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Dvar by Deborah Zafman, March 8, 2014

Today we are commemorating Moses’ yahrzeit and in so doing, hoping to raise death awareness. Traditionally, Zayin Adar is a day when Chevra Kadisha groups gather in recognition of the highest act of loving kindness, which is tending to the deceased, since repayment is not possible. Chevra Kadishas are a community of members who deal with issues around death and mourning. Tahara is the Jewish ritual of preparing the...Read more...

Chesed Shel Emet: The Truest Act of Kindness, Exploring the Meaning of Taharah

Chesed Shel Emet: The Truest Act of Kindness, Exploring the Meaning of Taharah  by Rabbi Stuart Kelman  (Author), Dan Fendel (Author), Jessica W. Goldstein (Editor)  

Taharah practices have deep historical roots. Beginning in Mishnaic times, specific procedures and customs evolved in various locations and through many generations. As a result, numerous traditions exist today....Read more...

Hospice Chaplain Karen B. Kaplan, Encountering the Edge; What People Told Me Before They Died

What's it like to be just a month, a week, 
a breath away from death?

      Unencumbered by religious agendas and pat answers, Encountering the Edge satisfies our curiosity concerning what...Read more...

Richard A. Light, Honoring K'rovei Yisrael: Guidelines for Burial Preparation of Non-Jews Who Are Part of the Jewish Community

In today’s modern Jewish society we are faced with an increasing number of interfaith families in which one spouse is Jewish and the other is not. When the Jewish spouse requests that their non-Jewish loved-one be buried as a Jew, a dilemma arises. How does one prepare a non-Jew for burial using Jewish traditions? Many chevrot and synagogues simply deny the request, stating that Jewish practices are for Jews only. Yet with so many...Read more...

Richard A. Light, To Midwife a Soul: Guidelines for Performing Tahara

Authored by Richard A Light  To Midwife A Soul - Guidelines for Performing Tahara

Edition: 4

This manual is a guide for...

Doron Kornbluth, Cremation or Burial: A Jewish View

Cremation or Burial?

by: Doron Kornbluth 

Overview More and more Jews are choosing cremation rather than burial. Some of the reasons cited include environmentalism, discomfort with decomposition, and finances. Interestingly, aside from allegiance to tradition, the reasons to choose burial are not well-known. Bestselling author Doron Kornbluth spent over three years studying the subject, speaking with experts, consulting with...Read more...

Rochel Berman, Dignity Beyond Death

Dignity Beyond Death: The Jewish Preparation for Burial August 13, 2004 Read an excerpt from Rochel Berman’s book from Urim Publications.

The Final Act of Loving Kindness
…by Rochel U. Berman

The three short obituaries in the newspaper spoke about a loving, adoring child who would be missed...Read more...

Shmira - A First-hand Account

Shmira – A First-Hand Account (from Kavod v’Nichum’s Gamliel Institute) from the blog of the Velveteen Rabbi (an anonymous blog)  MAY 05, 2006 Shmira

This week I had the opportunity to engage in a new mitzvah: shmira, sitting with the body of someone who has died, keeping watch. In the traditional Jewish understanding the soul remains near the body until interment. In order for that soul...Read more...

The Myth of the Mitzvah No One Can Thank You For

Our tradition considers it a mitzvah to bury the dead. The Chevra Kavod Hamet helps people with that. Our tradition also considers it a mitzvah to comfort the mourner, and the Chevra Kavod Hamet does that, too. But the Chevra cannot do any of that without your help. The often-repeated phrase is that you should join in the work of the Chevra because it is the mitzvah that no one can thank you for. I'm here to tell you that that is just not so....Read more...

The Final Journey - A Tale of Two Cities

USCJ Review - Spring 2007

The Final Journey - A Tale of Two Cities


A Nation Challenged: Vigil; Stretching a Jewish Vigil for the Sept. 11 Dead

A NATION CHALLENGED: VIGIL A NATION CHALLENGED: VIGIL; Stretching a Jewish Vigil for the Sept. 11 Dead By JANE GROSS Published: November 6, 2001  

In the darkest hours of the night, Judith Kaplan, dressed in her Sabbath finery, sat in a tent outside the New York City Medical Examiner's office, singing the haunting repertoire from the Book of...Read more...

Holiness in our Community: A Favor that Cannot be Repaid

(Originally printed in the September 2013 Rainbow Reporter)  

It’s been called the greatest of all mitzvot, this gentle favor that can never be repaid. For at least 1,000 years and probably longer, Jewish communities have followed biblical and Talmudic injunctions to bury their dead expeditiously and without extravagance, whether poor or rich, in simple white clothing and buried in a plain, unadorned wooden...Read more...

Sat, June 15 2024 9 Sivan 5784