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Raising Spirits

Raising Spirits: Stories of Suffering and Comfort at Death's Door springs from Michael Goldberg's experiences serving dying patients as a hospital and hospice chaplain. Previously, he had held positions as a management consultant, a chaired university professor, and a congregational rabbi. Although each of those careers fulfilled some of his professional aspirations, none filled his spiritual hunger to find purpose in his life. In turning to chaplaincy and helping the gravely ill satisfy their craving for meaning at the end of their lives, Goldberg discovered spiritual sustenance in his. Raising Spirits is the first book to explore care giving at the end of life from a spiritual as well as clinical perspective. It tells the stories of Michael Goldberg's journeys with patients, their families, and loved ones as they try to face the challenges awaiting them at life's edges. In the process, Goldberg himself is tested as a committed Jew who, working largely among non-Jews, must continually reassess his identity and convictions. He comes to see that ""spirituality"" need not refer to things occult or otherworldly, but as Raising Spirits makes clear, to things in this world that can at least start to lift our spirits and revive them. The reciprocal process of gaining insight into patients and into oneself is possible, indeed crucial, for all who care for the sick, both lay and professional alike. ""In this gem of a collection of stories about care at the end of life, Rabbi and Chaplain Michael Goldberg restores the spirits of his patients (and readers) as he deftly navigates from the intensive care unit to the nursing home, from a patient's home to their funeral. Across cultures and religious traditions, with steady doses of humility, wisdom, compassion, and humor, Goldberg's words are a healing balm to the often spiritually uncomfortable journey of dying."" --Nassim Assefi Internist and global women's health specialist, author of Aria ""With rare honesty and humility, Rabbi Goldberg welcomes the reader to accompany him into the pain-filled world of patients and families at the edge of life. He overcomes the real world challenges of the hospital or hospice stay to bring a measure of compassion and comfort to those who suffer. Proverbs teaches that, ""The heart alone knows its bitterness."" In truth, Goldberg is that rare individual who understands the pain of another's heart and has the ability to ease that pain."" --Rabbi Sheldon Pennes Director of Spiritual Life at the Los Angeles Jewish Home ""This book is not smarmy! The stories are so gripping that you won't want to put them down. Essential reading for all who care for the dying, including their families."" --Nancey Murphy Professor of Christian Philosophy Fuller Seminary author of Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies? ""These remarkable stories not only reflect the experience of many dying patients, but allow readers to accompany Rabbi Goldberg in his journey of becoming a Chaplain. He reveals his own search through openly sharing his thoughts and feelings. Any Chaplain, caregiver for the dying, or simply a human being on a quest to understand what this life is all about will benefit from reading this book."" --Judith Eighmy, RN, BSN, CHPN Hospice Consultant Pacific Healthcare Consultants ""Raising Spirits is a gift to anyone who has been deeply affected by experiences in healthcare. All will irresistibly be reminded of the powerfully clarifying and confusing nature of suffering and death. Michael's pathway from thinker to caregiver might be unremarkable, but for his gift of truth-telling--how many of us receive hope and comfort, even though all too often, we simply can't help or understand. That is Grace."" --Richard Vance Chrysalis Ventures ""Poignant and brilliant . . . Raising Spirits is an uncommon resource for practical and pastoral theology and religious education. Be prepared to venture into unfamiliar territory! Rabbi Michael Goldberg, a systematic theologian
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