NIJH contributes to how Jewish patients and their families are treated during end of life transitions.
We train the staff of hospices to be sensitive to Jewish concerns. On this page you’ll find information (booklets) on many important end of life issues. We also maintain a 24-hour hotline to provide advice to both families and caregivers.
What does it mean to serve the Jewish community in a culturally sensitive way?
Thousands of years of Jewish tradition provide guidelines that have helped people manage this end-of-life period of crisis through attitudes, rituals, prayers and religious symbols that most Jews observe at least in part.
Judaism has many practices and customs that are very meaningful, especially to a dying patient. These might be holiday celebrations, prayers, kosher dietary laws, charity etc. Generally, hospice services take place in the home. (There are a few in hospitals.) When a hospice worker comes into the home, if he/she is familiar with these practices and customs it makes the hospice experience significantly easier on the patient and the family.
There are many different groups within Judaism, from secular all the way to Ultra-Orthodox. Within those groupings there are many commonalities and many differences. Each individual, although he or she might belong to a particular group, might want different customs observed.
NIJH teaches the traditional Jewish viewpoint, highlighting the major differences. We stress that these are generalities and the hospice has to learn what are the particulars of each client.