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End of Life

There are stars up above,
so far away we only see their light
long, long after the star itself is gone.
And so it is with people that we loved —
their memories keep shining ever brightly
though their time with us is done.
But the stars that light up the darkest night,
these are the lights that guide us.
As we live our days, these are the ways to remember.

— Hannah Senesh, Mishkan T'filah

We Are Here to Support You

Our clergy often meets with congregants who are battling illness, mourning the loss of a loved one, or seeking guidance with planning for end of life issues. Judaism offers a rich tradition of rituals and customs that guide us throughout this painful and difficult process. Our Chevra Kadisha (our burial society comprised of lay leaders) along with our clergy, offer end-of-life support and rituals including tahara (ritual washing of the body) and shmira (the guarding of the body) .

We have developed the following guide to help support you and your family through the rituals surrounding death, burial, mourning and grief. Please know that we are here to support you during this time. We hope these suggestions can serve as points of entry into important conversations with your loved ones. 

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

Our heartfelt thanks go out to all of the members of the Chevra Kadisha who worked tirelessly to create this very important resource for the Rodef Sholom community. Learn more about our Chevra Kadisha and all they provide:

Chevra Kadisha

Burial Options

Sha'arei Shalom Cemetery is located high on a knoll in San Rafael, surrounded by softly rolling hills. Its lovely setting offers magnificent views of the Bay and Mt. Tamalpais. It is truly an ideal choice for those who love natural beauty.

Learn more About Sha'arei Shalom Cemetery

Gan Yarok: America’s First Green Jewish Cemetery
After nearly years of planning by a consortium of San Francisco Bay Area Jewish congregations, Fernwood’s Gan Yarok cemetery (meaning green garden) was consecrated in 2010.

Learn more about Gan Yarok

The Mourner's Kaddish
Yitgadal v'yitkadash sh'mei raba.
B'alma di v'ra chirutei, v'yamlich malchutei, b'chayeichon uv'yomeichon
uv'chayei d'chol beit Yisrael, baagala uviz'man kariv. V'im'ru: Amen.
Y'hei sh'mei raba m'varach
l'alam ul'almei almaya.
Yitbarach v'yishtabach v'yitpaar
v'yitromam v'yitnasei,
v'yit'hadar v'yitaleh v'yit'halal
sh'mei d'Kud'sha B'rich Hu,
l'eila min kol birchata v'shirata,
tushb'chata v'nechemata,
daamiran b'alma. V'imru: Amen.
Y'hei sh'lama raba min sh'maya,
v'chayim aleinu v'al kol Yisrael.
V'imru: Amen.
Oseh shalom bimromav,
Hu yaaseh shalom aleinu,
v'al kol Yisrael. V'imru: Amen

Exalted and hallowed be God's great name in the world which God created, according to plan.  May God's majesty be revealed in the days of our lifetime and the life of all Israel - speedily, imminently, to which we say Amen.

Blessed be God's great name to all eternity.

Blessed, praised, honored, exalted, extolled, glorified, adored, and lauded be the name of the Holy Blessed One, beyond all earthly words and songs of blessing, praise, and comfort. To which we say Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and all Israel.
to which we say Amen.

May the One who creates harmony on high, bring peace to us and to all Israel.
To which we say Amen.

Tue, May 28 2024 20 Iyar 5784