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Home  »  Preliminary Conference Program – 2017

15th North American Chevrah Kadisha and Jewish Cemetery Conference

San Rafael (North of San Francisco), California

Preliminary Program


Text Study

Advanced Taharah

Spiritual Care

Community Funeral Home



Registration Opens

8:30 – 12:30

Informal Networking, Sharing, and Gan Yarok Cemetery Tour

Movie Showings And Book Sales Continuously Throughout The Conference

10:00 – 1:30


12:30 – 1:15

 Welcome and Introductions

(David Zinner, Kerry Swartz, Rabbi Stuart Kelman, Rodef Sholom Clergy)

1:15 – 2:30

Opening Plenary:  Views of the State of the Chevrah Kadisha Movement

(Harley Felstein, Stuart Kelman, Kerry Swartz, Rena Boroditsky, David Zinner, Kelly Sweet, Colin Joseph, Bette Webne, Susan Barnes)

2:30 – 2:45


2:45 – 3:45

Gender Separation in Taharah and Beyond – Metaharim and Meitim

(Rabbi Avivah Erlick, Rabbi Amy Eilberg, Lynn Greenhough)

Community Funeral Home Tour and Program

(Sam Salkin)

New Technology Helping Cemeteries Handle Data Records

(Jeff Doty)


3:45 – 4:00


4:00 – 5:00

The New Conservative Movement Teshuva On Transgender

(Rabbi Stuart Kelman)

Sharing Information about Managing Difficult Taharot

(Cathy Steirn, Eva Sax Bolder)

Mapping the Journey of the Soul and the Mourner

(Rabbi Me’irah Iliinsky)

Community Funeral Homes Continued

Process Of Negotiations On Acquiring Adjoining Property

(Steve Matles)


5:00 – 5:30

Networking and Processing

5:30 – 6:30


Mincha-Ma’ariv 6:00-6:30

6:30 – 8:45

Evening Program: Gamliel Institute

Honoring Rabbi Stuart Kelman

Text Study  and Appreciation with Music

8:45 – 10:00

Social Hour, Dessert, and Networking









Text Study

Advanced Taharah

Basic Taharah

Spiritual Care


7:00 – 8:30


Shacharit 7:00-7:45

8:30 – 9:30

Plenary:  Death with Dignity and Its Impact on Chevrah Kadisha and Cemetery

(Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan)

9:30 – 9:45


9:45 – 11:15

Jack Riemer Drashot

(Rabbi Joe Blair)

Infection Control in Taharah

(Dr. Michael Slater, Dan Dornberger)

Basic Taharah Demo

(Susan Barnes with Local CK)

Rehearsing Your

Own Death 

(Eva Sax Bolder, Sally Shannon, Nancy Dotti)

British Perspective On Identifying And Restoring Cemetery Sites and Green Burial

(Colin Joseph)

11:15 – 11:30


11:30 – 12:30


(Rabbi Stacy Friedman)

Modifying Taharah: Family Participation, Water, Ritual 

(Rabbi Avivah Erlick,

Holly Blue Hawkins)

Taharah Q & A

(Rena Boroditsky, Rick Light)

The Dinner Party, Mourner Support Groups

(Dara Kosberg,

Dr. Patrick Arbore)

Creating Returns On Your Perpetual Care Investments

(Charlie Meyers)

12:30 – 1:30


1:30 – 2:30

Plenary:  Conversation Project – Discussing End of Life Wishes in Your Congregation

(Rev Rosemary Lloyd)

2:30 – 2:45


2:45 – 4:15

Maavar Yabbok – Taharah and Shmirah Liturgy  

(T’mimah Ickovits)


Taharah Stories as Education

(Rick Light)

Conversation Project

(Rev Rosemary Lloyd,

David Zinner)

Site Utilization and Historic Cemetery Restoration

(Bill Pechet, Shirley Barnett)

4:15 – 4:30


4:30 – 5:30

Taharah Liturgy Text Study

(Rabbi Stuart Kelman)

Navigating Taharah Liturgy – a play

(Rabbi Me’irah Iliinsky)

Jewish Reincarnation: Fact or Fiction

(Rabbi Menachem Landa)

Cemetery Vandalism, Insurance, and Continuity

(Harley Felstein)

5:30 – 6:00

Networking and Processing

6:00 – 7:00



7:00 – 8:30

Evening Program:  A New Kind of Heroism

(Dr. Jessica Zitter)

8:30 – 8:45



8:45 – 9:45

Musical Program

(Cantors from Rodef Sholom: David Margules, Rabbi Elana Rosen-Brown)

Follow-on Discussion and Book Signing

(Dr. Jessica Zitter)

9:45 – 10:30

Social Hour and Networking





Text Study


Community Education


7:00 – 8:30



8:30 – 9:30

 Plenary Panel: Navigating Cremation’s Impact – practical & theoretical – Trends, Environment, Cemetery, Taharah, Halachic

(Harley Felstein, Rabbi Aubrey Glazer, Howard Janpolski, Rabbi Michael Lezak, Rabbi Menachem Creditor, Vickie Weitzenhofer)

9:30 – 9:45


9:45 – 10:45

Meit or Niftar:  The Power of Language

(Rabbi Stuart Kelman)

Reactions to Death Education Using Animation

(Jeremy Shuback)

Shmirah: Readings, Protocol, Organizing

(Cathy Steirn, Ruth Minka)

Bringing Home the Discussion

(Jean Berman,

 Dr. Dawn Gross)

Digital Yahrtzeit Candle

(Len Lawrence)

10:45 – 11:00



11:00 – 12:00

Spiritual Powers of Kaddish

 (Rabbi SaraLeya Schley)

Shuchan to Aron

(Beth Huppin)

Community Education Project

(Edna Stewart)

Additional Session TBD


12:00 – 12:30

Box Lunch and Goodbyes

1:00 – 4:15

Gan Shalom Cemetery Tour

(Advance Registration Required, Transportation Provided To Cemetery and at Conclusion to BART Station)