Lessons of a Lifetime
An ethical will is a personal document, prepared as a gift for family and close friends, that details key experiences, beliefs, regrets, goals, advice, and accomplishments garnered over a lifetime. Ethical wills have existed for 3,000 years; they are even mentioned in the Torah. It should be noted that they are not legal documents. The hope and intent of an ethical will is that the people most important to you—in current and future generations—can draw from your wisdom to lead better, more fulfilling lives.
At Charles E. Smith Life Communities, "Lessons of a Lifetime™, the Ethical Will Project of the Hebrew Home" paired residents with student volunteers, who, through conversation, recorded the seniors’ memories and insights. The project was part of our Centennial Celebration in 2010. The Ethical Will Project won national awards.
- Learn about Lessons of a Lifetime, the Ethical Will Project of the Hebrew Home™
- For a more scholarly description of the project, read Wisdom of Generations: A Pilot Study of the Values Transmitted in Ethical Wills of Nursing Home Residents and Student Volunteers in The Gerontologist.
- Download a list of 22 suggested questions we've compiled to help you compose an Ethical Will.
Join our volunteer team!