Bereavement (Chevra Kadisha)
Purpose: Jewish law and tradition have endowed funeral and mourning practices with profound religious significance. A Chevra Kadisha, literally “a holy society”, such as the one at Tikvat Israel, is made up of volunteers who aid the bereaved and, together with the Rabbi, ensure that appropriate practices are followed. Assisting in the preparation and burial of the deceased is an important mitzvah.
Tikvat Israel and the Bereavement Committee can provide these services when death occurs in a congregant’s family:
- Advise congregant in making funeral arrangements
- Arrange for the professional services of the Rabbi and Cantor
- Bereavement counseling
- Arrange forTohorah by the Chevrah Kadisha.
- Arrange funeral services in Tikvat Israel’s Sanctuary or at graveside
- Provide Shomrim before the funeral at the Synagogue
- If necessary, prepare the mourners’ house prior to their return from the cemetery (e.g., cover mirrors; set out water for ritual hand washing after returning from funeral) This may be done by friends of the family.
- Arrange for a fruit basket or a meal of condolence for up to 10 mourners sometime during the shiva period.
- Coordinate shiva minyanim and supply the shiva house with siddurim, if desired
- Arrange for yahrzeit reminders to be sent out by the Tikvat Israel office
- Arrange for a dignified funeral at a reasonable cost through funeral contracts with Sagel Funeral Direction and the Jewish Funeral Practices Committee of Greater Washington DC (currently with Hines-Rinaldi, MD). Tikvat Israel does not have a contract with Torchinsky but many members have used them for funeral arrangements.
- Provide members with the option of purchasing from Tikvat Israel grave sites at Judean Gardens or Garden of Remembrance at reduced cost.
The following resources can be downloaded:
- Download TI’s contract with Hines-Rinaldi, through the Jewish Funeral Practices Committee of Greater Washington (JFPCGW)
- Download “A Guide to Jewish Mourning Practices”
Committee contact: Marilyn Greenwood