Bnai Keshet Chevra Kadisha
Our Bnai Keshet (BK) community is here for us at every significant milestone, from the shared simchas (celebrations) to life’s inevitable challenges and heartaches. When one is ill or troubled, the community responds with hesed (loving-kindness), providing the help and support the moment requires. When death is near or imminent, the support continues.
The BK Chevra Kadisha, our funeral and burial society, gives us an ongoing opportunity to care for the dying and the deceased, perhaps friends and fellow congregants with whom we have prayed, celebrated and mourned, with traditional Jewish custom and kavod ha-met/metah (honor and respect for the dignity of the deceased). Doing so, we ensure that, when they are most vulnerable, our loved ones are prepared for their final journeys with dignity and compassion by a community that, perhaps, they have helped to build and nurture, or that they have barely known in passing. In this way, by competently and gently attending to the met/metah (deceased) – who is no longer able to do this for him/herself – the Chevra Kadisha also generates nichum aveilim (comfort) for their loved ones, the mourners.
BK is committed to supporting and serving every person in our diverse community and will assist families in navigating the complexities of interfaith and transgender ritual and burial, as needed. It will provide its services to any Jewish family that requests them.
The BK Chevra Kadisha aims to de-mystify and reclaim what, through the ages, has been a traditional responsibility of Jewish communities everywhere. It looks forward to partnering with other chevre kadisha in the Montclair area to enhance regional chevra kadisha and continuity-of-life activities.
When a loved one dies
The BK Chevra Kadisha attends to the met/metah from death through burial. If a family has not planned for this eventuality, the Chevra Kadisha can help families find a funeral home and cemetery. It can also answer questions about traditional rituals and practices, interfaith burial, environmentally friendly burial options, organ and tissue donation, the Jewish approach to cremation, and any other question or concern related to this aspect of life.
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).
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Wed, 29 March 2017 2 Nisan 5777