NASCK is in the final stages of preparing for our third year of TEAM Shabbos – a special Shabbos for Rabbonim and communities across North America to focus on the often-overlooked issues surrounding end-of-life. Last year, over 400 Shuls in over 200 communities joined together for TEAM Shabbos, impacting an estimated 100,000 people.
Although impressive, our work is far from over. There are many topics that affect every one of us, Halachic Medical Directives; Halachic Wills and Testaments; the obligation and value of caring for elderly parents; purchasing graves; joining and strengthening the Chevra Kadisha, etc. Each of us must prepare for the inevitable, and TEAM Shabbos is a vital spotlight that helps us focus on these uncomfortable, difficult, and complex issues.
In addition, the cremation rate in the United States continues to climb, reaching over 50% for the first time. As the secular world embraces cremation, the Jewish world sadly follows. Cremation rates among non-observant Jews reflect those of the world at large, reaching as high as 70% in some areas. Our challenge is to reach out and educate, to inspire consideration and reconsideration among our brethren for burial over cremation. One way to do this is to galvanize those Jews who do understand the need for K’Vurah K’Halachah and to help them recognize the prevalence of cremation. We can then recruit them in our efforts to reach out to the Jews in their circle and address the issue of cremation with them. TEAM Shabbos, a national broad-based movement, is a potent tool to encourage concerned Jews everywhere to assist us in our fight against this sad and unfortunate rising tide.
Parshas Vayechi discusses Yaakov Avinu’s illness, his charge to Yosef, the member of his family most capable of fulfilling his final wishes, and his Petirah and K’vurah. This Parshah provides us with the perfect opportunity to teach about the importance of preparing oneself and others around us for end-of-life events and traditional Jewish burial. Besides sermons, Shul Divrei Torah and Shiurim, NASCK is ready to help community leaders set up events, such as lectures, Q&A sessions, and Halachic Medical Directive sign-ups.
To support or sponsor TEAM Shabbos, please click here.