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When Someone Dies

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no harm, for You are with me. (23rd Psalm)

A synagogue is a place where we often share the great moments of our lives in the context of tradition. At no time is this more important than when one of our CBI family experiences a death. Dedicated congregational members and staff are ready to help you as you grieve your loved one’s passing. In so doing, we hope that you, too, might someday identify with the journey of the Psalmist who was able to say, “You (G-d) turned my mourning into dancing. You changed my sack cloth into robes of joy.” (Psalm 30)

Death and Mourning:

Caregivers - We are here to support you and have people who can visit with you and your loved one, provide a meal or perhaps other help.  Click for Chesed committee, for bikkur holim, for appointment with Rabbi, click for meal train.  Click on a piece from me on how to “be” with someone who is dying, highlighting  rituals, texts, Psalms to recite.  

In the moment of loss - Our community will be your companion when your loved one dies.  When death occurs, despite the shock, you will be asked to make a number of immediate decisions. We can guide you to people who will help you arrange a funeral, burial, and what you need for shiva.  Click on arranging a funeral (info about Ascher Zimmerman and our chevra kaddisha), click on arranging burial (Scott Barton’s number), needs for Shiva (meal train info).  This section, after a click, could have a short explanation of how the whole process works - from calling the funeral home, to reserving a plot, to describing how Shiva works.  Other information to provide: shiva minyanim, what to think about, what to ask for.  A small piece about tahara.

According to Jewish tradition, the burial takes place as soon as possible after death. The family will want to meet with the funeral director to select a plot (if not pre-arranged), an Aron (a casket) and to make any other necessary arrangements. Our rabbis will determine with you the time of the funeral in consultation with the funeral director. Funeral services are not held on Shabbat or major Jewish holidays.

The rabbi will visit with the family prior to the service to provide support, answer questions regarding Jewish Law, and provide any needed advice. Also at this time, the rabbi will gather information about the deceased from family members for the eulogy and help make preparations for Shiva (the seven-day period of mourning following burial).

If you plan for the burial to be in the Congregation B'nai Israel Cemetery and have not already purchased a cemetery plot please contact Rabbi Justin David or our CBI Cemetery Committee Chair, Scott Barton and Ron Ackerman.

Reintegrating after a loss - We are here to help you build your life after having lost someone you love.  Links to havurot, joining a minyan (Wednesday, Friday, Rosh Chodesh, and other places with daily minyanim (Ohel, Sons of Zion, JCA, Beth El)).  

***We should think about what and how we communicate with families in mourning.  When we’ve had to put our pets down, our vet sent us a condolence note, signed by the whole staff, that included a donation to the ASPCA - it was one of the sweetest, most loving things I had ever experienced from someone I didn’t really know :).

The first year - Many in our community have found comfort after the death of a loved one by reciting Kaddish during morning or evening minyan. By Jewish tradition, we say Kaddish for a parent for 11 months after a death and for a sibling, child or spouse, for one month. Mourning practices during the first 11 months after a loss are designed to help us experience nehama, the consolation that comes with ongoing connections to people, tradition, rituals and community. Whether you are familiar with the prayer or are new to minyan or even to Hebrew, you will find a welcoming group ready to greet and help you. Clicks to Shloshim, Kaddish, Yizkor

Finishing your year - formal mourning is considered to end after 11 months, and you might want to consider different ways to meaningfully mark this time and think about ways to cultivate memory in the future.  Clicks to marking the end of mourning ritually (aliyah, coming to a service), giving back to the community (sponsoring a kiddush), volunteering, Yahrzeit customs.

Fri, August 12 2022 15 Av 5782