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: https://jewishhospice.org/annual-campaign/
Portrait by Monni Must, NaturallyMonni.com