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Chevra Kadisha: Caring for our Community

"When I reach out to you and you to me, we become b'tzelem Elohim (the image of God)."
-Dan Nichols, Jewish rock musician and Rodef Sholom's artist-in-residence

Traditionally, the term chevra kadisha has been used to refer to a Jewish burial society; at Congregation Rodef Sholom, we use it in its literal sense, that of a holy society, and the volunteer members of our Chevra Kadisha engage in all of the following sacred work. Through Chevra Kadisha, we take care of our community in their time of greatest need; in turn, we rely on our tremendous volunteers to make this possible.

Bikkur Cholim – Visiting our sick
Matches are made by clergy and then members of our Chevra Kadisha are asked to visit with congregants in their home or in the hospital as needed and to update clergy with any pertinent information. 

Nichum – “Comfort” in Hebrew
Our Nichum program organizes congregants to support each other with meals, phone calls and cards in difficult times and times of celebration. Our monthly Nichum Captains help to facilitate this and work closely with Moji.

Nichum Aveilim – Comforting the mourner
Chevra Kadisha members are asked to call those in mourning every Friday during shloshim (the first 30 days after a death), every month for the first 11 months, and then on the yahrzeit (one year anniversary) of their loved one’s death.

We also offer a Weekly Kaddish Minyan on Wednesday mornings at 9:00 am over ZOOM
Each Wednesday morning our community gathers to say healing prayers for those in need and Kaddish for those in mourning. It's a mitzvah to show up and "make a minyan" of ten people to support those saying the mourner's kaddish. It helps members of our community feel your love and support. Please join in to "make a minyan"!

Tahara – Purification
Our specially-trained Tahara team ritually washes and prepares bodies for burial. The idea is that just as a baby is washed and enters the world clean and pure, so should we leave the world in a pure state. Our Tahara team is always looking for more to take on this holy task. If interested in this holy mitzvah, please email Monique Epstein.

Shomrim – Guardians
Chevra Kadisha members do shmira, staying with the coffin before burial in the hours and days before burial. Traditionally, shomrim read psalms and other sacred texts of comfort during this time.  Please contact Rachel Mercer for more information or to assist.

Shiva Minyan Leaders
Chevra Kadisha members are trained by clergy to lead shiva minyans in the homes of families in mourning.

Azkarah (“remembrance”) Captains
The monthly captains work with clergy to identify and ask congregants to share a brief story about their loved one at Shabbat services on their loved one’s yahrzeit.

Supportive Handbook

The Chevra Kadisha and clergy of Rodef Sholom have prepared a handbook to help support you and your family through the rituals surrounding death, burial, mourning and grief. 

A Jewish Guide to End-of-Life: Sacred Choices and Rituals

Become Involved

To become involved in any of the  Chevra Kadisha programs above, or if you know of someone who could use a little extra love, please email Moji Javid, Director of Synagogue Engagement, at or by phone at 415.479.3441.

Tue, May 28 2024 20 Iyar 5784