Chevra Kadisha

The term chevra kadisha or holy fellowship refers to the group tasked with preparing the bodies of Jews for burial, according to tradition, and protecting them from desecration until the time of burial.

This group is called upon to ensure the proper respect for the deceased is shown, and they carry out the ritual cleansing of the body and subsequent dressing for burial (Taharah).

This is considered a mitzvah worthy of high praise, since tending to the dead is a favour that the recipient cannot return - a favour without ulterior motives or a chesed shel emet, 'a good deed of truth'. This phrase comes from the Book of Genesis where Jacob asks his son Joseph, "do me a 'true' favour" and Joseph promises to bury his father in the Land of Israel.

JJBS has an up-to-date, fully-equipped facility for carrying out Taharah at Cheshunt and now has its own chevra kadisha, made up of volunteers from member synagogues, to prepare the bodies of those who have passed away. If you would be interested in learning more about this mitzvah please contact your synagogue administrator or the JJBS office (contact details below).