PLANNING AHEAD: AN ACT OF COMPASSION
Herb Rosenberg, Harold Lipton
Death is seldom an easy topic to discuss, and it is the Chevra’s hope that this article will help people understand and prepare to deal with the final part of life in this world.
Rabbi Maurice Lamm, author of the well known book “The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning” observes that people often do not wish to deal with death until they are confronted by it. He comments that many of the Jewish practices pertaining to death and mourning are meant to intrinsically provide consolation to the mourner and dignity to the deceased. It is the Chevra’s experience that making funeral arrangements in advance is also an act of compassion by an individual for his or her family.
It is customary for people to make all kinds of plans for life’s ultimate ending. Many draw up wills and create personal directives so that loved ones will be spared difficult decisions, or an awkward struggle to determine what one’s final wishes would have been. While few take much pleasure in planning their own send off, arranging for one’s funeral ahead of time can be an act of consideration for one’s family. It can be extremely stressful for surviving family members to make difficult decisions about a funeral in the midst of grief. Funeral costs today are not an insignificant expense, and it makes financial sense that survivors be guided and supported by decisions made ahead of time. Simple economics dictate that land values generally rise over time, and purchasing a cemetery plot in advance can be a wise decision. It can also spare one’s children the financial burden of having to purchase a plot on the spur of the moment.
The Calgary Chevra Kadisha encourages everyone to consider acquiring plots for their final resting place as far in advance as possible, and making any other funeral arrangements that can be completed ahead of time. This process is much more manageable when one is calm and able to carefully consider all options. Having a plan in place ensures that the funeral can be completed with dignity and with less stress for the bereaved family.
When one makes arrangements for themselves with Chevra Kadisha, it will be necessary to provide:
• Hebrew and English names of one’s parents and their places of birth
• one’s own Hebrew and English name, place and date of birth
• one’s Social Insurance Number, Alberta Health Care number, and driver’s license number
• name and contact information for the Executor of one’s estate
This information will help to ensure that arrangements can be made accurately and the family will be able to access all benefits available.