When you Experience a Death in the Family…
1) Call the rabbi: Please call Rabbi Zari immediately at her home office (206) 524-9274 or on her cell phone:(206) 931-3528. Please discuss with her your thoughts about the timing for the funeral before you set the date with the funeral home or cemetery. She will guide you through the steps of contacting the funeral home, cemetery, and deciding if you would like to arrange for a taharah (ritual washing of the body in preparation for burial). The rabbi will then call the head of Kol HaNeshamah’s Chevra Kaddisha (The Holy Burial Society), who will help arrange for the taharah. At the current time, KHN’s Chevra Kaddisha can only provide taharah for women; for men, we are working with the Seattle Jewish Chapel. We hope in the near future to be able to train men so that we can offer this to men as well.
2) You will have to decide which cemetery you will use: Kol HaNeshamah’s newly established cemetery, Neve Zikaron and its funeral home, Yarrington’s (in Tukwila), or another cemetery and funeral home. The rabbi can provide you with names and contact information.
3) The rabbi will set up a time to meet with you and your family, to discuss your wishes for the funeral service.She will also ask you if you would like to have a shivah minyan or other memorial gathering at your home following the burial. Once she knows if there will be shivah minyanim, she will send out a message to the community, notifying them of the death (she will include an rsvp: email@example.com. She will also contact the head of Abraham and Sarah’s kitchen, who will help arrange for meals to be delivered to your house following the burial, if you would like, and learn of any special dietary needs.
4) Future plans (please let us know if you would like to be involved in any of these):
Training for taharah for both men and women
Training lay leaders for service leadership
Creation of a booklet for members of the congregation
Creation of a booklet with relevant legal information
Workshop: Preparations (using the URJ published book: Prepare to Die, by Richard Address)
More information is available in Planning for Death