Exit Strategy

Exit Strategy

What’s one thing we’re all good at? How about not talking — or even thinking — about end-of-life issues.


March 13, 2023 19 min

“What Matters” is a collaborative initiative by New York Jewish institutions enabling individuals to have conversations about — and document — end-of-life preferences … and engage Jewish values along the way. Rabbi Nicole Auerbach, Dir. of Congregational Engagement at Central Synagogue in New York, and Howard Sharfstein, Honorary President at Central, describe the program and its immense value with Exit Strategy host Stephanie Garr...

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All losses are unique and present their own challenges, and the death of a daily companion and life partner carries its own. Cantor Rebecca Garfein, former Senior Cantor at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in NYC, and Rick Elice, a famed and award-winning writer for theatre, have faced the loss of a husband and have been public about their journeys. They share and draw lessons with Exit Strategy host Stephanie Garry and Jane Slevin, LMFT...

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From the pandemic to racial tensions, and from political dysfunction to war — the term “global grief” has emerged. What is it, and how can we as individuals and communities process the world around us … and find practical and spiritual grounding?
Ruth Messinger, former president and CEO of the American Jewish World Service, and now its Global Ambassador, and Rabbi Menachem Creditor, the Pearl and Ira Meyer Scholar in Residence at U...

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What do we mean when we say we are looking for “closure” after a loss … and does the term even suggest a desirable outcome? In a widely read column in 2022, Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz — senior rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in NYC — says that to best respect those who we’ve lost, and ourselves, we should rather embrace the notion of consolation. Rabbi Steinmetz is interviewed by Exit Strategy host Stephanie Garry.


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Adam Cayton-Holland was on an upward trajectory through the national comedy scene in 2012, when his beloved sister Lydia took her own life and everything stopped. In his book Tragedy Plus Time, Adam writes about Lydia and his long journey through grief and depression to reclaim his life and creativity. Adam is interviewed by Exit Strategy host Stephanie Garry.

Tragedy Plus Time (book):

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What exactly does a funeral director do? And why is he/she/they a critical advocate for anyone planning a funeral? Darren Picht, LFD and Executive Vice President of Funeral Operations at Plaza Jewish Community Chapel in NYC, gives a primer on funeral planning and what we should all do now to be properly prepared. He is interviewed by Exit Strategy host Stephanie Garry.

Contact Exit Strategy: exitstrategy@plazajewish.org

The pos...

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Are you putting off proper trust and estate planning because the task seems enormous and big decisions must be made? Many of us do, but it’s essential to protect and direct our assets according to our wishes. Jonathan Herlands, Esq. — who heads the Trust and Estates division at Gordon, Herlands & Randolph LLP in NYC — speaks with Exit Strategy Host Stephanie Garry about how to start the process.

Contact Exit Strategy: exitstrat...

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What is an “ethical will” and why is it a critical instrument for your life and legacy? Rabbi Steve Leder of Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles is a prominent voice on societal and Jewish communal issues, including meeting death with dignity, finding strength in loss and grief, and being intentional about what we leave behind. He speaks with Exit Strategy Host Stephanie Garry.

“For You When I Am Gone, Twelve Essential Questio...

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He lost his father to an act of murder, and later emerged as a leading voice dedicated to the reduction of gun violence in our society. Rabbi Joel Mosbacher of Temple Shaaray Tefila in NYC speaks to Exit Strategy Host Stephanie Garry about his journey from deep grief to advocacy.

Video: “On Death and Dying: A Public Conversation with Rabbi Joel Mosbacher and Stephanie Garry of Plaza Jewish Community Chapel,” recorded on Yom Kippur ...

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Acclaimed Sundance award-winning filmmaker Ondi Timoner and her sister, Rabbi Rachel Timoner of Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn discuss “Last Flight Home” — a new documentary film capturing their father Eli’s journey toward death with dignity … its meaning for multiple generations of his family … and its lessons for us all. Exit Strategy Host Stephanie Garry speaks with Rabbi Timoner and Ondi, who wrote and directed this emoti...

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September 7, 2022 23 min

We all have our personal stories from September 11, 2001. Where we were. Who we knew. What we did. How we felt. And now, 21 years later, how we still process the loss and grief of that tragic day. In a very personal episode of Exit Strategy, FDNY Chaplain Rabbi Joseph Potasnik and former FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano speak to Host Stephanie Garry about their experiences on 9/11 and the endurance of memory.

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In an emotionally raw film, Love & Stuff, Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand shares the intimate process of going through her mother’s possessions after her death … and reveals generational attachments and relational truths — at once singular and universal. Exit Strategy Host Stephanie Garry speaks to Judith about her journey through her mother’s “stuff,” the depths of grief and healing within, and the making of the...

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In 1996, at age 36, Rabbi Gabriel Kirshner died by suicide. In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September, Exit Strategy Host Stephanie Garry speaks with Gabriel’s younger brother, Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner of Temple Emanu-El in Closter, NJ, about the grief and aftermath of this tragic loss — and the responsibility of the Jewish and general communities to aggressively recognize and remove stigmas surrou...

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Death is the common denominator — no matter our skin color, our age, our religion. But across cultures, there are differences in traditions surrounding death and how it’s marked and respected … from Tibetan sky burials, to the Pyres of Varanasi, to Ghana’s fantasy coffins. Dean Foster is the founder of DFA Intercultural Global Solutions in New York, has written on cross-cultural differences and sensitivities, and in travels to near...

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Palliative care is growing as a movement to maximize quality of life for those with serious illness. Yet to many, the concept and reality of palliative care is unclear or unknown. Dr. Diane Meier — Founder and Director Emerita of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) — and Rabbi Dr. Edith Meyerson — Director of Pastoral Counseling and Bereavement Services at the Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute at Mt Sinai Hospital in NYC...

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The tragedy in Uvalde and other massacres are generating immeasurable stress, fear, and anxiety among our children. As they turn to us, the adults in their lives, for answers …what can we do and say to steady and assure them in a world of unpredictable and often horrific realities? Rabbi Ben Spratt of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City is a national voice on issues of inclusion and leading children through grief. He speaks...

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During his 25 years at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, Rabbi David Wolpe has become a respected thinker of national and global influence on end-of-life issues … and how at times of challenge, grief, and loss, our clergy are often our spiritual caretakers, leading us through uncertain and often unwelcome journeys. In a wide-ranging conversation with Exit Strategy host Stephanie Garry, he reflects on observations he’s made along the way...

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March 11, 2022 1 min

What’s one thing we’re all good at? How about not talking — or even thinking — about end-of-life issues. Stephanie Garry is Executive Vice President at Plaza Jewish Community Chapel in NYC and she spends lots of time talking about them. So once a month — here at Exit Strategy — Stephanie and her guests are elevating, normalizing and demystifying end-of-life issues from religious, cultural, societal and other perspectives … with a t...

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