Kavod v’Nichum and Gamliel Institute News
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Latest News
Emotional and Spiritual Strength – Discussion begins Monday April 6th
Like all of us, I too am saddened that we will not be able to perform the holy work of the CK doing our taharas during this pandemic. I am inspired to hear the creative thinking that we are presenting so that we can still honor the met in new and creative ways.
Yet there is an aspect of this new normal that we have not been addressing. Along with our physical safety needs of having social distancing, food in the house, transferring our work to be at home and online, etc, there are the emotional and spiritual aspects of this pandemic that are hardly being addressed.
If the predictions pan out, we will not hit the peak of this illness for several weeks or months from now. At some point, there is the probability of great suffering coming to all of our communities—suffering frankly that could be unfathomable with multiple deaths in each synagogue. Today i heard on the news that the government is hoping for 250,000 deaths as good news. Likely it will be well over a million people or more people dying across the country. This is sobering and cause for alarm for all the very poignant needs these families will be longing for. Therefore, it would be prudent to have us prepare to be a source of strength in the coming months so others can lean on our leadership at this badly needed time. As members of the Chevrah Kadisha we are leaders in the field of death and dying. And it seems clear that the time is coming for us to not only focus our work on performing sacred acts for the met but also on sacred acts of caring for our grieving communities.
Here is a link to an article about this issue and on Monday, April 6th, I will be talking more about how we each can be present for this coming challenge. (Click here for more info on the Monday night live Zoom sessions.)
Sending blessings to all for health and safety,
Central Page of Coronavirus Information
For information about health and safety in the taharah room, new alternative taharah rituals, questions and answers regarding taharah and Coronavirus, view the recording of the recent webinar with a panel of experts, lists of articles including infection control, and more, visit our central “Coronavirus and Jewish Death Practices” page. Join live Question and Answer sessions, weekly. Information on this page is updated daily.
2020-2021 Gamliel Institute Courses
The Institute is excited to share our 2020-2021 schedule of events, see the online Catalog of Courses for details:
- one-, two-, and three-session Taste of Gamliel Short Courses
- 12-week Gamliel Institute Core Curriculum Courses
Upcoming Taste of Gamliel Short Courses
To view recordings of past Taste of Gamliel Short Courses, please contact our Registrar (J.Blair@Jewish-Funerals.org), or simply register for the course (even though it has already happened), and you will be emailed the link to the recording. Our next short courses are as follows:
April 12, 2020, Alden Solovy – Special Class Dedicated to the Pandemic
Prayer as Deepest Desire: Writing in the Time of Pandemic
Sunday, 11:30am Eastern / 8:30am Pacific (special 90-minute session)
Course fee is $36 – Click here to register.
Alden continues his amazing course on writing prayer, understanding how to write, and creating new liturgy, this time focusing on the current challenging times and the opportunities we have for creative writing.
April 22, 2020, Rabbi Dayle Friedman – Register Now!
Grit and Grace: Meeting the Spiritual Challenges of Aging
Wednesday, 8:00pm Eastern / 5:00pm Pacific (one 90-minute session)
Course fee is $36 – Click here to register.
The path beyond midlife presents both spiritual challenges and opportunities. We will explore a Jewish spiritual framework for mapping this journey. We will investigate practices and habits that can maximize resiliency and wisdom, as well as implications for spiritual caregivers.
April 29 and May 6, 2020, Rabbi T’mimah Ickovits
Seven Sacred Circles: Cultivating the Divine Feminine
Wednesdays, 8:00pm Eastern / 5:00pm Pacific (two 90-minute classes)
Course fee is $72 – Click here to register.
The circle has no end and no beginning, no leaders nor followers. It models equality and inclusivity. Every point has a moment to shine – similar to the way the constellations of the Zodiac each get to lead for a portion of the year, everyone gets a turn. We will explore the relevance of seven hakafot; circles referencing Kabbalah’s tree of life, spiritual poetry of the Ana B’khoah, and Sefer Ma’avar Yabok. You will develop a deeper understanding of the potency of hakafot; circuit dancers and tools to support honoring the sacredness of each of the seven cycles. The first session we will consider and experience the sacred seven and circuits in Jewish practice. The second session will focus on the seven sacred circles around a meit or meitah from Sefer Ma’avar Yabok.
Upcoming Core Curriculum Courses
- Course 2: Chevrah Kadisha: Taharah and Shmirah April 21 through July 14, 2020 (Register Now! Deadline April 5th)
The 2020 Chevrah Kadisha Conference – Registration is Open!
The 18th Annual Chevrah Kadisha and Jewish Cemetery Conference is scheduled for June 7-10, 2020, originally planned to be held at Rodef Shalom Congregation in Pittsburgh, PA. Note that the conference might be online this year instead of in-person. Find out the latest plans: click here.
Conference Registration is open, and completely refundable through May 15th.
Recent Articles of Interest
Articles about the pandemic are not included here, but links to articles are listed on our Coronavirus and Jewish Death Practices page.
- Poem about pandemics, March 11, 2020 – Poem by Lynn Ungar
- Join the fight against hatred and antisemitism, take action in support of those killed this past year, including 11 Jews in Pittsburgh. – 11 Actions for 11 Lives
- Reform Judaism, July 17, 2019 – How and Why I Sit with the Deceased Before Burial
- Tablet Magazine, July 16, 2019 – Lessons for Living from the Burial Society
- OZY, June 27, 2019 – Why the Coffin Industry is Dying for Disruption
- Rabbinical Assembly, March 26, 2019 – Resolution on Chevrah Kadisha
Online Videos Related to Jewish Death Practices
- A list of BimBam animated videos related to Jewish death rituals and traditions now on YouTube
- “Living Jewishly Means Dying Jewishly Too” ELI Talk by Michael Slater
- “A Good End” Podcast from My Jewish Learning
- Jewish Sacred Aging podcast interviews with David Zinner: March 17, 2017, August 1, 2014 (part II), July 21, 2014 (part I)
Find Us on Social Media
- Expired and Inspired Blog
- Chevrah Kadisha FaceBook Page
- Kavod v’Nichum Twitter
- Kavod v’Nichum Instagram