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Jewish Journal

Tag: Death

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  • Reflections on life and death

    By David Suissa

    2 days ago

    Is there anything in life more dramatic than death? Can anything, in fact, be more dramatic than absolute finality? We experience many deaths in life — the death of a marriage, a friendship, a business, a dream — but it’s the loss of life itself that holds maximum drama. A life...

  • Sometimes we bend the Rules

    3 days ago

    A couple of months ago we got called to do a Taharah on a pre-term twin. One twin lived, and is a beautiful baby girl. The other one died, and we prepared her with love. My partner knew the family, and they asked her to do the Taharah for them.

    I made a little blanket, and the...

  • The Giver of Death

    1 week ago

    [Editor’s Note: Some may find this entry controversial, or even distressing. I am not trying to decide this matter or indicate what to think or feel. Instead, I am presenting a thoughtful, well-written, and clear article about the matter penned by one who is involved on a regular...

  • At Death’s Door

    2 weeks ago

    For me, what’s on tap after death is unknowable. Not only that, what will happen right before is just about equally mysterious. How can we predict the way each of us is actually going to feel when the time comes? When we are children, we cannot understand what it is like to be a...

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  • Jacob & the Angel

    3 weeks ago

    Being a hospice chaplain, I encounter every side of life’s last phase: the person with the final illness & death and the grieving survivors. Being a teacher of Torah, I find great comfort in understanding the challenges of life in what I call “Stepping into the Jewish Paradigm,” or...

  • Remembering Life by Jean Berman

    April 22, 2015 | 1:27 pm

    I have an affinity for the passage we use from the Shir HaShirim/Song of Songs while washing the body of the meit/deceased:

     

    How beautiful you are, my beloved friend:

    your eyes are doves from behind your

    tresses; your hair as a flock of goats that

    trail down from Mount...

  • Open Letter to Mayim Bialik

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    April 21, 2015 | 2:08 pm

    Actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik announced this week that her father died during Passover. She is deep in mourning, and her brief but heartfelt post about it, “Mourning my Father’s Death,” brought up some important points which I believe deserve a response.

    Dear Mayim –

    ...

  • Terrible Taharah

    April 15, 2015 | 3:13 am

    [Editor's Note: This was written some time ago, looking back. It reflects on a past experience and the author's response to it then.  The phrase 'comedy of errors' seems to float into conciousness as it unfolds. This entry is intended for amusement, with an aspect of satire. Enjoy....

  • Who is So Into Death?

    April 8, 2015 | 3:11 am

    Sometimes the question comes up: Who is behind Kavod v’Nichum? Who is it that spends their time working on matters around death and death rituals? Here is one answer about such a person.

    David Zinner of Columbia, Maryland has truly created something out of nothing. For the past...

  • Jewish Leader Linda Jum’s Death at 61 Galvanizes Her Chevrah Kadisha

    April 1, 2015 | 3:31 am

    [Editor’s Note: This entry is a bit of an ‘insider’ posting. It is longer than most, and deals with someone who was deeply involved in the Chevrah Kadisha ‘movement’, the group that seeks to reclaim Jewish tradition and practices around the continuum at the end of life for any and...

  • A Hard Taharah

    March 25, 2015 | 3:49 am

    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

    March 23, 2015 | 11:32 pm

    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

    March 18, 2015 | 4:00 am

    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

    March 9, 2015 | 11:30 am

    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...

  • The Chevrah Kadisha Conference

    March 4, 2015 | 3:40 am

    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...

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