About Kavod v’Nichum
Who We Are
Kavod v’Nichum (Honor and Comfort) provides information, education, training, and technical assistance for bereavement committees and Chevrah Kadisha groups in synagogues and communities to support their organization and development, to 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 Chevrah Kadisha. Our mission is to restore to Jewish death and bereavement practice, the traditions and values of honoring the dead (kavod hameit) and comforting the bereaved (nichum aveilim). We encourage communities and synagogues to take control of funerals and burials in accordance with their own Jewish orientation. Kavod v’Nichum will help 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.
Our work is important because it changes the lives of the people it touches. The volunteer gives without thought of reward. The bereaved receive beyond any expectation. The local chevrei are valuable not only for what they do, but for the unity and affection they bring about in Jewish congregations and communities. The bond that is built becomes the basis for further community growth and development.
We work with bereaved families not only because there is an immediate need, but also because we understand that helping families and friends through their grief provides a bond that can be the foundation for a strong synagogue community. Communities will benefit from heightened cooperation among the different branches of Judaism. Synagogues will see enhanced member participation and strengthened intergenerational continuity. Leaders will see opportunities for their Jewish institutions to be involved in new educational activities or in activities to provide funeral and burial services. Individuals will deepen their spirituality and appreciation for life.
We are poised to unlock a part of Judaism that has been hidden for too long. It has the potential for greatness if we can nurture and guide it on its way.
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What We Do
- Kavod v’Nichum convenes annual North American Chevrah Kadisha and Jewish Cemetery conferences to provide education, hands on training and networking opportunities. For more information about these conferences, click here.
- We provide leadership training through our Gamliel Institute, a well-respected institute of higher learning, dedicated to education related to Jewish death, dying, burial, and mourning. The Institute is a world-class academic institution that educates and trains leaders in the creation of a holistic end-of-life care continuum for their local Jewish communities. The goal is to deepen future leaders’ Jewish knowledge and to help them experience the emotional, transformative, and spiritual aspects of Chevrah Kadisha work. The five online, twelve-week core courses present a groundbreaking opportunity for study and learning, through which students earn a formal certificate. In addition to these five there is a student project course as well. More details about Gamliel can be found here.
- We publish the Jewish Funerals Burial and Mourning website, an extensive internet resource (jewish-funerals.org).
- We create awareness among Jewish leadership of the challenges and opportunities facing the Jewish community in the area of traditional practice around death.
- We respond to requests and assist synagogues and community organizations that need help in organizing a Chevrah Kadisha or bereavement committee.
- We design synagogue member-education programs and train Chevrah members to deliver them.
- We communicate and support different organizational models, from the Chevrah that owns a cemetery and a funeral home, to one that contracts for services, to one that does only taharah or only meals of condolence or shiva.
- We develop and publish resource materials on the origins and practices of all Jewish aspects of the end-of-life continuum, including books, artwork, a blog, and sample contracts between Jewish communities and funeral homes and cemeteries.
- We facilitate Jewish activity in the area of traditional funeral practice with involvement in, and wholehearted support of, all branches of Judaism.
- We help locate goods and services needed for traditional funerals and burials.
- We strongly advocate for consumer protection, especially at times of bereavement.
- We bring education and technical assistance to synagogues and communities. We have worked with many synagogues and communities throughout North America.
- We encourage and assist the organization of bereavement committees and Chevrah Kadisha groups in synagogues and communities so that they can perform these mitzvot; protect and shield bereaved families from exploitation; and provide education and assistance to congregants. We provide information, education, and technical assistance that will help bring these important life cycle events back into the synagogue.
How We Can Help You
Kavod v’Nichum can provide assistance to your community in a variety of ways, including but not limited to the following:
- We provide onsite educational events tailored specifically to the needs of your community. Kavod v’Nichum can help you start a Chevrah Kadisha from scratch, improve and expand an existing chevrah, train leaders to better inspire and inform your community, and provide resources and guidance to those who have questions.
- Your community members can attend our annual North American Chevrah Kadisha and Jewish Cemetery conferences to immerse in the amazing experience of learning with other chevrah members from all over North America, network with leaders and authors in this field, and establish connections with colleagues in other communities.
- Kavod v’Nichum can help you provide community-wide education to uplift and inform the larger community about Jewish end-of-life practices in general, Jewish rituals like taharah and shmirah, and why Jewish burial is important.
- We can support you and guide you to many resources to help you along the way.
Contact us if you’d like to know more about any of our programs, or if you have questions regarding any aspect of Jewish death-related practices.
Kavod v’Nichum and the Gamliel Institute
David Zinner, Executive Director
8112 Sea Water Path
Columbia, MD 21045
Legal and Financial Information
Kavod v’Nichum is a Maryland non-stock corporation. Articles of Incorporation were filed with the State of Maryland on 4-01-2002.
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.
IRS information returns – 990 filings
Origins of Jewish Death Practice – Why Kavod v’Nichum Was Started