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Making Choices: Advance Directives and Final Wishes

This course was offered in Winter/Spring, 2018.

This session will demystify advance planning, ethical wills, and ethical dilemmas: extending life, organ donation, genetic testing, abortion, autopsy, and stem-cell usage. We will also share practical knowledge regarding planning a funeral, choosing a cemetery, selecting a plot, and financial planning. We'll explore how we talk with/to our children/spouse/partner about end of life wishes and be sensitive to questions raised by immigrant (FSU, Israel, and others) and inter-married families.

This is one part of a five-part series Walking in the Valley of the Shadow. You may attend any or all topics in any location in any order.

For the third straight year, Lehrhaus, The Gamliel Institute, Sinai Memorial Chapel and The Bay Area Jewish Healing Center address the challenging issues surrounding death and dying.


# Sessions
Date & time

Tuesday, April 10
7:30 - 9:00 pm

Session Time Days Location Instructors
Apr 10 7:30 PM–9:00 PM Tue Etz Chayim Edna Stewart Sam Salkin


Congregation Etz Chayim

4161 Alma Street

Palo Alto, CA 94306-4546



Sam Salkin

Sam SalkinSamuel J. Salkin is executive director of Sinai Memorial Chapel since 2010. Sam has extensive managerial and leadership experience in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. He received his B.S. and M.S. from Cornell University and is a licensed funeral director.

Edna Stewart

Edna StewartEdna Stewart is a member of the Gamliel Institute and the coordinator of the multi-part Taste of Gamliel webinars. She has been an educator over 30 years both professionally and as a volunteer. She holds a Master’s Degree from Columbia University in Public Health Administration, with a focus on program and policy development.

Much of her current volunteer work, in addition to regular Chevra Kadisha activities, centers on education about Jewish practices around death and burial. A member of Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, CA she is the former chair of the adult education committee and current co-chair of the Chevra Kadisha, Edna holds popular “Death Cafes,” and a series of classes called “The Elephant in the Room.”

Working with two distinguished educators, Edna was awarded a grant from the Jewish Federation of the East Bay to develop a plan for community education on Jewish end of life practices. The result of this planning activity is a six-part community education project entitled “Walking in the Valley of the Shadow: An Illuminated Conversation about Jewish End of Life Practice.”