, Values, Ethics and Culture at End of Life, with keynote speaker bioethicist Arthur Caplan, focused on the impact of values and ethics on end of life experiences. The 2012 conference, On My Terms: Patient Directed Care focused on patient centered care, and featured nationally recognized hospice physician and author Ira Byock, M.D. Our 2011 conference, The Science of Comfort Care, explored evidence-based practices and philosophies offering comfort to those affected by chronic and life-limiting illness. The 2010 conference, Handle with Care: Powerful Compassionate Care Giving drew attendees to a conversation about best practices in caregiving. In 2009, our conference, The War on Pain, addressed the under treatment of pain in patients with chronic and terminal illness. In 2008, The Same But Different symposium explored the similarities and differences in rituals and customs practiced by different faiths at the end of life.


Carole’s Enduring Legacy

Posted on: November 14th, 2016 by Mike


Carole’s Enduring Legacy

Carole Lasser, of blessed memory, was an extraordinary mother, sister, daughter, grandmother and a JHCN palliative care and hospice patient. 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.


Click here to see an online version of the publication or click here to send us your mailing address.


Make a donation to ensure very member of our community who needs help receives the best care possible.

Carole’s Enduring Legacy

Posted on: November 14th, 2016 by Mike

Carole’s enduring legacy…


Every Day Is A Gift

Portraiture by Monni Must


When one imagines hospice,


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


(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.


A grand piano accented the living room.


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…


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,


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.


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



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…


… 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…


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

Progress Report: LifeLinks at 18 Months

Posted on: November 11th, 2016 by Mike

LifeLinks Progress Report #3 May 2016

LifeLinks at 18 Months

In May 2015 The Jewish Hospice and Chaplaincy Network began the LifeLinks program, having discovered in the course of our work that there is an enormous gap in services for terminally ill individuals. For this cohort of patients curative care is often no longer an option. They are not yet ready for hospice but they are in serious need of assistance in managing their pain/symptoms and finding comfort. Studies show that repeated visits to doctors and hospitalizations by patients with incurable illness tend to have negative impacts and increase morbidity rates. We searched throughout the community for home-based palliative care services to offer our patients and found that no organized system existed. The solution called for the creation of the LifeLinks, home-based palliative care for our Jewish community, in order to maintain patients with incurable illness, comfortably at home. By providing them the best possible care we ensure that no Jew is ever alone at the end of life. In developing the LifeLinks pilot project, we conferred with a plethora of doctors who serve the Jewish community and asked them to help us identify terminally ill patients who would benefit from home-based palliative services. We met with sixty-five groups of doctors/individual practitioners and presented our master plan of managing their pain and symptoms.


LifeLinks Average Daily Census

LifeLinks Progress Report #3 May 2016

Dr. Jeffrey Forman joins JHCN Board of Directors

Dr. Jeffrey Forman has served as the volunteer medical director since the inception of LifeLinks. Over the last six months Dr. Forman’s role has expanded. He attends all bi-weekly meetings, advises on administrative and medical protocols and is actively involved in fundraising meetings with donors and foundations. Dr. Forman maintains relationships with our medical partners including doctors, hospital systems and hospices. On October 26, 2016 he was officially appointed to the JHCN Board of Directors.

Fundraising: Celebration of Life Events


To help underwrite the additional costs to JHCN associated with LifeLinks we initiated Celebration of Life events where we gather in the home of appreciative supporters who invite their friends to partner in our work. We are grateful to Sharon and Marvin Walkon, Linda Kovan, Dr. Anita and Dr. Ron Taylor, and Cindy and Barry Howard for the gracious hospitality in opening their homes. We also thank Gail Danto and Art Roffey and the Ravitz Foundation for offering challenge grants to further this effort. There are currently five additional Celebration of Life Events on the calendar for the first quarter of 2017. If you would like to open your home and invite your friends to one of these events, please contact Rabbi E.B. Freedman, Rabbi Joseph Krakoff or Bonnie Laker at 248-592-2687.

Palliative Care Partners

We established premiere partnerships with Hospice of Michigan, Seasons Medical Group and Residential Home Health. Through these relationships, we identified three doctors willing to make home visits as well as eight nurse practitioners and numerous home care specialists with an expertise in palliative care. We merged them with our rabbis, social workers, volunteers and the resources of the Jewish community to meet the needs of these patients in their own homes. The clinical services are paid for by Medicare with no out of pocket expense to the patient. The services of the rabbis, social workers, care coordinators and volunteer management are provided by JHCN also at no cost to the patient.

Seasons Medical Group


Seasons Medical Group, through their palliative care program, is providing nurse practitioner visits to patients at home and in facilities and has taken care of more than 100 of our LifeLinks patients thus far. Rabbi Yisrael Pinson, a member of the JHCN team, is the dedicated Rabbinic Liaison to all of these patients.

Hospice of Michigan


Hospice of Michigan, under the leadership of Bob Cahill, CEO; Patrick Miller, Executive Vice President & COO; and Dr. Michael Paletta, Chief Medical Director have provided strategic guidance and clinical training. They have enthusiastically volunteered the use of their ‘All Scripts’ patient data system and spent countless hours tailoring it to our specific needs. HOM, in their partnership with Arbor Hospice, has recently developed the Community Based Palliative Care program and will soon begin offering nurse practitioner services to LifeLinks.

Dr. Jeffrey Margolis & Michigan Healthcare Professionals (MHP)


Michigan Healthcare Professionals (MHP), a practice of more than 400 physicians is led by Dr. Jeffrey Margolis. He is a fervent proponent of LifeLinks and is referring an average of 3-4 patients per week. Dr. Margolis is currently organizing all of the MHP oncology physicians to utilize the services of LifeLinks.

Henry Ford Health System – West Bloomfield Hospital partnership


The Henry Ford System, under the leadership of Medical Director Dr. Betty Chu, has made a commitment that every terminally ill Jewish patient in their system will be referred to LifeLinks. We have had two meetings with their team to date. In the first meeting, we presented to nurse practitioners, physician assistants, social workers and case mangers and in the second meeting we spoke with representatives of each department in the hospital. We are currently establishing protocols to assure that each HFWBH patient is enrolled in LifeLinks before they are discharged. We have three shared goals: (a) preventing unnecessary readmissions to the hospital; (b) adding a Jewish component to patient care; and (c) ensuring that no Jew is ever alone.

Meet the JHCN Rabbis – Rabbi Avie Shapiro

Posted on: December 18th, 2015 by Mike

Rabbi Avie Shapiro visiting a patient at the Marvin & Betty Danto Family Health Care Center in West Bloomfield.

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.

To read about all of the JHCN rabbis featured in this year’s annual campaign, visit:


Portrait by Monni Must,

Meet the JHCN Rabbis – Rabbi Joseph H. Krakoff

Posted on: December 9th, 2015 by Mike

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.

To read about all of the JHCN rabbis featured in this year’s annual campaign, visit:


Portrait by Monni Must,

Meet The JHCN Rabbis – Rabbi Yisrael Pinson

Posted on: December 2nd, 2015 by Mike
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.

To read about all of the JHCN rabbis featured in this year’s annual campaign, visit:


Portrait by Monni Must,

Meet The JHCN Rabbis – Rabbi Jennifer Kaluzny

Posted on: November 24th, 2015 by Mike
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.

To read about all of the JHCN rabbis featured in this year’s annual campaign, visit:


Portrait by Monni Must,


©2017 Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network