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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Kavod v’Nichum Classes and Trainings

Overview

The staff of Kavod v’Nichum provides training and support for new and existing Chevrah Kadisha groups throughout North America. Training a Chevrah Kadisha does more than prepare members to perform taharah; such training can be an essential element in enhancing community, for it is about team building, leadership training, networking, and creating close relationships with truly caring Jewish congregants. We supply your community with an experienced knowledgeable instructor to teach and train on a single day or over several days, usually including Shabbat-appropriate discussions followed by a Sunday training. We tailor and format our training to your specific needs and desires, mixing and matching topics and formats as desired, to ensure a positive, fruitful, rewarding, energizing, and productive interaction.

Training Topics

In the continuum of Jewish death practices, we provide many topics to choose from. Most groups begin with shmirah and taharah, or maybe only taharah. The group can then include more as the chevrah becomes better established. Here is a short list of the most common topics included in chevrah trainings and community educational events:

  • Spiritual Uplift: stories from the field, how this work has changed the life of so many who have participated
  • Emotional Comfort: the impact of taharah on the family and the community
  • Text study related to Jewish end-of-life practices
  • What is Taharah – kehillah (community), kavanah (intent), tefila (prayer and liturgy), and ritual practices
  • Taharah manuals and liturgy – kavanot, prayers, instructions
  • Taharah demonstration – dressing and knot tying
  • Handling the emotional aspects of taharah
  • Leadership in the taharah room
  • Jewish mourning practices
  • Managing a chevrah, training the team, and educating the community
  • Infection control and injury prevention
  • Organ, tissue, and whole-body donation
  • History of the evolution of the Chevrah Kadisha and taharah practices
  • Ground burial and cemetery management
  • Funeral home contracting
  • Working with other religious organizations

Training Formats

Each of the above topics can be presented as overview lectures, as hands-on demonstrations and interactive classes, or through several-hour in-depth trainings. Generally, communities want overviews of most of the above with in-depth training in taharah-related topics. We will tailor the format and content to meet the needs of your community. Here is a common full weekend arrangement:

  • Friday night and/or Saturday morning drash(ot), tying into that week’s Torah or Haftorah portion – an introduction to the spiritual and emotional aspects of taharah and shmira to provide inspiration and general information
    • Example: Spiritual Uplift – an exploration of the spiritual aspects of Jewish death practices and how they impact us
  • Shabbat lunch-and-learn, usually based on a Torah portion or Talmud selection, exploring Jewish traditional practices around death; equality and leadership; or providing comfort
    • Example: Jewish text study – Rabban Gamliel’s impact on Jewish death practices then and now
  • Post-Havdalah evening consultation with chevrah leaders and/or clergy
    • Example: Next steps, ongoing training, and educational programs
  • Sunday morning adult education or religious school teaching
    • Example: Understanding Jewish end-of-life rituals for Bar/Bat Mitzvah age; providing comfort for younger children; or other appropriate topics
  • Sunday all-day or afternoon in-depth training
    • Examples: Steps in performing taharah, liturgy review, tachrichim dressing demonstration, health and safety precautions, and an extensive question and answer session
    • Monday morning funeral home “back of the house” tour and analysis, assessing taharah and shmira spaces and facilities available for Chevrah Kadisha use

Standard Pricing Arrangements

Kavod v’Nichum has a set of standard pricing arrangements for trainings. These prices can be adjusted according to each community’s ability to pay.

  • Full weekend of training – from Friday evening through Monday at noon – $3000 honorarium plus expenses
  • Single day of training – $2,000 honorarium plus expenses

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Scheduling a Training

To arrange for a training or other educational event in your community, please contact David Zinner, the Executive Director of Kavod v’Nichum, at info@jewish-funerals.org, or 410-733-3700.

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