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 Chevra Kadisha

For approximately ten years, the Montclair Chevra Kadisha, or MCK (literally, a “holy community,” often translated as “burial society”), has been quietly serving members and those affiliated with all three shuls in our area. Its members have taken part in the following activities:

1.      Sacred chanting (chants by Rabbi Shefa Gold) at bedside or during tahara.

2.      Shmira (“watching over”): Friends, family members, and others sit in shifts at the funeral home before burial. Traditionally, psalms are recited, as they are thought to comfort the soul of the person who has died. Poetry and other readings also used.  

3.      Sewing tachrichim, the simple white burial clothing sometime referred to as shrouds.

4.      Tahara (“ritual/spiritual cleansing”): Cleansing the body, dressing it in tachrichim, and placing the body in a simple coffin. A liturgy with roots in 16th and 17th Century European Jewish mysticism guides the actions.

5.      Comforting the mourners after the burial, which can take many forms.

6.      Exploring locations for a Bnai Keshet cemetery section.

7.      Administration and logistics

The MCK is always happy to welcome new members who want to take part in any of these activities. For more information, contact Craig Levine.


What to do, who to call, how to plan.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Chevra Kadisha offers many opportunities for BK members and those from other congregations to help.

Volunteer to help families make funeral arrangements; visit the sick; join with others to sew tachrichim (simple, white burial garments); do shmira ( sit with the met/metah in shifts from the time of death until burial reciting  psalms or poems, singing  or reading spiritual selections); sing chants at bedside or during shmira; be part of a tahara team that does the ritual washing, blessing and dressing of the body in preparation for burial; help with Chevra Kadisha logistical planning and operations; organize a “meal of consolation” at the mourners’ home following the funeral; plan educational events for adults and students; research cemetery options; or learn how to lead a shiva minyan (prayer service during shiva).

Click here to learn more about volunteer opportunities.

Common terms and questions related to Chevra Kadisha.

Related Links

Further Reading
Articles, essays, personal reflections

More Questions? Contact Deborah Zafman or Norman Rosenblum

Fri, May 24 2024 16 Iyar 5784