Connecting Interfaith Families to Jewish Life in Greater Cleveland by providing programs and opportunities for interfaith families to experience Judaism in a variety of venues, meet other interfaith families, and to connect to other Jewish organizations that may serve their needs.
A great way for Jewish professionals and volunteers who work with and provide programming for people in interfaith relationships to locate resources and trainings to build more welcome into their Jewish communities; connect with and learn from each other; and publicize and enhance their programs and services.
How can we bring the power of ultimate kindness to this broken world? For centuries, every Jewish community maintained a Hevra Kadisha—literally, a “Sacred Fellowship”—whose members care for the bodies of the dead and serve as vigil-keepers until burial. Just as those who are born among us are gently washed, swaddled and watched over around the clock, we can repair the circle of life by offering the same skilled and loving care to those who die among us, taming our own fears of death in the process.
This weeklong program will provide a spiritual and practical grounding in the powerful sacred traditions of honoring the dead—practices that uplift and enrich the lives of those who serve, and strengthen the bonds of human connection across generations. Offered as both a primer for beginners and a refresher for more experienced Hevra Kadisha members, this course is appropriate for clergy and laypeople alike. Through experiential exercises, sacred text study, and hands-on training in a supportive environment, participants will learn:
• The core practices of the Hevra Kadisha, including sh’mirah (vigil-keeping) and taharah (ritual purification), and the range of customs that have developed over time and distance.
• Traditional Jewish afterlife beliefs, and their implications for how we treat the dead today.
• The work of the burial fellowship as hesed shel emet (ultimate kindness), and effective strategies for education and organizing in participants’ home communities.
• Accessible melodies, chants and songs for honoring the connections between the living and the dead, and for deepening mindfulness of the precious gift of life during happier times.