What Matters: Caring Conversations About End of Life

Park Avenue Synagogue has joined with other New York synagogues and communal organizations in a new initiative called What Matters: Caring Conversations About End of Life. Through facilitated conversations, this program begins the process of understanding Advance Care Planning and considers important questions. This process will help you clarify your goals and wishes for future healthcare and other choices should you be unable to communicate your wishes due to a sudden accident or illness.

The What Matters process honors the sacredness of life and incorporates your Jewish values,  personal goals, ethics, and life choices to provide profound guidance in these decisions.

We look forward to working with you on this important initiative. Should you wish to schedule a first conversation, please contact Rabbi Neil Zuckerman at 212-369-2600, x121 or whatmatters@pasyn.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Advance Care Planning (ACP)?
Advance Care Planning (ACP) is for anyone 18 years of age or older, to supplement the New York State Health Care Proxy. It is a process of communicating and planning for future healthcare and other decisions if you had a sudden event, like a car accident or illness, which leaves you unable to speak for yourself. A proxy or agent, whom you select, would make medical and other choices on your behalf. These conversations between you and your agent, as well as a document called an Advance Directive, will convey your goals and wishes, to help your agent make decisions on your behalf.

What if I choose not to have an Advance Directive?
Without an Advance Directive, your family physician, a hospital, or in some cases, a judge, would have to make decisions for you without necessarily knowing your wishes.

How long will the process take?
An initial conversation with a facilitator normally takes less than an hour, although you may want to continue the discussion after more reflection with your loved ones, doctors, clergy, and/or an attorney.

Where do I go from here?
Should you wish to schedule a first conversation, please contact Rabbi Neil Zuckerman at 212 369-2600, x121 or email whatmatters@pasyn.org. For more information, visit www.whatmattersny.org.

The facilitated discussions are voluntary, free of charge, and completely confidential. This initiative is part of a national, evidence-based program developed over 20 years ago, by the Gundersen Health System in Wisconsin. With generous funding from Plaza Jewish Community Chapel and UJA Federation of New York, What Matters is a collaboration between the Center for Pastoral Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary, JCC Manhattan and The New Jewish Home.