Rabbi Jessica Spitalnic Mates and Beth El Mausoleum Director, Mike Sirowitz were invited to be interviewed for a special segment on pre-need planning on The Balancing Act, a popular syndicated talk show. Planning in advance for your final arrangements is the best gift that you can give to your children and family members. It ensures that your wishes are honored, and is the most economical choice. Contact us to learn more or come in for a private tour.
Beth El Mausoleum on the Balancing Act with Olga Villaverde:
Olga Villaverde: No one wants to think about their own mortality. So planning your funeral can understandably make you feel overwhelmed. One study actually reported that 65 percent of people felt it was important to communicate their funeral plans and wishes to family members prior to their own death. Yet only 21 percent has done so. So here to discuss options for preplanning, are Beth El Mausoleum director Mike Sirowitz and Rabbi Jessica Spitalnic Brockman. Welcome to both of you.
Rabbi Jessica Spitalnic Brockman and Mike Sirowitz: Thank you.
Olga: Thanks for being here. Mike let me start with you. I mean it's understandable that people say we should do it, but they don't. It's a tough thing to communicate.
Mike: Absolutely. And we understand that - that's why we're here to find out more about their needs and help them with the process.
Olga: Because the reality is, pre-planning really is a good thing. There are a lot of benefits.
Mike: Absolutely. The greatest gift that one can give to their loved ones - a spouse or significant other, their children - is to have arrangements in place prior to need. When someone passes, the family is grieving. They need to mourn. It's not the time to be making significant life decisions, financial decisions, emotional decisions. It's a burden that you've taken away from your children in a good way.
Olga: And Rabbi, I think it's really important because my parents have everything planned and they always say, "We just don't want to put the burden on you or Richard." And I appreciate that. I really do, because, like Mike said, it's a time of mourning. It's a time that you don't want to be thinking of things, so it makes a difference. And and there's so many spiritual aspects at Beth El Mausoleum. Can we talk about that?
Rabbi Jessica: Absolutely. So we are the only mausoleum that is on synagogue grounds. And when you are part of Beth El Mausoleum you're really part of the larger Beth El Community. And the tradition of aboveground burial goes back to biblical times. Abraham for his wife Sarah and all the matriarchs and patriarchs established the cave of Machpela and Hebron to his aboveground burial. And because we're a Reform synagogue cremation is also one of your options and we have niches for cremation as well. It's truly a beautiful spiritual place to give comfort and strength at a time that can be very difficult. And the Mausoleum resonates with that comfort. There is art throughout the Mausoleum that reflects Jewish tradition from the twenty-third psalm that hangs above the space where we do services, to glass art that reflects Jewish traditions and symbols, and beautiful mosaics that reflect biblical stories - the whole space is a space of comfort and strength and spirituality at a time that can be very difficult and complicated.
Olga: You mentioned the twenty-third psalm. That's my mom's favorite one and she always told me that psalm as a child. So right now you just ignited a memory for me. And when you walk the grounds.... it's so peaceful, it's so calm, so serene.
Mike: It is a beautiful space. We take great pride in maintaining the serenity, the comfort ...there's space for everybody to mourn in a way that's right for them. When people come in we sit, we talk, we find out about their needs, what their family's situation is. And when you come to visit we want it to be a comfortable, peaceful place. So whether you're sitting on a marble bench outside, or by the Tree of Remembrance, or inside by a beautiful mosaic or stained-glass window, you know that you are in a very, very peaceful, comfortable place.
Olga: And you also make it easy for families when it comes to that pre-planning, correct?
Mike: Absolutely. And I neglected to mention before there's a tremendous cost benefit to pre-planning as well. Obviously, you lock in today's prices rather than what the costs may be 10, 15, 30 years later.
Olga: And Rabbi, the community is just amazing - the patrons. There is a huge bond.
Rabbi Jessica: Yeah. Beth El is an incredible community and when you are part of Beth El Mausoleum you are part of the synagogue community as well. It's a place where Jewish tradition is alive and well, and as part of Beth El, you have access to us for pastoral visits, for hospital visits, people are in nursing homes they are part of our community in our life. And in addition, you have a place to enhance your Jewish spirituality and tradition as part of our worship services and lifecycle events. It's truly a beautiful vibrant community, and the Mausoleum reflects that in every way.
Olga: Such a pleasure to have you both. For our viewers who'd like to learn more about Beth El mausoleum where can they go, Mike?
Olga: Thank you.
Mike and Rabbi Jessica: Thank you so much.
Olga: Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate your time. And if you'd like more information you can also check out our Web site. The Balancing Act.