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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 Chevrah 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.

We will encourage and assist the organization of bereavement committees and Chevrei Kadisha 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 will provide information, education and technical assistance that will help bring these important life cycle events back into the synagogue.

More information on Kavod v’Nichum.