Meet Rabbi Geoffrey Botnick
2000 years ago a sage taught, “The honor of the next person is to be as dear to you as your own”. This speaks directly to the meaning and purpose of my being a chaplain in Catholic Hospice, and as a rabbi of L’chaim Jewish Hospice Care. There are many amazing experiences. I deem it so much an honor to serve the patients, families, and loved ones entrusted to me.
I’m privileged to visit, care about, and add prayers towards the healing of a patient, and those who love them. I am very happy when I get to see a smile or eyes twinkle when someone realizes that a hospice rabbi is there to build relationships, and with them.
There is a very serious side to my being that rabbi at their side or even by phone. That is when we talk about the reality that the person in hospice will not experience a complete recovery, and the family and they will need to prepare for a shorter life expectancy than they anticipated. That is when I value the level of trust that I have begun to earn from them.
I’m also gratified that with songs on a guitar I can make a connection to them through spirituality or through prayer, or through the Jewish cultural and spiritual music of Jewish tradition, and reminding them, even the noncognitive people, that they are precious souls. Representing L’Chaim I have been bringing holidays and Jewish music to facilities, too.
It has triggered in me an immense sparkle for my day or my week when I can invite someone to go back into the melodies of either Jewish tradition or American patriotism, and especially to remind them that they have a background and it deserves respect. THEY have earned respect and honor.
– Rabbi Geoffrey Botnick, L’Chaim Jewish Hospice Program