Other | November 14, 2022

CCF Hosts Rabbi Steve Leder and Joe Lumarda for Fall 2022 Sartori Circle Event


Earlier this fall, CCF invited members of the Sartori Circle to join in a virtual book talk featuring Rabbi Steve Leder, senior rabbi at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, and Joe Lumarda, senior vice president and private wealth advisor at Capital Group Private Client Services. Leder and Lumarda engaged in a conversation about Leder’s newest publication, “For You When I Am Gone: Twelve Essential Questions to Tell a Life Story”. Named after CCF’s founder, Joseph Sartori, the Sartori Circle consists of donors who have made the admirable decision to leave a bequest to CCF in their will, trust, or other testamentary document.

As the full name of the book implies, “For You When I Am Gone” consists of twelve questions, each taking up a chapter, for readers to answer as they draft an ethical will. Unlike a traditional will that leaves behind material possessions, an ethical will is a collection of writings containing life lessons and stories meant to impart wisdom and words of advice to loved ones, the “beneficiaries.” The event began with opening remarks by CCF CEO and President, Antonia Hernández. Afterwards, Lumarda and Leder engaged in a fascinating discussion about the book. Leder discussed the inspiration for his book, saying he was prompted to write “For You When I Am Gone” after pondering an important question: “What is our final word to our loved ones?”

Leder realized that the final word is often given in a will or trust that is written by a stranger and meant to explain who receives the decedent’s various material possessions. However, according to Leder, a will cannot express the spiritual and emotional affection a decedent felt for loved ones. For this reason, Leder was moved to create an easily accessible book that would give readers the opportunity to take control of their last words to their loved ones. In this way, an ethical will does not replace a traditional will or trust – it complements one’s overarching legacy plan.

Readers are asked to address life topics such as their biggest life regrets, their definition of love and a good person, their final blessing, and how readers want to be remembered in life. While Leder and Lumarda agreed that these questions can put readers in a vulnerable, and sometimes uncomfortable position, they added that it is often in moments of vulnerability that one reveals the truth and their innermost feelings – two things loved ones so longingly hope to learn.

When asked to distill the meaning of “For You When I Am Gone” into two words, Leder answered: “don’t wait.” By this, he meant that people should not wait to convey their emotions to the people they love. It is important for people to take control of their legacy and dedicate time to think about what matters to them most. In doing so, authors of ethical wills can ensure that their legacy is not forgotten.

The CCF community is proud to have offered this opportunity for Sartori Circle members to learn about ethical wills, something that would unequivocally complement their preexisting legacy plans. CCF will continue to organize meaningful programming that reflects donors’ needs and concerns as they evolve over time.

To learn more about the CCF Satori Circle, legacy planning and ethical wills, please contact Planned Giving Officer Jessica Behmanesh at jbehmanesh@calfund.org or 213-452-6263.

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