Transcending Trauma

Martha Sonnenberg reviews Rabbi Tirzah Firestone’s new book Wounds into Wisdom and argues that it helps us recognize “the ways in which we and others are affected by trauma, and what this may mean for healing the world.”

Graphic Eugene Debs

Martha Sonnenberg reviews this new graphic biography of Eugene V. Debs and argues that the book’s strength lies in how it connects social theory to political activism.

Jacob Chose Hospice: A Critique of Invasive End-of-Life Care

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
by Atul Gawande
Metropolitan Books, 2014

What does the Torah have to say about end-of-life care? Its most striking story on this topic appears in the last four chapters of Genesis, which describe the hospice death of the Jewish patriarch Jacob. After Jacob became ill, he summoned his children and grandchildren, and requested burial in the Caves of Machpeleh, alongside his parents (Isaac and Rebecca) and his grandparents (Abraham and Sarah). He gave blessings to his sons, and “when Jacob finished instructing his sons, he drew his feet onto the bed; he expired and was gathered to his people” (Gen. 49:33). He suffered no invasive medical interventions, he was surrounded by his family and was able to bless them, and he died a peaceful death.