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UPDATE: “What Matters: Caring Conversations About End of Life”



As “What Matters: Caring Conversations About End of  Life” completes its first year, it is a moment to step back and reflect about how far we have come and where we are heading. On September 13th, we hosted an important event “Share the Experience,” to mark the completion of the pilot phase, to elevate the lessons learned and to hear directly from the leadership at our first five sites about their experience. We are pleased that to date, over 32 facilitators have been trained and certified and 150 one-on-one conversations have taken place. In addition, thousands of individuals have been exposed to “What Matters” and advance care planning through special programming, targeted outreach, newsletter articles, sermons, and other initiatives. We are also happy to announce that each of the original 5 sites (The JCC Manhattan, The New Jewish Home, Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, Central Synagogue, and Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim) remains committed to this endeavor and will be continuing next year.


Our consultant relationship with Gundersen Health System and Respecting Choices has been critical, as we have adapted their systems, protocols, materials and training programs to “What Matters” and the Jewish community of New York. Gundersen has also gained from our development of Jewish materials and curriculum, and they are planning to promote our unique faith-based approach across their national network.


The next group of “What Matters” sites has been identified – DOROT, Lincoln Square Synagogue, Park Avenue Synagogue, and West End Synagogue. They will gather for their first planning and implementation meeting in mid-September. This coming year will also see certification of another 32 facilitators, and for the first time, 10 instructors who will ensure a constant flow of trained facilitators and program sustainability into the future. Increased emphasis will be on community-wide programs to provide opportunities for education and discussion around advance care planning and to heighten awareness of “What Matters.”


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