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The following anecdote is from the book Jewish Visions for Aging by Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman. This story is a reminder that we must always be careful not to judge someone when we lack details (Dan leqaf zekhut – judge someone favorably). 

Ira, a ninety-seven year old assisted living resident, has just fallen. He is taken to the emergency room and receives twelve stitches for a gash in his head. The resident and attending physician have called his family, but no one has come to be with him. Knowing that Ira has a daughter-in-law, Ricki, who is usually quite involved, the assisted-living facility staff are surprised. They comment that perhaps Ricki isn’t as interested in Pop as she once was.

When Ricki comes in the next day, she explains that she couldn’t come sooner because on the very same day on which Ira was injured, her brother died and her husband was rushed to the hospital with chest pains. Ricki literally didn’t know what to do first: should she stay at the hospital with her husband during his cardiac catheterization; make funeral arrangements for her brother; or go to be with Pop, who must be very frightened and upset at being taken to the emergency room alone? (p. 72)

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