By A. James Rudin | Religion News Service
What are the most difficult and painful questions rabbis, priests, pastors or imams face at the bedside of a dying member?
Surprise: It’s not abstract theological or metaphysical queries.
Rather, THE questions, usually asked in a hospital room, go like this. “My beloved family member is gravely ill. The doctors are recommending some extraordinary and complex medical treatments. I am confused and I am being asked to make a decision. As my spiritual leader, please tell me, what should I do?”
Mention my hometown, Alexandria, Virginia, to most people and the usual comment is, “Oh yes, it’s part of Washington, D.C.” And indeed it is a suburb of the nation’s capital, with its own Georgetown-like “Old
Town” that includes a collection of charming Colonial and Federal period townhouses. Today Alexandria’s
population is over 150,000 and its real estate is considered hot property drawing new residents from around
the world. But it was no always so.
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