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May You Live To Be 120: Talking About Death

Date: Sunday, May 17
Time: 3:00-6:00 pm
Location: Via Zoom

Jews often bless each other with the phrase “May you live to be 120!” and we hope you do! If you do live that long, however, you still need to make plans for when the time comes. We’ll explore the legal, ethical and spiritual aspects of end-of-life decisions. Planning is especially crucial for LGBTQI, single adults, or anyone in relationships that may not be guaranteed legal, financial, and medical protections. For more information, contact

This workshop is brought to you by Rose Katz, Shoshana Levenberg, Karen Schiller, Andrew Ramer and Rabbi Copeland on behalf of Sha'ar Zahav's Chevra Kadisha (Burial Society)

Opening Plenary
3:00-3:50 PM
Introduction by Rabbi Mychal Copeland
Transforming Images of Death: Envisioning a "Death-Positive" Judaism
Reb Simcha Paull Raphael, Founding Director of the DA'AT Institute for Death Awareness, Advocacy & Training, author of Jewish Views of the Afterlife

Breakout Room Choices - Session 1
4:00-4:50 PM
Exploring Jewish Views of the Afterlife, Reb Simcha Paull Raphael
Preparing for Burial, James Carlson (with Sam Salkin of Sinai Memorial Chapel)
How to Write Your Own Obituary, Andrew Ramer
Communicating Your End of Life Choices Part 1: Creating a Power of Attorney, Ora Prochovnick Esq. specializing in LGBT family law, tenant advocacy and civil rights (with Shoshana Levenberg)

Breakout Room Choices - Session 2
5:00-5:50 PM
Communicating Your End of Life Choices Part 2: Creating a Will, Ora Prochovnick, Esq.
Writing Your Ethical Will, Paul Cohen
Trusts & Planned Giving, Deb Kinney, Esq. Johnston, Kinney & Zulaica LLP (with Irene Ogus)

The course is free for members with a suggested donation of $25 for non-members participating.
Thank you!

Breakout Room Choices - Session 1

1a. Exploring Jewish Views of the Afterlife: Contemporary Implications
Reb Simcha Paull Raphael
While many often assume Judaism does not believe in life after death, there are actually extensive Jewish traditions on the postmortem survival of the soul. In this presentation we will follow the afterlife journey, particularly in Kabbalah – Jewish mysticism. We shall explore the relevance of these teachings in dealing with death and grief today, and discover the connection between afterlife teachings and traditional Jewish death rituals.

1b. Preparing for Burial
James Carlson (with Sam Salkin of Sinai Memorial Chapel)
We may not cover every aspect of death, but we’ll give it a shot. Sam Salkin is the Executive Director of Sinai Memorial Chapel, the only Jewish funeral home in the Bay Area. James Carlson was the Executive Director of Hills of Eternity Memorial Park, where Sha'ar Zahav has its designated section of graves. Together they have the experience to answer your questions about making final arrangements.

1c. How to Write Your Own Obituary
Andrew Ramer
In our time together we'll be exploring what it means to write our own obituary, with some suggested guidelines. Most of our time together will be spent writing, and if comfortable, sharing what we came up with. Please have at hand writing materials and perhaps your all-time favorite photo of yourself.

1d. Communicating Your End of Life Choices Part 1: Creating a Power of Attorney
Ora Prochovnick, Esq. (with Shoshana Levenberg)
Attend this hands-on workshop to learn how to prepare important estate planning documents. Ora Prochovnick will give step by step instructions to prepare Advance Health Care Directives, to name someone to make health care decisions in the event of your incapacity and express your specific wishes about those decisions and to prepare Durable Powers of Attorney for Finances, to appoint a trusted friend or relative to handle your financial affairs should you be unable to. See below for a description for the next hour. Come for one or both sessions.

Breakout Room Choices - Session 2

2a. Communicating Your End of Life Choices Part 2: Creating a Will
Ora Prochovnick, Esq.
Attend this hands-on workshop to learn how to prepare important estate planning documents. In this second hour we will draft simple statutory wills together. These documents direct who will receive your possessions and other assets when you die, as well as give instructions regarding guardianship of children, burial or cremation, etc. Come for one or both sessions.

2b. Writing Your Ethical Will
Paul Cohen
Our ancestor Abraham was told by G-d to instruct his children to keep the Way of The Holy One. Throughout our long history, in many lands and times, parents and sometimes children left testaments and letters to their heirs in fulfillment of this same Instruction. Join this discussion of what an ethical will might contain, when to write it and to whom.

2c. Trusts & Planned Giving
Deb Kinney, Esq.
Deb will discuss the various trusts one can use during an incapacity to avoid probate and escape MediCal paybacks. We will also talk about the ethical and moral dilemmas one faces when leaving an estate. To whom and why? What is the legacy you want to leave? Come with questions - both practical and emotional will be addressed.  

Irene Ogus
Irene will help us think about our legacy and Sha'ar Zahav's future: It’s easy for us to look back at Sha'ar Zahav's accomplishments over the past 43 years – and they are many. It is harder to see what the future holds. While much of that is beyond our control, we can dream and hope and plan for a future that enriches generations to come as we have been enriched in our lifetime by our connection to Sha’ar Zahav. What is your picture of how Sha'ar Zahav will look in the near future and further on? How will your Planned Giving provide a Legacy to this community?

Student Information

Member: Free
Non-Member: $25.00

Optional Donation (select from dropdown menu)

Mon, May 20 2024 12 Iyar 5784