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L'chaim —to life.

My worlds connected on Thanksgiving Day as I watched the Macy's Parade and enjoyed the words to the much-loved song from Fiddler on the Roof, "to life, to life, l'chaim ... l'chaim, l'chaim to life." It's the traditional Jewish toast to a person's well-being.

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As a volunteer for a group called Compassion & Choices, I am immersed in the push to pass the aid-in-dying bill that will be coming before the Maryland legislature in January. It is a way to provide greater "well being" for dying patients who choose self-determination at the end of life in the face of immense suffering and incapacity. The bill would allow a competent, terminally ill adult with a prognosis of six months or less to live, to self-administer life-ending medication, similar to the law that has been in effect in Oregon for 18 years and one that was just passed in California.

Dying is an integral part of living. I can only hope that if I were ever terminally ill, I would have the choice to end my life with my loved ones around me. If it was legal, and I opted to use life-ending medication, I would take a moment to celebrate my lifelong Jewish faith and say "L'chaim."

Norma Cohen, Baltimore

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