End-of-Life Services

Life-Support Decisions: The Jewish Perspective

A large component of the CMC’s work with Jewish hospital patients is in helping to deal with the reality of end-of-life issues. These issues are often very difficult and complex, and family members are frequently quite unprepared to deal with them. They may suddenly face the responsibility of making complicated decisions regarding the commencement, continuation or termination of life support for a dying patient. Further adding to the confusion, medical opinion on the patient may be inconclusive. Worse yet, even if presented as conclusive it is certainly still fallible. What is the Jewish perspective and what are some practical guidelines for the appropriate course of action to take under these exceedingly trying circumstances?

חיי שעה: Torah Guidance for End-of-Life Issues

Spiritual Counsel and Traditional Jewish Practices

In the event of loss, CMC chaplains are there to offer spiritual counsel and facilitate religious observances for family members.

We promote traditional (halachic) Jewish funeral and mourning practices, and organize community resources to make these practices available to all Jewish people. We coordinate the presence of a minyan at funerals and ensure that the mourner’s kaddish is recited.

Musical Enrichment

The use of music for patients to help induce relaxation, promote healing, enhance mental functioning, improve mood and foster an overall sense of well-being, is an age-old practice. The CMC’s musical enrichment program offers patients live musical renditions at bedside. The program is available for patients in hospitals, other care facilities, and private homes, and is specifically recommended for end-of-life patients. This beautiful and meaningful program is provided to patients free of charge, thanks to an endowment from the generous sponsorship of the Novick and Milstein families, in memory of Rabbi William Z. and Eda Bess Novick. For more information or to schedule a bedside rendition, please call the CMC.

How To Care For A Jewish Patient Who Has Passed Away

Download, print and sign this Affirmation of Patient’s Wishes document. Submit this document to the patient’s medical practitioner in order to be kept in the patient’s medical record.

Kaddish and Memorial Services

One of the most sacred rituals observed by all Jews throughout the generations is the practice of reciting the Kaddish prayer for those who have passed on from physical life. The recitation of Kaddish is a tremendous merit and source of elevation for the soul, and may be one of the greatest gifts you can give to your departed loved one.

The ideal preference is for the deceased’s children to recite Kaddish during the thrice-daily prayers, every day throughout the first eleven months after the passing, and each year on the Yahrtzeit (anniversary) of the passing. If this is not possible however, then another person may be hired to recite kaddish for the deceased instead. Under such circumstances, the CMC offers the guaranteed recitation of kaddish on behalf of the deceased for the full duration of the eleven-month mourning period, as well as on the annual day of the Yahrtzeit.


In the Yizkor prayer, which is recited in Synagogue on the holidays of Yom Kippur, Passover, Shavuot and Shemini Atzeret, we implore G-d to remember the departed souls of our parents, relatives and friends. Reciting Yizkor strengthens our connection with our deceased loved ones, and brings additional merit to their souls in heaven.  For those who are unable to recite the Yizkor prayer themselves, the CMC offers to guarantee its recital on behalf of your departed parents and loved ones, on all of the appropriate Jewish holidays.

End-of-Life Services Request

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