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Taharah (Preparation for Burial)

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Taharah (Preparation for Burial): (lit. “purification”); ritual washing and dressing of the deceased in preparation for burial
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n the midst of all the horrific headlines and news that Jews worldwide anxiously scanned as the Mumbai tragedy unfolded, a name kept appearing: ZAKA. Who are they? What were they doing on the front lines of this critical mission?
Jewish Burial
One of the most important elements of a proper Jewish burial is the Taharah; preparing the body for its final rest by the Chevra Kaddisha or Jewish Burial Society.
We were a group of five women, eager to fulfill this mitzvah. This was my first time and I was a tad anxious. But this was something I had wanted to volunteer for, so I came with a positive attitude.
Preparing the Body for Burial
Tachrichim: Shrouds and Dressing... The Aron: Traditional Casket...
The Taharah (Purification)... Dressing the Body... The Casket... Earth from the Holy Land... Flowers...
She was so beautiful as she lay there on her back, perfectly still. I cradled her head in my arms as we washed her face. Her skin was smooth and her limbs remarkably flexible . . .
The recent spike in deaths caused an unprecedented rise in their holy work
When the coronavirus pandemic spiked in California last month, it brought unprecedented numbers of the deceased to local mortuaries. Yet despite a staffing shortage—also due to the pandemic—the members of the local chevra kadisha (Jewish burial society) h...
As I rounded the corner on 50, mortality wasn’t a far-off abstract notion that had little to do with me. My mom was struggling with dementia and decline. I had lost some close friends. So when my friend Tamar asked if I might be willing to try this practi...
It is considered a sacred duty and a great kindness to be a part of the Chevra Kadisha, and it is an honor to be included in this group of dedicated volunteers.
The sanctity of the human body after death
One Sunday when I lived in Vilnius, Lithuania, the Chabad rabbi in the city, Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky and I visited the ancient city’s Jewish cemetery to perform a taharah—the ritual washing and cleansing of the deceased. Boris (or Ber, as he had been nam...
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