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2015-02-27 digital edition

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


February 27, 2015  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Discussions, film to tackle delicate topic of right-to-die

Daniel Rutherford Wilson Daniel Rutherford Wilson The concept of “death with dignity” is a concept that is gaining momentum in conversations across the country and around the world, and the Tampa Jewish Community Center & Federation are sponsoring programs on two Sundays in March to take a deeper look at the issue.

Human rights groups, religious groups and legislatures are talking about it, spurred in part by the recent publicity surrounding 29-year-old brain cancer patient Brittany Maynard’s decision to “die with dignity.”

Maynard moved from her home state of California to Oregon to take advantage of that state’s Death with Dignity law. She died on Nov. 1, by taking a fatal dose of drugs prescribed by a doctor. In the months before her death, she also became an advocate for expanding the number of states that authorize aid in dying. Currently along with Oregon, the states of Washington, Montana, Vermont and New Mexico have such a law.

Barbara Mancini Barbara Mancini The organization Compassion & Choices, which Maynard partnered with, reports that 26 more states including Florida are considering aid-indying legislation. In addition, the Canadian Supreme Court recently ruled that people nationwide have a right to physician assisted dying.

The Bay area presentations are intended to get people thinking about the topic of death with dignity, Tampa JCC & Federation officials say, noting that the organization, as it has with other hot button issues, is offering information not taking a position.

The “Final Act” symposium begins on Sunday, March 8 from 3-5 p.m. with the public invited to an informational session.

Three speakers will offer their views and insights on the topic of death with dignity, followed by a question and answer session. Tickets are $6 in advance, $10 day of symposium.

Rabbi Mendy Dubrowsky Rabbi Mendy Dubrowsky The speakers are:

• Daniel Rutherford Wilson, national and federal programs director for Compassion & Choices, Care and Choice at the End of Life. He will discuss the org anization’s work on unwanted medical treatment, including national trends and what people can do to help make sure their wishes are honored.

• Nurse Barbara Mancini, who was arrested and prosecuted for assisted suicide in Pennsylvania for handing her terminally ill father his morphine. One year after his death, a judge dismissed the case due to “a lack of competent evidence.” Mancini will speak about her family’s yearlong ordeal and becoming a death with dignity activist.

• Rabbi Mendy Dubrowsky will provide the religious perspective. Rabbi Dubrowsky of Chabad Chai of South Tampa, was raised in Tampa and studied at the Hebrew Academy until high school. He then studied in Detroit and Paris, concluding his rabbinic ordination in Brooklyn. He has conducted youth and teen programs in Ukraine, California, and Israel.

A brief question and answer session will follow and there will be a dessert reception.

The program will be held in Maestro’s Restaurant at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 North Macinnes Place, Tampa. Space is limited, so register in advance at, or by phone with Rachel Tilow, (813) 769-2809.

On Sunday, March 15, the conversation continues with Tampa Bay Jewish Film Festival’s screening of the poignant film, The Farewell Party, at 3 p.m. at Sundial Muvico, 151 2nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg. The Farewell Party is a compassionate dramedy about friendship and knowing when to say goodbye. A group of friends at a Jerusalem retirement home build a machine for self-euthanasia in order to help their terminally ill friend. When rumors of the machine begin to spread, more and more people ask for their help, and the friends are faced with an emotional dilemma.

A discussion, led by Rabbi Joel Simon of Congregation Schaarai Zedek in Tampa, follows the film.

Tickets for the film are $10. Purchase tickets at

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