“End of Life Issues Seminar”; New North London Synagogue - January

Following the initiative of the Foundation to run a series of seminars on the topic of “The End of Life Issues”, a very successful roundtable discussion was held at the New North London Synagogue. The speakers were Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg and Sheikh Khalifa. Sheikh Khalifa is the senior imam of St John’s Wood mosque; Rabbi Wittenberg is the senior Rabbi of the synagogue and the Masorti movement. Sheikh Khalifa and Rabbi Wittenberg are both members of the Foundation’s National Council of Imams and Rabbis.

Among the participants were health care officials who work in a hospice with people who are reaching the end of their lives due to physical illness. Therefore, they were very interested to hear about the Jewish and Muslim approach to the way that the patients and their families can be best supported and cared for.

The discussion included what is exactly meant by withdrawal or withholding of treatment; who makes the decision? What does the religion say about it? How do we discuss these issues with the close family members of the patient when the family may have conflicting views about it? What happens if the patient had not previously made their wishes known to the family? Can we look non-judgementally at the decision of a patient who wishes to receive no further treatment when there is no hope of a cure?

The participants found the discussion helpful and thought-provoking.

The Foundation’s cooperation with the mosque and the synagogue are ongoing.

Imam speaking
Rabbi speaking