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Chevra Kadisha

In most Jewish communities the Chevra Kadisha takes on the role of providing for the dead.  Here is some information about the Chevra Kadisha of BHA (CKBHA):

What is a Chevra Kadisha?

Most simply, a chevra kadisha, or "holy society," is the group of people within a Jewish community who perform shmirah and taharah.  


In Jewish tradition, a person who dies should be accompanied from the time of death until burial. Shmirah, from the Hebrew word "to keep" or "to guard," is the practice of staying with the deceased during this time. Traditionally, the person who performs Shmirah will read Psalms or other appropriate texts in order to cultivate an attitude of respect, compassion and focus in the presence of the deceased.


Taharah is a set of practices preparing the body for burial, and is traditionally done by members of the chevra kadisha. Taharah includes the following steps:

• Washing the body
• The ritual pouring of water over the body to purify the soul
• Dressing the body in traditional garments called tachrichim
• Placing the body in a plain wooden casket

Throughout the ritual, appropriate prayers, texts and kavanot (intentions) are recited by the participants.

And Beyond
Beyond the performance of taharah and shmira, the chevra kadisha may also facilitate and/or participate in other facets of the mourning process, including accompanying the mourner/s through shiva (the first seven days after burial) and shloshim (the first thirty days after burial).  

In all instances, the chevra’s goal is to provide kavod  hameit, honor to the dead, and nichum aveilim, comfort to the mourners.

Adapted from “Jewish Death and Burial - An Overview” by Susan Esther Barnes


Wed, June 7 2023 18 Sivan 5783