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Home  »  Conference Program – Plenaries

Click here to see the Preliminary Conference Program.

We are thrilled to announce that Anita Diamant will be our guest speaker on Sunday evening. Anita is the author of Saying Kaddish – How to Comfort the Dying, Bury the Dead, and Mourn as a Jew. One of the first books that not only explored and explained all aspects of Kaddish, but included a description of the Taharah ritual.  Anita helped found the Community Hevra Kadisha of Greater Boston and was the founder of Mayyim Hayyim, the community mikveh in Boston.

A Jewish Telegraphic Agency article described her hopes for the Chevra Kadisha movement:

Diamant is hoping to do for Jewish burial something akin to what she did for Jewish ritual baths with the founding a decade ago of Mayyim Hayyim, a “pluralist mikvah” in the Boston suburbs: Taking an ancient and often intimidating ritual traditionally the sole domain of the Orthodox and making it accessible, if not mainstream, for modern liberal Jews.

“It feels like part of the same wonderful movement of liberal Jews owning the tradition and feeling authentic in their understanding and practice,” Diamant said. “It’s one of the oldest things in the world, but it’s new for us – and that’s exciting.”

Anita is the author of seven non-fiction works, and five novels including The Red Tent and the recently published The Boston Girl.

Rabbi Sara Paasche-Orlow, Director of Director of Religious and Chaplaincy Services at Hebrew Senior Life in Boston. She’ll be speaking about Hassidic Approaches to Death based on her new book co-authored with Rabbi Joel Baron entitled, “Deathbed Wisdom of the Hassidic Masters: The Book of Departure and Caring for People at end of Life.” 

Rabbi Nehemia Polen, Ph.D., is Professor of Jewish Thought at Hebrew College in Boston. He  is an expert in Hasidism and Jewish thought, will be speaking on issues that arise out of Tahara, examining Vayikra’s take on purity, with Hassidic texts and teachings. Nehemia has written The Holy Fire: The Teachings of Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, the Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto; The Rebbe’s Daughter; and Filling Words With Light: Hasidic and Mystical Reflections on Jewish Prayer.