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Hanging Gently on Tradition: Retaining authentic Jewish funeral practices even in the most secular of circumstances

April 18, 2018 | 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm


How do we negotiate a path to lasting peace for our Jewish loved ones in today’s world of multi-cultural families and medical-model death? Rabbi Avivah Erlick and Rabbi Janet Madden, healthcare chaplains from intermarried families, each lost their fathers in the past year. In each case, their ability to honor Jewish tradition was challenged by circumstances, differing family priorities, and their fathers’ own last wishes.

In this presentation, we aim to show how Jewish funerary requirements can be met with thought and creativity, even as the contemporary American approach unfolds. We have sought to hold this space through creating:

* A gentle final time for dying, despite hospitalization and aggressive medical intervention

* A truly Jewish funeral, and ceremonial preparations for it (taharah), even when families are wary of traditional disposition

* A feeling of support in community for the bereaved, even when funerals and shiva are cancelled or delayed

Attendees will receive lists of the obligatory components of Judaism’s end-of-life rituals, and a sampling of ritual objects needed to hold to authentic Jewish practice, as a starting place for their own creativity.

Program Details

Date: April 18, 2018
Time: 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm