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Bat Yam hosts Webinar on Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

By Staff | Jul 23, 2020

On July 15, the Bat Yam Temple of the Islands held a Webinar led by guest speaker Ken Ross, son of author Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Her first book, “Death and Dying,” came out in 1969. It has been translated into 27 languages, which will soon be 29 after the Mongolian and Arabic editions come out.

Last year was the 50th anniversary of the publication of “Death and Dying.” The EKR Foundation donated all the archives from her life’s work to Stanford University, and the Stanford School of Medicine presented an entire seminar on her legacy.

Kubler-Ross was a triplet and a twin. It was an important experience for her as she grew up having to establish her own voice, as the sisters were often confused with each other – teachers and even their parents sometimes did not know which girl they were talking to. Later, when Kubler-Ross worked with patients, she fought for their right to have a voice. She emphasized how important it was to listen to them.

After graduating as a medical doctor from the University of Zurich, Kubler-Ross came to America where she learned “nobody was dying in America.” Death was a taboo subject. She set out to change this concept. The world today is very familiar with her now-famous five stages of death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Kubler-Ross did not encourage people to get hung up on the stages. She emphasized that there were more than five stages and in any case the patient should lead the discussion because, according to her, it is the patients who teach doctors, nurses and clergy.

Her philosophy about death and dying and her hospice work often overshadowed other issues Kubler-Ross was as passionate about. She was one of the first people in America to speak out about AIDS. Her life was motivated by her conscience and an innate sense of compassion.