One of the highlights of my first Positive Aging Conference last year was meeting Rabbi Richard Address – we were in two workshops together. He intrigued me – sounded like he taught in New York, but he was a Phillies fan. Part of his work IS up there, but he lives down here! Fie & shame on me that I haven’t made an effort to reconnect. Silly me!
Rabbi Address is well-known & highly respected for his work developing & nurturing the Jewish Sacred Aging project, “creating awareness and resources for congregations on the implication of the emerging longevity revolution with growing emphasis on the aging of the baby boom generation.” His work, rooted in his faith, reaches across all beliefs, expanding awareness of the challenges & joys of aging upward within our society & communities.
In his keynote presentation, Rabbi Address mentions something that surprised delighted stunned me to hear from the speakers & see evidenced around me – medical professions speaking about how their personal faith affects their healing profession, about how to identify respect honor their patient’s wisdom.
The moments that move me most are when Rabbi Address tells about a man who decided to forego treatment that would have prolonged his life in order to preserve the quality of the time left. He speaks about the life-shifting sharing that happened over the remaining two months -“It was a testimony to the power of love. He was surrounded by his friends, his children. He had the opportunity to say good bye & they had the opportunity to say good bye to him. And he had the opportunity to tell his children & to tell his wife what they meant to him & to teach them. His son was in my office a few weeks ago, just to debrief, and was constantly again saying how much his dad taught him about what it means to be a man in those last few months of his life.” Those words touched me deeply, remembering the amazing information & insights I gained from Mom over the last 6+ weeks of her life, fresh knowledge that shifted my own life toward the massively better that was shared as we sat together talking in her hospital room, in her own bedroom.
Am honored to share this introduction to Rabbi Address, speaking a few years ago at the Lown Institute, which seeks a society where health care is seen as a right, where health care providers serve as both healers & advocates, especially for the vulnerable & in need. where patients feel safe, and where spending benefits people, communities, nations.
In other words, an organization where Rabbi Address should feel right at home!