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Jewish Death Practices:
Overview / Summary
Origins and History
Visiting the Sick or Dying 

Phases of Death Observance
    Approaching the Time of Death
    Between Death and Burial
    Burial and Cremation 
    Mourning Practices

Spiritual Aspects
Funeral Homes
Funeral Contracts


Chevra Kadisha:
Articles about Chevra Kadisha

Tahara Manuals and Procedures
Tahara Training
Tahara Stories
Tahara Supplies Lists
Funeral Home Supplies


Organ Donation


Infection Control


Next Conference
Previous Conferences


Learning & Resources:
Gamliel Institute

KNIT Resource Center
    Contacts for Answers
    Catalog of Articles
    Additional Links

FAQ About Death and Dying
Modern Dilemmas
Guided Learning
Jewish Sources and  Responsa
Synagogue Brochures
Community Education

Course 5 - Chevra Kadisha: Ritual Practice

Outline of Course 5 - Chevra Kadisha: Ritual Practices

I.                    Introduction

a.      Understanding Jewish Death and Mourning Practices and the Work of the Chevra Kadisha

b.      Custom vs halacha vs practice

c.       Values - interplay of both Kvod hamet and Nichum Aveylim

d.      Stage theory in mourning - Kubler-Ross

e.      Jewish concepts of 'death' - Gillman - Death of Death

II.                  Ritual and Prayer

a.      Ritual

b.      Prayer and the Chevra Kadisha

III.                Pre-death

a.      Bikkur Cholim - Kelman manual

b.      Mi sheberach

c.       Gomel - prayer at bedside and in synagogue

d.      Change of name

e.      Ethical Wills

f.        Life Histories

g.      Making arrangements

h.      Viddui

IV.                At-death

a.      The moment of death (hospital, at home, hospice)

b.      Keriya

c.       Shmira

d.      Tahara

e.      Aninut - Kelman manual

f.        Communication: family, friends, public (death notice); obituary; death certificate

g.      Autopsy, organ donation

V.                  Funeral service at location/graveside

a.      Order of service - if service before graveside in another location

2.      Psalms 23, 15, 18, Ecc. 3:1-8, Prov. 31

3.      Eulogies

4.      Ayl maleh - (eloha selichot)

5.      Pallbearers

VI.                At graveside

a.      purpose,

b.      reality,

c.       Cemetery rules

d.      geniza

e.      Walking to grave - Ps. 91

f.        Tzidduk hadin {or Ps. 16}

g.      Lowering the casket - Al mekomo [teach]

h.      Filling in grave

i.        Elogies, Psalms, readings - if no service beforehand)

j.        Ayl maleh

6.      Kaddish

7.      Shurot

8.      Mourners greeting

9.      Washing hands

VII.              After death

a.      Home preparations - water

b.      Seudat havraah

c.       Other meals

d.      Shiva - Kelman manual: 27-45

         i.      Logistics

         ii.      Tefilot

         iii.      Getting up and walking

         iv.      Water, mirrors, sitting, candle, study

         v.      Sephardic customs

VIII.            After Death

a.      Kaddish

b.      Shloshim

c.       Matzevah

d.      The year and Tehi nishmato

e.      How to mourn

f.        How to grieve

         i.      Camp

         ii.      Excessive grief

g.      How to remember

         i.      Yahrtzeit

         ii.      Yizkor

h.      Afterlife

i.        Resurrection

j.        Reincarnation


IX.                Review of all courses

a.      Values -

         i.      Kvod hamet; nichum aveylim; simplicity; accepting reality; expressing emotions; equality

         ii.      Communal responsibility

b.      Major texts



Jewish Funeral Practices Committee of Greater Washington