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         Meet Our "What Matters" Team

"What Matters" - Caring Conversations about End of Life.

Feel free to email should you wish to schedule your first conversation or have someone contact you to discuss the program.

This initiative is part of a national program called “Respecting Choices” developed by the Gundersen Health System in Wisconsin.  JCC Manhattan, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and The New Jewish Home have collaborated to create  “What Matters” which has adapted the Gundersen model for our New York Jewish community.  Funding is currently provided by grants from Plaza Jewish Community Chapel and UJA-Federation.

Rachel Neumark Herlands, Committee Co-Chair

Rachel Neumark Herlands joined LSS as a newlywed in 1972. 
She has held numerous leadership positions at LSS, including serving as an Officer of the Synagogue, Trustee for over forty years, co-founder of its Chevra Kaddisha in the 1970’s, and service as the Chevra's chairperson for the past four decades. Rachel also volunteers as a “Doula to Accompany and Comfort”, visiting terminally ill individuals who find themselves alone at this difficult time in their lives. Additionally, she is a member of the Executive Committee of Plaza Jewish Community Chapel. Familiarity with end of life challenges has heightened Rachel’s sensitivity to those who feel uncomfortable facing decisions that encompass end of life care.

In participating as a facilitator in The WM program at LSS, Rachel uses her experience to help others face confront and cope with their mortality decisions.

Sarah Robinson, Committee Co-Chair

I am a social worker in end of life care, principally providing support for this who are encountering loss and bereavement. “What Matters” is a resource for the Jewish community of New York which encourages conversation around the medical care someone wishes to receive if through some life event they are unable to use their own voice. 
I love the What Matters initiative because it prioritizes listening and speaking in order to more fully understand someone else’s priorities and values. It’s only through this process that we can truly be there for another, at any stage of life. It's an important value for me having been involved with the community as Rebbetzin for the past 12 years. I like the thought of resources in the community nurturing an individual and their family, and believe the community will benefit tremendously from this initiative.

Ruvan Cohen, Facilitator 

Ruvan Cohen has been a member of Lincoln Square Synagogue since 1983. He and his wife Shelley have raised their three children in this community. Ruvan has experienced the loss of a parent, a child and a sibling and knows how fraught these moments of loss can be to a family's decision-making. He volunteers as a What Matters facilitator to help people have conversations that are often difficult and to think through what is important to them.

Shirley Wald

I am Shirley Wald a member of LSS since 1964.  I have had the privilege of being a Board member serving in various capacities for over 40 yrs. My parents in law were founders and pioneers of LSS.  Now my daughter, Paris serves too as an Executive Board member.  Her daughters are actively engaged in the Youth Programs and Women’s Tefillah projects.
I am a retired Registered Nurse with much experience in supporting patients and family in regard to difficult decisions while under great stress.  Plan ahead. Let the What Matters volunteers assist you regarding Living Wills, Medical Proxies, and any End Of Life Issues. Assure your wishes be honored.  Let your loved ones be informed and relieve them of uncertainties at a most trying time.

Anna Freilich, Facilitator

Anna has been a member of the Lincoln Square community since she moved to New York in 1983. Anna and her husband Mark have two children who they raised on the UWS. When her father passed away several years ago, there were no conversations taking place on the topic of advanced care planning, and some decisions needed to be made in the moment. Anna feels that, although it is an emotional process, it is a gift to have a voice in how you would like your affairs taken care of. She welcomes the opportunity to facilitate conversations people would like to have and to explore their personal thoughts and wishes about advanced care planning.

Sat, June 22 2024 16 Sivan 5784