Kavod v’Nichum (Honor and Comfort) provides information, education, training, and technical assistance for bereavement committees and Chevra Kadisha groups in synagogues and communities to support their organization and development and enable them to perform Jewish funeral, burial, and mourning mitzvot and to protect and shield bereaved families from exploitation.
Kavod v’Nichum began its work on November 6, 2000. We take our name from the basic purposes of the Chevra Kadisha. Our mission is to restore to Jewish death and bereavement practice, the traditions and values of honoring the dead (kavod hamet) and comforting the bereaved (nichum avelim). We encourage communities and synagogues to take control of funerals and burials in accordance with their own Jewish orientation. Funeral homes should be subject to their direction. Kavod v’Nichum will help bring the rituals of death into the synagogue community. We want to educate the entire Jewish community in the power of the mitzvot of honoring the dead, comforting the bereaved, and protecting and shielding bereaved families from exploitation.
Throughout the United States and Canada, in rural and urban areas, large synagogues and small, are heeding the call to full participation in Jewish funeral practices and return of control to the community. A modern Chevra Kadisha may provide pre-need education and negotiate funeral and burial agreements. In some larger congregations, 50-75 people may participate as chaverim who work directly with the bereaved and mediate between them and the funeral and burial providers, or perform the washing (tahara) ritual, or guard the body until it is buried (shmira), or provide a meal of condolence, or set up and lead shiva, or stay in touch with the bereaved for some period after death. In a few years, they serve scores or hundreds of their fellow Jews, who don’t forget. This promotes the longevity of Jewish death practices, comforts many families, help heal communities, and promotes the honor and dignity of the deceased.
Kavod v’Nichum sponsors an annual international conference whose focus is on Chevra Kadisha, Jewish cemeteries, and all aspects of Jewish death practices. We are also sponsors of the Gamliel Institute, a world-class institute of higher learning dedicated to education related to Jewish death, dying, burial, and mourning.
Kavod v’Nichum is a Maryland non-stock corporation with Articles of Incorporation filed with the State of Maryland on 4-01-2002 and Exemption from Federal Income Tax under section 501 (a) as an organization described in Section 501(c)(3) was granted with a 4/1/2002 beginning advance ruling period and a 12-31-2006 ending advance ruling period. Classification as a public charity was recognized on 12-28-2007.