After Moses shattered the first set of Ten Commandments, destroying them with the Golden Calf, Moses did not discard those tablets' broken fragments. Although he returned to Mount Sinai to replace the tablets of the Ten Commandments, the shattered shards of the earlier set were placed in the Aron Hakodesh (Holy Ark) alongside the new tablets. From this the Talmud teaches, "Respect the aged, because the fragments of the original tablets were preserved in the Ark with the new ones" (Babylonian Talmud, B'rachot 8b).
Alzheimer's disease represents a human set of broken fragments. American Jews are living longer, and with aging comes a greater risk of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Is there a Jewish response, or a response among Jews, to this worrisome illness?
In this superb volume, noted author Douglas J. Kohn weaves into each chapter's narrative rich Jewish texts with essays and touching personal stories by physicians, Jewish clergy, social workers, and family members of people with Alzheimer's disease. Broken Fragments offers the comfort and the wisdom of our ancient tradition while providing insight, meaning, and encouragement for the Alzheimer's caregiver of today.
What they're saying about Broken Fragments:
"Kohn offers a journey into the ambiguous world of Alzheimer's disease, where endurance and deterioration live side-by-side. His assembled authors each share a deeply personal narrative of change and loss experienced by those diagnosed with the disease and their loved ones. Through the lens of Jewish tradition, we learn about presence, and the provision of care when we cannot cure."
--Michele Prince, LCSW, MAJCS, Director of the Kalsman Institute
"Rabbi Kohn and his colleagues illumine what is a distinctively dark passage--the journey of dementia. With heartbreaking honesty, these spiritual leaders and human service professionals offer personal narratives, as well as rich images and values drawn from Jewish tradition. This volume offers precious inspiration, comfort and guidance for rabbis, families and congregations in treasuring and sustaining the person with dementia."
--Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman, MSW, MAJCS, BCC. Editor, Jewish Pastoral Care and author, Jewish Visions for Aging.
"For those of us who know personally and professionally the challenges of living with Alzheimer's disease, Broken Fragments is like a drink of water in the desert. Rich in Jewish sources and personal insights from each stage of the often painful journey, you will be moved and guided by wise colleagues and teachers. Rabbi Kohn's collection will be a source of strength and healing to anyone touched by this insidious illness."
--Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President, Union for Reform Judaism
||Life, Faith, and Cancer
Jewish Journeys Through Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery
When the diagnosis of illness shatters the veneer of our normal, comfortable, predictable course of life, we are embittered and confused. "Why me?" is a question that reverberates uncontrollably in our heads. Cancer, especially, provokes such a response. With time, "Why me?" is replaced by, "What now?" Today, more and more people are surviving cancer. How do we keep going afterward? How do we maintain the connection to Judaism and God that we once had? Do we need to rethink everything we once unwaveringly believed in? This moving volume of essays written by rabbis, cantors, and other Jewish professionals who have all experienced cancer deal with these questions and many more. Their personal stories are interwoven with Jewish texts and teachings.
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