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Hospice Care and Jewish Values

The special nature of HSL hospice care
The special nature of HSL hospice care

On March 9, we marked the formal opening of Hebrew SeniorLife Hospice Care with a presentation by Dr. Jerome Groopman that articulated the essential Jewish values of love and hope at the core of our endeavor. We came together to express our gratitude to the generous donors who made it possible and the exceptional hospice team who care for our patients.

It was a “shehechiyanu moment,” expressing profound gratitude for our community’s accomplishment and new path to embracing those in need. Our hospice care service springs from HSL’s 111 years of service to the Boston Jewish community, as well as to seniors from all of Boston’s diverse neighborhoods and cultural backgrounds.

The uniqueness of our Jewish hospice answers the question we asked when we first considered building a Jewish hospice service: “Could we point to Jewish ideas and traditions upon which to build a genuinely Jewish hospice?” After searching Biblical and Rabbinic texts, the resounding answer was yes!

Jewish values reside at the core of HSL Hospice Care: Kevod haberiyot (the dignity of human life), chesed (loving kindness), and Tipul rachamani (compassionate care of those who are ill).  No after- thought, these values have informed our mission from inception to our ongoing day-to-day operation.

Respect for Jewish tradition and the variety of expressions of Jewish culture (Yiddishkeit), is another founding principle. We are committed to creating an atmosphere in which all in the Jewish community feel respected and at home and respectful of those who follow Jewish Law (Halacha).

And beyond the Jewish community, I take great pride in applying these values from our tradition to the care of all who seek our service regardless of religious identity.   We believe that our core values are shared by many faith traditions and spiritual belief systems and strive to honor them.

For me personally, for HSL and for our community, that Sunday’s event marked the fulfillment of a dream. Now we move on to bring healing and hope to those who seek our aid.

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Rabbi Herman J. Blumberg's picture

About the Blogger

Rabbinic Director of Hebrew SeniorLife Hospice Care

Rabbi Blumberg was Rabbinic Director of Hebrew SeniorLife Hospice Care. Previously, he was a Staff Chaplain at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, with special focus on the acute care units and the Palliative Care Team. He is an alumnus of the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center’s Clinical Pastoral Education Program, having completed two units here. He is the Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Shir Tikva, and has rabbinic experience in school and agency settings as well. Rabbi Blumberg has a particular interest in the ethics of end-of-life care. 

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Remember me from Providence? I was not surprised to see in the Boston Globe that you are working with Hospice patients. I still remember your warmth and kindness and how sad I was when you and your family left Providence. You were the best Rabbi we ever had. Please say hello to Paula for me. I have wonderful memories of our walks together. Sending love and good wishes, Barbara
Hi Barbara, We will pass your kind note to Rabbi Blumberg. -The Hebrew SeniorLife Social Media Team

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