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Jewish Journal

Tag: Kavod V’nichum

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

    Isaac Pollak

    3 days ago

    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...

  • Under a Tree in the Wilderness

    Zoe Ariana Van Raan

    1 week ago

    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

    2 weeks ago

    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...

  • A Hospice Chaplain’s Tale

    Rabbi Karen B. Kaplan

    2 weeks ago

    A great way to stop a conversation cold with someone I am meeting for the first time is to let out that I was a hospice chaplain for seven years. It’s good to know that most readers of this blog would take this as a sublime conversation-starter instead.

    As I reflected with a...

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  • The Bookends of Life

    Jean Berman

    3 weeks ago

    The call came from a woman I liked and had learned from: would I consider participating in a Taharah – a what? Someone had died and she was spearheading a new initiative to offer the traditional Jewish ceremony of purification. I was hesitant but open, and after more conversation...

  • Giving Back: Taharah

    Dr. Joyce Kendall Friedman

    July 23, 2014 | 1:46 pm

    I waited a year after my mother, z”l, passed away, before I was able to think about doing for others what the Chevrah Kadisha had done for my mother.

     I read the manual which they gave me. My friend, Helene, suggested that I watch the first time and read the prayers in English as...

  • Telltale Tattoos

    Kerry Swartz

    July 16, 2014 | 1:16 pm

    One of the most prevalent myths about Jewish death pertains to tattoos: should you have them, you can’t have a Jewish funeral or be buried in a Jewish cemetery. This is simply not true. Indeed, this is the single most frequent tweet I make as a response for Kavod v’Nichum....

  • Honor Guard

    Susan Esther Barnes

    July 8, 2014 | 1:17 am

    This is a description that I wrote shortly after I had my first experience of shmirah, guarding or watching over someone who has died. The Jewish tradition is not to leave a person alone from the time of their death until the time of their burial. A shomer (male) or shomeret...

  • These I Remember….

    Isaac Pollak

    July 1, 2014 | 1:09 am

    I have done many taharot in the last 36 years, but there are a handful that stand out, and come back to me again and again, especially during days of Yizkor (remembrance) and Zayin Adar (7th of the month of Aar, when many Chevrai Kadisha choose to acknowledge their members), when...

  • Isn’t it Depressing?

    Rena Boroditsky

    June 25, 2014 | 2:54 pm

    People say to me, “I don’t understand how you do your job,” or,”What's it like to be surrounded by death all the time?  Isn't it depressing?”

    It’s not depressing, but it can be sad. Those of us behind the scenes, the Shomrim who sit vigil with our loved ones, the members of the...

  • She is Pure

    Rabbi Me'irah Illinsky

    June 18, 2014 | 2:26 pm

    My first Taharah, ritual purification, was a trial of courage for me. I stepped in with little preparation, and it was new to me.

    We met as the sun was going down, to prepare the metah (Hebrew for a deceased female) for burial the next morning. The difference between someone very...

  • Guarding the Body of a Friend

    Kohenet Ellie Barbarash

    June 13, 2014 | 11:32 am

    I left for the airport as soon as I got the call. My friend Yosefa, a brilliant tattoo artist, educator, and fellow Kohenet, was on her deathbed, dying of a brain tumor. I booked the next flight from Philadelphia to Seattle in time to do shemirah, to guard her body and soul after...

  • Attention Forward: We Aren’t That Radical

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    June 19, 2013 | 7:59 am

    It has been said that most of us believe newspaper reporting to be generally accurate, until we read an article on a subject with which we are intimately familiar. It is then that we see the inaccuracies and distortions of a story clearly. Such was my experience with a recent...

  • Taharah for Gentiles?

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    May 1, 2013 | 8:00 am

    Kavod v’Nichum, the organization that assists chevra kadisha groups, synagogues and others regarding mitzvot concerning chaplaincy, burial, mourning, and related topics, recently hosted a webinar titled, “Ritual Washing for Non-Jews After Death.” The webinar presenters were two...

  • Webinar on Taharah Leadership

    By Susan Esther Barnes

    February 20, 2013 | 7:00 am

    This week I, along with about 70 other people, participated in a webinar about taharah leadership given by Kavod v’Nichum. Taharah is the act of ritually washing and preparing a dead body for burial, and Kavod v’Nichum is an organization that, according to its website, “encourages...

  • Chevra Kadisha conference highlights Jewish way of honoring the dead

    By Ryan Torok

    July 11, 2012 | 12:34 pm

    “This is a universal thing that everybody goes through,” Rabbi Stan Levy emphasized during the 10th North American Chevra Kadisha and Jewish Cemetery Conference, a three-day event last month at American Jewish University. Appearing as a guest speaker at the annual conference,...

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