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An Ethical Will An Ethical will (Hebrew "Zevaoth") is a document designed to pass ethical values from one generation to the next. Rabbis and Jewish laypeople have continued to write ethical wills during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Here are three basic approaches for creating your ethical will. Approach #1 Using an outline structure and choose from a list of items. This is by far the easiest way to get started and it can build your confidence quickly. You can create a rough draft to work from in less than an hour. The Ethical Will Writing Guide Workbook and The Ethical Will Writing Guide software were developed for this approach. This approach is also covered in Ethical Wills: Putting your values on paper. Approach #2 Using guided writing exercises to help you create content for your ethical will. The Ethical Will Resource Kit contains several guided exercises to help you. Ethical Wills: Putting your values on paper contains even more exercises. Here are some ideas to help you get started. •

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Over time, write down ideas --a few words or a sentence or two about things like: o My beliefs and opinions o Something I learned from grandparents / parents / siblings / spouse / children o Something I learned from experience o Something I am grateful for o My hopes for the future Write about important events in your life Save items that articulate your feelings, e.g., quotes, cartoons, etc Review what you've collected after a few weeks or months Clump related items together -- patterns will emerge Revise and expand the related categories into paragraphs Arrange the paragraphs in an order that makes sense to you Add an introduction and conclusion Put this aside for a few weeks and then review and revise

Approach #3 Starting with a blank sheet of paper is the most open-ended approach. Keeping a journal or diary is an excellent way to write about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Over time, review what you've written. Themes will emerge from which you can create a comfortable structure for your ethical will. Other Resources Ethical Wills: Putting Your Values on Paper Ethical Wills: Putting Your Values on Paper, 2nd edition

So That Values Will Live On: Ethical Wills and How to Prepare Them, by Jack Riemer and Nathaniel Stampfer Beit Rayim Family Education Steven Greenwood, Facilitator

November 21st, 2010


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