Kavod v'Nichum and Gamliel Institute provide resources, education, and training along the Jewish end-of-life continuum: from visiting the sick and pre-planning, to care for the body after death, to providing comfort to the mourners.
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Course 2: Chevrah Kadisha: Taharah and Shmirah

The central elements of Chevrah Kadisha practice include the two important rituals of taharah, preparation of the body for burial; and shmirah, the watching (or “guarding”) of the body between death and burial. This course addresses liturgy, training, safety, and complications. This course examines the Jewish religious significance of what a Chevrah Kadisha does, as we examine the meanings of the rituals associated with taharah and shmirah. Students explore not only the physical and emotional aspects of these rituals, but also delve into the liturgy behind them and how to understand why the liturgy works the way it does. This course provides students with a tremendous amount of detail and useful information to take back to home chevrot and to help students develop a significantly deeper understanding of these sacred tasks.

Topic areas include:

                  • Taharah and shmirah overview
                  • Understanding tahor and tamei
                  • Chevrah and taharah leadership
                  • Chevrah policy considerations
                  • Taharah complications
                  • Handling emotional aspects of this work
                  • Liturgy and taharah manuals
                  • Tachrichim and Aronot
                  • Health and safety precautions for taharah
                  • Shmirah
                  • Taharah and shmirah facilities


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