Oral Ethical Will: Video Recording Valuable Last Words

Denise Carson

in Parting Ways

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780520251083
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520949416 | DOI:
Oral Ethical Will: Video Recording Valuable Last Words

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Technology has revived a valuable social/familial deathbed ritual of recording treasured last words. It also provides families with an opportunity to participate in the ancient custom of gathering around the dying family member to heed his or her last words. A Jewish custom (and also Christian and Musim), of recording last words dates back to Biblical times when parents used ethical wills to leave instructional accounts of what they wanted most both for and from their children while expressing what they learned in life. In this chapter, the author describes some of her experiences and memories in recording or videotaping last words. The videotaped interview provides a chance to turn the light on the person whose last words are recorded. It shares what was most important to a person, his regrets in life and how he wished them to live on after his death.

Keywords: last words; ancient custom; Jewish custom; videotaped interview; Biblical times

Chapter.  7619 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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