The guiding principle of hospice is to ensure that a person’s death is as dignified and comfortable as possible, to maintain a patient’s quality of life and avoid unnecessary suffering. The role of hospice is to provide medical care and emotional support for the terminally ill. Hospice caregivers also provide valuable support to patients’ families. Some hospice organizations also provide palliative care for non-hospice patients. Palliative care is relieving symptoms or suffering, without attempting to cure an illness or disease.
Hospice organizations provide medical care via doctors and nurses who help advise and administer medications to ease suffering. They also help patients’ families make arrangements to acquire necessary medical equipment. Social workers are also available to help families and patients with the emotional process. Hospice providers also offer grief counseling, and some offer spiritual guidance. As with Levinson’s Aftercare Resources, hospice organizations are known for their continued support of families after the patient’s death. Some hospice organizations in the Baltimore-area are religious, some are not. Some are for-profit, some are not. All are committed to easing the process of death and dying for the terminally ill and their families.
Hospice services are available in one’s own home, in some hospitals, as well as at dedicated hospice facilities. It is important to know that hospice organizations will evaluate patients several times over the course of someone’s illness to determine their eligibility for hospice care and help advise the family, even before they are actually providing hospice services.
Within the Jewish community, there are some important resources, such as Jewish Community Services’ resources for Aging and Caregiving. Their assistance with Elder Care Management begins with helping families make decisions as their loved ones age, and they can also provide information about important end-of-life resources such as hospice care.
Genealogical research is pretty popular these days. How far back have you traced your family tree? There are a few resources you may not have heard of within the Baltimore/Maryland Jewish community to help you along the way:
Maybe you have a relative who is ill or going to need some long-term care and you have to spend down their assets, or your parents are older and you don’t want to have to worry about the impact of funeral costs while you are grieving, or you don’t want your family to have to worry about making decisions and handling the financial burden of your own funeral service.
There are several important reasons to take an hour of your time to make funeral arrangements in advance:
Ensure your peace of mind that your wishes will be followed.
Relieve the burden on your family, so they don’t have to worry about making significant emotional and financial decisions while they are grieving.
Control financial costs – when you pre-fund a funeral service, we guarantee our charges at today’s costs. (We always recommend speaking with a financial consultant or other professional regarding your personal financial situation.)
Reduce assets prior to applying for Medicaid.
Check out the Plan Ahead section of our website for an informative video, FAQs, and an online form to begin planning. Contact us to speak with a funeral director about any additional questions or to set up an appointment.
As promised, we now have a mobile version of our site and if you are checking us out from your phone, that is where you will be directed. Our hope was to create a platform that is much easier to use from a mobile device. With an emphasis on upcoming service information, we hope you will find it much easier to find the information you need at a glance.
On an individual’s page it is now easier to view and scroll through the obituary and memorial book information, and you can click to enlarge a person’s photograph. We have also made it easier to share the service details with others directly from your phone.
The mobile site also has information about how to contact us, cemeteries, planning ahead, and this blog. The archive of the past 6 months’ funerals is easy to find and simplified for the purposes of mobile devices. Several of our videos are on the new mobile site and the “Contact Us” page even allows you to use the virtual tour from your phone!
You can still access our full site and its many valuable resources via the menu at the top right.
We’re going to start this answer out by saying we strongly recommend you talk to a rabbi about this issue.
Shiva technically means “seven” and by definition lasts for seven Jewish calendar days starting immediately after the interment (burial). There are many important reasons for this first period of official mourning, but due to various considerations such as family needing to return to their homes in other cities or changes in religious observance, many families sit shiva for fewer than seven days. The length of this observance is now often determined by each family based on their needs.
The Yizkor memorial prayer is recited four times a year at synagogue services, including on Shavuot. Practices for length of holiday observance vary between denominations, so please check with your rabbi or synagogue to confirm this information. For those who observe two days of Shavuot, the Yizkor service is held on Thursday, May 16th. For those who observe one day of Shavuot, the service will be on Wednesday, May 15. A yahrzeit candle is traditionally lit the evening before.
Please see our website for a full calendar of Yizkor dates (based on 8-day observance).
Any information about ritual practice is intended as a general overview for the broader Jewish community and there are many differences of opinion within this community. Concerns about specific ritual practices should be directed to your rabbi. Opinions expressed in blog posts and in external links may not represent the opinions of the staff or ownership of Sol Levinson & Bros., Inc.
This Sunday, May 5 at 8:30am, tune in to Shalom USA Radio on 1300 AM, WJFK (in Baltimore), to hear one of our lecture speakers, Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt of Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Potomac, MD, and Jewish Community Services representative Janet Kurland, LCSW-C, discuss the upcoming lecture.
The Google truck will be in Pikesville on Friday, April 25. Users of Google Maps Street View will be able enter Levinson’s parking lot and walk through the front doors of the funeral home. Levinson’s will become the first Jewish funeral home in the country to partner with Google in this way. Users will have the ability to walk through and tour our lobby, chapels, library, parlors, arrangement offices, and more using a 360-degree panoramic view.
The changing face of the Jewish community in the United States means that there are families who are not affiliated with a particular synagogue. There is obviously a benefit to being a member of a synagogue and having a rabbi who is familiar with your family. However, if you are not affiliated with a synagogue, Levinson’s does engage clergy – for a fee set by the Baltimore Board of Rabbis – to officiate at funeral services. The members of the clergy (rabbis and cantors) are skilled at pulling together multiple people’s memories and crafting an accurate reflection of a person’s life. Because there is not a long-standing relationship with the family, it is especially important that the rabbi or cantor speak with as many members of the family as possible, to put together the eulogy.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us.