Hevra Kadisha–Holy Society
The purpose of a Hevra Kadisha (Holy Society) is to honor the dead and to comfort the bereaved. As the sadness of death often leaves families feeling bewildered and alone, Hevra members offer information, assistance and friendship. The Beth El Hevra can assist in a variety of ways commencing at the time of death and continuing through the shiva week (the week of mourning). The family and the Hevra can discuss the family’s wishes and needs, and the Hevra will offer its help and support. The Hevra will notify the congregation of the member’s loss of a loved one, attend the funeral service when held at Beth El, offer general assistance to the funeral director, and facilitate arrangements with close friends for the mourners meal following the funeral service. At Beth El, we provide leaders for the shiva service, which is conducted with the help of our own prayer book, Limnot Yamaynu (To Number Our Days).
In addition, the Hevra Kadisha offers biennial Ethical Will writing workshops and sponsors speakers on the subject of death and mourning.
“Today I went to a funeral for a friend who died young. He was a lovely human being. As sad as I am, I am consoled (as was his heart-broken family) by the power of ritual and community to speak truth and give honor to a life well-lived, to weep, to accompany him to the grave, and now to carry on loving life in his memory.”
For more information, see What To Do When Death Comes: A Guide to Beth El Families