KHN Chevra Kaddisha and the Shiva Alliance
When you Experience a Death in the Family…
1) Please contact the Executive Director at 206.850.9583 and she will connect you with the support Rabbi and the Chevra Kadisha. Please discuss with the rabbi 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). In normal circumstances, the rabbi will call the head of Kol HaNeshamah’s Chevra Kaddisha (The Holy Burial Society), who will help arrange for the taharah.
Please note, during the COVID pandemic, traditional taharah is not being performed in the Puget Sound region. Members of the Chevra Kaddisha can talk with you about adaptations to the taharah ritual that are suitable during the pandemic.
The KHN’s Chevra Kaddisha burial society has women trained in taharah. And can provide taharah for anyone who for whom it is acceptable for women to provide taharah. For others, the Chevra Kaddisha works within its extensive network, including the Seattle Jewish Chapel, to arrange for taharah. We hope in the near future to be able to train KHN members of all genders to provide this ritual.
2) You will have to decide which cemetery you will use: Kol HaNeshamah has our own Jewish cemetery section, Neve Zikaron, in Tukwila. Or you may choose 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
The Burial Society is one of the many opportunities for an engaged Jewish practice at KHN, please let us know if you would like to be involved in working with other members on any of these plans in development:
- Training for taharah for KHN members of all genders;
- 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