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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

North American Chevrah Kadisha and Jewish Cemetery Conference - 2019

Where and When
The 17th Annual North American Chevrah Kadisha and Jewish Cemetery Conference will be held on the campus of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, from Monday, June 3 through lunch on June 5, 2019, with dinner and an informal social gathering on Sunday evening, June 2. Conference sessions begin right after breakfast Monday morning.  The conference officially ends at noon on Wednesday, followed by the Gamliel Day of Learning (see below). 

Nine Kosher meals are included with your full registration, from Sunday dinner through Wednesday lunch.  Let us know if you have special dietary needs.  We will do everything we can to assure you can eat well at the conference.

Registration is open. Click here to get started.

Conference Overview

The Chevrah Kadisha and Jewish Cemetery Conference started as an annual event in 2003, and is two-and-a-half days of intense learning focused on the end-of life continuum. From visiting the sick (bikkur cholim), to ritual preparation of the dead for burial (taharah) and comforting the soul between death and burial (shmirah), through funeral and burial to all aspects of grief and mourning, this conference allows every participant to immerse in the knowledge, resources, texts, and discussions vital to working in their own community. 
The conference is held in a different community every year, all over North America. Venues have included hotels, JCCs, synagogues, and college campuses. The presentations respectfully embrace and include every approach to Jewish living, and every kind of Jewish community.  Some sessions are oriented toward mainstream practices while others are introducing new approaches and rituals. 

If you need emotional re-charging, get your batteries ready because you will be re-inspired, re-enthused, and re-energized by the amazing teachers and folks who attend this conference. 

Don't miss the "live" taharah demo as well as discussions of intermarried burials, active listening, marketing traditional funerals and burials, infection control, history of the Chevrah Kadisha, autopsy and medical examiners, non-profit funeral homes, transgender issues, cemetery consecration, Maavor Yabbok text study, healing, cemetery finances, bereavement photography, genealogy, cemetery regulators, and much more. Plus lots of networking, discussing, strategizing, sharing, and supporting.

To see the almost final Conference Program, click here.

Who Should Attend

We encourage every synagogue, Jewish cemetery, and Chevrah Kadisha, as well as related institutions such as a hospice or hospital, to send a team to the conference. There's a lot to learn, to share, and to bring home. If you are new to end-of-life work, this gathering will provide you education and inspiration, concrete resources with a network of experts. And did we mention networking? If you are experienced, the conference gives you a wealth of options to learn in-depth, or branch out to new areas. 
Those who are members of an existing chevrah, along with those who are considering creating a new Chevrah Kadisha, are encouraged to come to deepen their knowledge, find colleagues who are in similar situations in other communities, learn what to do next, and find a wealth of resources.  These conferences have helped many to establish new rituals and deepen existing practices.  It's amazing what you can take home when you learn with others from all over North America.
Consider attending the conference if you:

  • are interested in the fields of community organizing, consumer advocacy, bikkur cholim, chaplaincy, rabbinic texts, thanatology, hospice care, grief therapy, funeral direction, cemetery management, and legacy planning;
  • recognize the importance of liturgy and ritual in ensuring that the spiritual dimension of the end-of-life continuum is appreciated, and that the work of the Chevrah Kadisha is done with full regard for the respect and dignity of all involved;
  • want to learn more about the entire end-of-life continuum, including dealing with life-threatening illness, legacy and preparation of ethical wills, preparing for death and at the time of death, care for the body, taharah and shmirah, care for relatives and friends, funeral and burial practices and ritual, mourning, grieving, remembering and providing comfort, always with underlying themes of communal obligation, care for the poor and elderly, consumer protection, and Jewish continuity;
  • believe it is essential to move the culture surrounding continuum-of-life issues in the Jewish community - from the all-too-common attitude of denial and neglect around death, to a more open attitude towards death that includes increasing awareness, acceptance, and healthy integration into family and community life;
  • want to participate in the development of a strong Jewish corps of volunteer and professional communal leaders, who work to inspire, support, organize, teach, and advocate for the full range of Chevrah Kadisha work in synagogues and communities.

Gamliel Day of Learning
In addition to the conference programming, the Gamliel Institute offers Gamliel students a Day of Learning immediately after the conference, from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning.  These sessions are a special opportunity for in-depth learning with outstanding instructors speaking on a variety of topics.  There are three learning sessions, each of several hours.

  • Tuition is $72
  • Three sessions: Wednesday afternoon, Wednesday evening, Thursday morning
  • Dates: June 5th and 6th, 2019

Non-Gamliel students may participate with the Dean's permission. If you would like to attend the Gamliel Day of Learning and are not a Gamliel student, please contact us at
Conference Costs
Registration fees vary according to how early you register: Advance, Early, Regular, or Onsite.  We also have discounts for multiple members of an organization attending together, in addition to daily rates for those attending only parts of the conference and commuter rates for locals who eat breakfast at home..



1/1 - 2/28

3/1 - 4/30

5/1 - 5/28

5/29 - 6/3

Full Registration










Local Organization**





Non-Local Organization***





Monday Only





Tuesday Only





Wednesday Only






   *  Does not include breakfast
 **  Three or more registrations from same community, does not include breakfast
*** Three or more registrations from same community

Lodging Arrangements:
This year's conference includes the opportunity to stay on campus in dormitory-like rooms for significantly reduced costs. These rooms are very nice, although perhaps smaller than most hotel rooms.  In addition to a very low cost, they provide the means to minimize travel time between lodging and the conference venue on campus.  To reserve a room on-campus, sign up when you register.

  • On-campus single dorm room cost is $70/night (includes private bath)
  • On-campus double dorm room cost is $45/person/night (two beds with shared bath)

We have reserved a block of rooms at the Best Western University Inn for $99/night plus tax. Best Western is a 15 minute walk to campus located at 914 S. College Ave in Ft. Collins, CO 80525. Discounted rates are good until May 1. 

Call in to make reservations at 970-484-1984 or 888-484-2984 and identify yourself with Chevrah Kadisha Conference.

Or reserve a room on-line at

with GROUP ID #2N6ZJ4G2. 

To register for the 17th Annual North American Chevrah Kadisha and Jewish Cemetery Conference, Gamliel Day of Learning, and Colorado State University campus dorm rooms, please complete the registration form.
Travel Connections
Attendees coming to Colorado by air should fly to Denver International Airport (code DEN) and then drive or ride from the airport to Fort Collins.  You can rent a car and drive the hour or so to Fort Collins, or take a shuttle. 

Vendor Information
We will have bookstore at the conference where you can sell books, artwork, and related items.  In addition we will have an exhibit area.  If you wish to participate in this part of the conference, either as a seller or exhibitor, please be in touch at your earliest convenience so we can plan together:
Chevrah Kadisha and Jewish Cemetery Conference
David Zinner, Executive Director
8112 Sea Water Path
Columbia, MD  21045



Jewish Funeral Practices Committee of Greater Washington