End of life preparation – What are your wishes?

Living will/Ethical will

It is an ancient Jewish tradition to transmit in writing to your children an ethical vision to help guide them. In this vision, you can convey whatever wisdom you feel will be of use to your children and supplement the love that will be diminished when you are gone.


There are at least three steps in pre-planning. The first step is to choose a funeral home. The Chevra Kavod haMet has worked with a wide variety of funeral homes in Portland, and has prepared deceased for transport to funeral homes all over the world. Most of our work has been with Holman’s Funeral Service and River View RiverCemetery Funeral Home. We have also worked with many other funeral homes in Portland and can work with any funeral home of your choosing.

The funeral home you choose can assist you in the second step—how to decide what kind of funeral arrangements you wish to make. There are a number of Jewish cemeteries in the Portland metropolitan area, many of which are operated and maintained by area congregations. Some congregations require membership in order to be buried at their cemetery, while others allow non-members to be buried at their cemetery. Please contact area congregations for further information. A third step is to consider whether you wish to authorize organ donation.

End-of-life care

To implement this decision, Oregon makes available the POLST (Physician’s Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) forms at and hospice care through Oregon Hospice Association.

In Their Words
The most rewarding part of doing a tahara is the sense of continuity of the lifecycle and the connection with the Jewish people historically. In many ways I get the same feeling when I light the Sabbath candles...It binds me to the community of Jews throughout the ages and throughout the world.
— Phyllis, Greenfield, Massachusetts
In my entire life, I don't think I've done anything more worthwhile than serve on the Chevra Kadisha.
— Saul, New Orleans, Louisiana
Imagining the grace and respect my mother was afforded in death is an ongoing source of comfort. Her tahara affirms her abiding presence even though she has passed from this life.
— Helen, Daughter of Sabina Mager, z"l
Knowing my grandmother was lovingly cared for by members of our community's Chevra Kadisha was such a comfort to me in my hours of grief. I had cared for her for so long. In the end, I felt so much trust in the women who continued to give her the love and attention she deserved.
— Sharon, Eugene, Oregon
I feel that I have been blessed with the ability to do this mitzvah. Some people have beautiful voices and others play musical instruments. I feel that being able to perform tahara is a gift from G-d.
— Natalie, Englewood, New Jersey
Knowing my parents' lifetime of dedication to Jewish living will end with this time honored tradition, and that they will be treated with the ultimate respect and honor, is of huge comfort to me and our family.
— Mark, Portland, Oregon