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Home  »  12th North American Chevra Kadisha and Jewish Cemetery Conference

Welcome to Kavod v’Nichum’s 12th North American Chevra Kadisha and Jewish Cemetery Conference, March 23-25, 2014 in Miami Beach at Temple Beth Sholom.

Timing Our conference is usually in June, but this year will be March 23-25.  The earlier date will make this a winter break for folks up North. The earlier date will also fit the schedule of the Florida “snowbirds” many of whom travel back North after Pesach. The conference is three weeks before Pesach, giving us an opportunity for a spiritual cleaning of chametz, before we go home and do the physical cleaning.

Hotels – We’ve done our best to negotiate favorable hotel rates. Please don’t wait to make your reservations. Space is limited and competition at other hotels will be intense.

Registration – Click on this link to register.


90% of the registration fee if you cancel in writing before Feb 1.

80% of the registration fee if you cancel in writing before Mar 1.

50% of the registration fee if you cancel in writing Mar 15 or later, and only if you have a really good excuse!

Program – The conference program is structured along four tracks. Participants may stick to one track, or pick and choose among the tracks. We appreciate an indication of your track preference. The almost final program for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday is now on our web site.

Plenary Sessions – We’re thrilled to welcome back Rabbi Jack Riemer, one of our best conference presenters, after a much too long 11 year hiatus. Rabbi Riemer’s books Wresting with the Angel, Jewish Reflections on Death, and So That Your Values Live On, are the foundation of every good Chevra Kadisha library. Watch for more details as other plenary speakers are lined up.

Journey of Accompaniment is a ten part program geared to lay people who want to increase their knowledge of Jewish practices along the end of life continuum. These workshops are designed for synagogue caring committees, federation parachaplaincy programs or chevra kadisha groups that want to expand beyond tahara. Workshops include:

The Reality of Death

The Role of the Caregiver

When A Loved One Dies

What Happens to the Body?

Understanding Shmira                                       

Sacred Washing 

Creating a Eulogy

What Happens at the Funeral

Caring for the Mourner


Jewish Cemeteries – This track is for volunteers and paid staff (if your cemetery is so fortunate) who supervise or manage small Jewish cemeteries, whether stand alone, or in a section that is part of a larger municipal, corporate or independent Jewish cemetery. Topics include nuts and bolts issues of perpetual care fees, opening and closing charges, intermarried sections, and burial of cremated remains. Also covered will be maintaining dignity, enhancing professionalism, building systems for continuity and succession, record keeping, and strategies for cemetery promotion including genealogy, cleanup days, historical tours, gravestone readings and photography. Sunday night will feature a cemeterian Kumsitz, an opportunity to schmooz and share ideas. Note the cemetery track will end Monday at 5pm. Participants will have access to post conference networking and important resources.

Tahara and Chevra Kadisha – An intensive, in-depth exploration, demonstration and discussion of Tahara will include sessions on traditional washing, purification, dressing, and prayers. Also covered will be community education, recruitment and training of volunteers, building leadership, infection control, and tahara complications. Special sessions will focus on enhancing kavanah, emotional stress, and spirituality; and on working with funeral homes. We’ll also examine the applicability of the Pennsylvania Mortuary Board’s exemption for religious non-profits.

Text Study – Spend an entire day immersed in Jewish text – you’ll work with Maavar Yabbok, S’machot, and the Tahara liturgy, working with the Hebrew text and the English translation. Note that pre-registration is required for this track and that the class will need a minimum of 7 and have a maximum of 15 participants.