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Jewish Journal

Tag: Death

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  • A Hard Taharah

    2 days ago

    It has been exactly a year since our Chevrah Kadisha performed taharah for O, who was 10 months old.  When our team of 4 answered the call, I asked them to think of lullabies in Hebrew and/or English and niggunim (wordless melodies) which we would use during the taharah in place of...

  • Yehuda Avner, Ambassador and Advisor, Dies at 86

    By JewishJournal.com

    4 days ago

    Yehuda Avner, a senior advisor and speechwriter to five Israeli prime ministers and an articulate chronicler of the Jewish state’s history, died March 24, 2015 in Jerusalem.

    Avner served as advisor to Israeli Prime Ministers Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, as...

  • Contemplating Death vs Life as a Focus

    1 week ago

    If one walks into the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan (a five minute stroll from our home) and makes a right turn from the central Atrium, one comes face to face with the exhibit on the religions of Egypt which glorified death, with mortuary artifacts over 4000 years old....

  • Escorting a Soul

    By Diana Emuna

    3 weeks ago

    My friend’s mother died this week.  The world is a little less friendly, less warm and less kind without her.   She was a lady who had a warm smile and was lovely to talk to.

    When a parent of a friend dies, I think of my own experience.  My dad died when I was a teenager.  He...

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  • The Chevrah Kadisha Conference

    3 weeks ago

    Once a year, we attend a gathering of individuals from a range of Jewish backgrounds, with varying perspectives and practices, who come together in a spirit of kindness and compassion, intellectually curious, eager to learn from one another, and open to supporting and being...

  • The Conference That Was Dead On

    By Rabbi Joe Blair

    February 25, 2015 | 3:31 am

    Yesterday, Tuesday February 24th, 2015, the 13th Annual Kavod v’Nichum Chevrah Kadisha conference concluded in Austin, Tx. A group of about 75 people from all over North America came together and studied, learned, shared, talked, socialized, cried, and kvelled with and for each...

  • Dreaming of Taharah

    February 11, 2015 | 3:20 am

    I am involved in a wanna-be group. We’ve desired to form a Chevrah Kadisha and begin providing taharah rituals in our area for several years. We have come up against many obstacles, interestingly, mostly from within (ability to organize, commit time, etc.). 

    I had this experience...

  • Kavod v’Nichum: Nurses, the Dying, and the Newly Dead

    January 28, 2015 | 3:12 am

     “On my way home I stopped and picked up some things for her, like baby shampoo and stuff…because I wanted to give her a little something extra because it was her last day.”

    --Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse, discussing the imminent death of her tiny patient.

    For nurses, caring...

  • Vidui (Final Confession)

    January 21, 2015 | 3:00 am

    As I have sat with so many people as they were dying, I never felt comfortable listening to or reading, the traditional, standard Vidui, as it is.

    It is so dark, and so filled with gloom, that not one of the patients I have shared the vidui with - I believe- felt comforted, felt...

  • Where ARE you anyway?

    January 14, 2015 | 3:00 am

    The first question God asks a human is a tricky one.

    Adam and Eve, having just eaten of the forbidden fruit, hear the voice of God meandering through the Garden amidst the breezy rustlings of the day. God asks them, “Ayekha—Where are you?”  The answer was a simple one. “Hineni—...

  • ON THE ELEVEN MONTHS

    January 7, 2015 | 3:00 am

    It worked the way it was supposed to work. Really. When my dad died, after those first shakey few days, saying Kaddish got easy. My dad’s life was full and meaningful and he had accomplished much. He had struggled with cancer for a year and had become so frail that it was clearly...

  • Nachum

    December 24, 2014 | 3:00 am

    If you ask a non-Orthodox Jew "What is a Chevrah Kadisha?" you'll probably get a lot of approximately right answers.  If you ask, "What is a Taharah?" I suspect you'll be met with an abundance of blank stares. In our very intelligent community, we are clearly lacking some basic...

  • Dying we live [1995]

    By Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis

    December 18, 2014 | 7:32 am

    When last I spoke to my teacher, Abraham Joshua Heschel, he asked if he could borrow my kittel. He was not at home in New York but here in California and it was before the High Holidays. "You know,” he explained "the kittel is part of the tachrichim -- the shrouds in which the dead...

  • Dust or Eternal Life? An Overview on Life After Death

    December 10, 2014 | 3:18 am

    “Dust You Are and Dust You Shall Remain” the first Human Being is told in Genesis. Ecclesiastes continues that “a season is set for everything; a time to be born and a time to die.” Yet every important Jewish thinker has depicted belief in an afterlife as a fundamental feature of...

  • Receiving the Birthday Gift of Taharah

    November 26, 2014 | 11:05 am

    The first thing I did on my 55th birthday was to participate in my first Taharah (ritual purification).  I can’t think of a better birthday present.  Perhaps calling another person’s taharah one of my best birthday presents ever seemsas strange to you as it did to some of my...

  • Death Cafe in Winnipeg, Canada

    November 19, 2014 | 4:00 am

    About 50 brave souls gathered on a frigid January evening to eat cake, drink tea, and talk about

     

    Death.

     

    Jon Underwood, a 40-something fellow in the UK, does website development, design and engagement around end of life issues.

    One of his projects focused on how...

  • Cancer takes Brittany Maynard

    By Ilana Angel

    November 3, 2014 | 6:50 am

    The young and beautiful Brittany Maynard passed away this past weekend. Many followed this woman’s journey as she brought awareness to her decision to choose when to die while battling terminal cancer. There is a lot of debate over Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act and the...

  • There I Was, Dead

    October 29, 2014 | 4:00 am

    There I was, lying on the table pretending to be dead.  Six intensely focused people were huddled around me reciting specific liturgy from Scripture and dressing me in burial shrouds.  I tried to just be “dead weight” – loose, relaxed, and present.  As I followed their progress, I...

  • How Jewish ritual helped me find my way through loss

    By Danielle Berrin

    October 2, 2014 | 11:06 am

    I had to press my lips closed, the day after it ended.

    The ritual was no longer mine. My duty was complete. But the words, with their cadences and rhythms, their alliterative twists — yitgadal v’yitgadash — had become my anthem. For 11 months, I had owned these words, claimed...

  • Soul Play

    October 1, 2014 | 5:00 am

    --- Parashat Yom Kippur: Leviticus 16:1-34, Numbers 29:7-11

     For many of us, death is “the unthinkable.” Yom Kippur is supposed to help us with this problem. It asks us once a year to spend a day without food, water and other elements of life, and to dress in one of the garments...

  • Plan Ahead

    September 24, 2014 | 5:00 am

    As we confront our mortality at this time of year (the High Holidays), I would like to suggest a service you can perform that can alleviate suffering, prevent or ameliorate remorse and help prevent financial ruin.  I am talking about end-of-life documents — Durable Power of...

  • Learning to Comfort, Learning to Do

    September 17, 2014 | 5:00 am

    As I’ve read the recent entries on this blog, I’ve been struck that something like this would never have existed a generation ago. And I don’t mean the social media aspect but the subject matter: the topic of death was not out in the open until recently.

    Death in general, and the...

  • Kim Kardashian

    September 10, 2014 | 11:06 am

    Kim Kardashian...

    Is not the subject of this column. 

    Hollywood lost two giants recently.  Joan Rivers was just laid to rest.  A few weeks ago, Robin Williams left us.  I am not going to write in-depth tributes to these two amazing people; that has been done and will continue...

  • Feeling the Soul Depart

    September 10, 2014 | 6:00 am

    During the first Taharah in which I participated, I was given the job of holding the meitah's/deceased woman’s head. I had such a powerful feeling of an energy coming through me and a sense of my own head being held, feeling that the energy went out of me and into the hands that I...

  • My Unataneh Tokef moments

    September 4, 2014 | 10:06 am

    On Rosh Hashanah, it is written and Yom Kippur, it is sealed; who shall live, who shall die.  But repentance, prayer and charity avert the severity of the decree.  If you apply a literal reading to this most famous of High Holiday prayers, you cannot help but conclude that it is...

  • Losing to Gain: The Central Paradox of Death Rituals - The Break that Binds

    August 27, 2014 | 6:00 am

    Central to religious practice, rituals may often seem intentionally obtuse, to the point of irrationality. This, in fact may be their very purpose. By devising rituals that at times seem to make little or no sense to the uninitiated, those who learn to perform the rituals - if not...

  • Dying unsudden

    By Mahim Maher

    August 24, 2014 | 1:07 pm

    My grandmother is dying. We take turns waiting at her bedside in the ICU. I ferry relatives back and forth for their shifts to the house and back to the hospital. It struck me that not only was there a limbo on the national front—two major groups are holding sit-in protests to...

  • Leonard Fein on confronting death

    August 20, 2014 | 11:17 am

    Consolation is on my mind, doubtless because just the other day I addressed a convention of a truly extraordinary organization called Kavod v’Nichum, Honor and Comfort. They’d gathered in Philadelphia, and because I once wrote some words expressing my awe at their devotion and...

  • Under a Tree in the Wilderness

    August 20, 2014 | 6:00 am

    She killed herself under a tree in the wilderness, with the intention of not being found until well after the process of bodily death was complete. Days later I stood in front of her casket.

    In the final few months of her life she sought out a Jewish community and declared...

  • The Passing Of Leibel Fein

    By Rabbi Joe Blair

    August 17, 2014 | 5:55 am

    Baruch dayan haemet (blessed be the true judge).

    Earlier this week, the death of Leonard “Leibel” Fein was announced. Much has been said about Leibel Fein, and his many accomplishments, by many who knew him, and can speak from personal experience of him. I am not one of those...

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