Posts Tagged: illness Results 4
Letty Cottin Pogrebin, a legendary figure in the women’s rights movement, has embarked on a new crusade on behalf of sick individuals and the people who care about them.
Her new book, “How To Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick” (PublicAffairs) pinpoints the awkwardness and inadequacy that many people feel when trying to comfort their sick and bereaved loved ones. “Illness is friendship’s proving ground,” she writes. Yet why do so many of us fail that basic test?
A look back at breast cancer news from the past year reveals that a lot of what we thought we knew about the disease and the advocacy work surrounding it has been wrong.
If you want to show someone you care, you need to show up. Virtual empathy does not replace your presence; it is merely the easy way out of trying to be kind to a fellow human. Writing a few words on a website or tracking the progress of an ill person are certainly thoughtful gestures. The problem is that there are those who, having made those gestures, will believe their quota of meting out kindness to another has been fulfilled, that they need not do more.
As a two-time breast cancer survivor, I’ve been on the receiving end of the Jewish community’s response to serious illness for almost 10 years. We are an incredibly charitable people; over the years, I have been inspired by the lengths to which we will go to encourage Jewish men, women and children to help the sick. We train our rabbis on sensitivity in speaking with ill congregants. We teach our young ones the mitzvah of bikur cholim, or visiting the sick. We encourage our community members to set up prayer groups to recite tehillim (psalms) and chesed organizations to prepare meals and offer childcare. I am grateful for all that the community has done for me, and for all those facing serious illnesses. But I think we can be doing so much more for ourselves.