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Revisiting 'For You When I Am Gone' with Steve Leder on Wednesday's Access Utah

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Writing an ethical will, a document that includes stories and reflections about your past, is an ancient tradition. It can include joy and regrets, and ultimately becomes both a way to remember a loved one who is gone and a primer on how to live a better, happier life. Rabbi Steve Leder has helped thousands of people to write their own ethical wills, and in his new book, For You When I Am Gone, he helps us write our own.

Because our culture privileges the material over the spiritual, we sometimes forget that our words carry greater value than any physical thing we can bequeath to our loved ones. Rabbi Leder suggests some questions and prompts, including: What was your most painful regret and how can your loved ones avoid repeating it? When was a time you led with your heart instead of your head? What did you learn from your biggest failure? What makes you happy?

Including examples of ethical wills from a broad range of voices—old and young, with and without children, famous and unknown—For You When I Am Gone inspires readers to examine their own lives and turn them into something beautiful and meaningful for generations to come.

Steve Leder is the senior rabbi of Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles. After receiving his degree in writing and graduating cum laude from Northwestern University, and spending time studying at Trinity College, Oxford University, Leder received a master’s degree in Hebrew letters in 1986 and rabbinical ordination in 1987 from Hebrew Union College. He is the author of five books: The Extraordinary Nature of Ordinary Things, More Money Than God: Living a Rich Life Without Losing Your Soul, and the bestsellers More Beautiful Than Before: How Suffering Transforms Us, The Beauty of What Remains, and For You When I Am Gone.

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Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.