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COVID19- Maui Chevra Kadisha

Mourning Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The JCM community joins the country in mourning 

Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Yita Ruchel bat Tzirel Leah v Nathan

The Maui Chevra Kadisha and the Hawaii Interisland Chevra Kadisha are taking part in a nationwide Virtual Shmirah* in her honor  organized by the Kavod v' Nichum organization.

Shmira for RBG....Please sign up:


Light a candle, sing, pray... keep sacred space for her .. each spot is 1/2 hour . you would do this in your own home , at the appointed time in your own way ... to guard her soul.  One great thing about going virtual is we can be in different time zones and when one zone is sleeping another can take over and keep the guarding activated!


*Shmira is the ritual guarding of the person’s body. In some ways it can be likened to an honor guard. Shmira is traditionally done from the time of death until burial. In some communities shmira is not started until after the tahara.



The Gamliel Institute Presents….

Guided Study & Discussions
  • Coronavirus Concerns, Mondays, June 29 - September 14, 2020: Led by David Zinner and Nicky Silver. 8:00pm EDT, 5:00pm PDT; 90 minutes per class. $36 for the series. Register here. 12-week mini-series focusing on the spiritual, emotional and physical impacts of the Coronavirus on Chevrah Kadisha work.
  • Ma'avar Yabbok Study Group, Thursdays, July 9 - September 17, 2020: Facilitated by Rabbi Steven Moss. 1:00pm EDT, 10:00am PDT; 90 minutes per class. $36 for the series. Register here. 11-week Ma'avar Yabbok text study group to discuss and learn together.

Taste of Gamliel – Short Courses
  • Death with Dignity, Thursdays, July 16 and 23, 2020: Rabbi Elliot Dorff; 8:00pm EDT, 5:00pm PDT; 90 minutes per class. $72. Register here. Rabbi Dorff will discuss the new tshuvah he authored for the Conservative Movement that considers the ethical and halachic implications of medical aid in dying. Medically assisted death is a practice in which a terminally ill adult with less than six months to live who feels that the dying process has become unbearable may request a lethal dose of drugs from their doctor for self-administration to bring about death.
  • Understanding Gender and Taharah, Sundays, July 19 and August 16, 2020; Emily Fishman and Rabbi Becky Silverstein; 8:00 pm EDT, 5:00 pm PDT, 90 minutes per class. Free. Register here. Including trans haveirim and meitim in taharah ritual and liturgy led by two people who worked on the Boston Community Hevra Kadisha’s Gender Task Force. July 19th: Understanding Gender Equality in Taharah Today. August 16th: The Challenge of Implementing Gender Equality. Funding for this series provided by Hadar and the Schusterman Family Foundation.
  • Jewish Sacred Aging, Wednesdays, August 5 and 12, 2020; Rabbi Richard Address; 8:00pm EDT, 5:00pm PDT; 90 minutes per class. $72. Register here.The longevity revolution has produced major changes in our Jewish community. We are older, more active and more eager to engage the tradition. We will examine some of the texts that form a spiritual foundation for positive aging in this new frontier and then examine some of the more powerful new rituals and prayers that are being created to respond to the new life stages that have emerged as a result of our longevity.
Gamliel Institute - Core Course
  • Course 1: Chevrah Kadisha: Origins and Evolution , September 1 through November 17, 2020 Tuesdays, 8:00pm EDT,  5:00pm PDT, 90 minutes per class. Register here. This course traces the evolution of Chevrah Kadisha practice and the chevrah’s role in the community from early times, through the standard of practice in Medieval Europe, and into the changes that took place in the transition to the Western Hemisphere and modern times. Each topic in this course is enhanced by text study related to the specific time period being discussed.

Maui Chevra Kadisha  

Care, Comfort, Compassion, Community

“All that we have done is for your honor. And if we have not done our task properly, we beg your forgiveness.”

Chevra Kadisha (“Sacred Society”) is the traditional organization in a Jewish community that supports and assists families at the end of life and after, providing a continuum of care to the dying and those in mourning. The Maui Chevra Kadisha is made up of trained volunteers to provide K'vod v'Nichum (honor and comfort) including support for preparation of affairs, Shmira (watching over the deceased), Tahara (ritual purification),  and Levaya (accompanying to the grave). 

The Jewish Congregation of Maui owns and maintains the Jewish cemetery on Maui.

If you have any questions about Jewish end-of-life practices or if we may assist and support you and your family, please contact the Maui Chevra Kadisha at or the JCM office at 808-874-5397. 

Living Jewishly Means Dying Jewishly, Too

Jewish Practices for End-of-Life and Remembrance


Vidui—Confessional prayer 

Goses (m) or Gosesset (f)—Actively dying person (within 72 hours) 

From Guf to Meit/Meitah—From living body to deceased raiment 

K’vod Ha Meit—Respect for the body of the Deceased (commences at the moment of death) 

Neshamah—Level of Soul transcending death 

Niftar—Deceased Person (see also patar “exempt”) 

Aninut—Period between death and burial 

Baruch Dayan HaEmet—“Blessed is the True Judge” said upon hearing of a passing 

Onen—Bereaved person before burial (becomes Aveil, pl. Aveilim at burial) 

Kriyah—Rending of clothing or symbolic ribbon by Bereaved (at time of death or during funeral) 

Shmira—Watching over the Deceased (Shomer—one who guards) 

Taharah—Ceremony of purification of Meit/Meitah and dressing in ritual attire 

Levayah—Escorting/accompanying the Meit/Meitah to the grave 

Hesped/El Malei Rachamim—Eulogy and prayer for elevation of the Soul 

Kaddish Yatom—“Mourner’s” Kaddish; first recited at interment 

Aveil (pl. Aveilim) —Bereaved person after burial (Aveilut—State of being: bereavement) 

Se’udat havra’ah—Meal of consolation 

Ha Makom y’nachem—Blessing said by those offering comfort 

Shiva—7 day period beginning at time of burial 

“Get up” walk on 7th day 

Sheloshim—First 30 days (day of burial is first day) 

Aveilut—Prescribed period of mourning (for parents 11 months; for others 30 days) 


Yahrzeit—Anniversary of death 

Yizkor—Prayers of remembrance (Kaddish YaTom, El Malei Rachamim), said on Yom Kippur; Sukkot; Passover; Shavuot

reprinted with permission from Holly Blue Hawkins,


Chevra Kadisha Maui Brochure, Click Here.

To learn how to create an Ethical Will, click here.   with permission from Rabbi Richard F. Address

For the "A Time to Prepare" workbook, click here.  with permission from Rabbi Richard F. Address

To read "A Letter to the Taharah Team" from,  click here

To see some interesting historical paintings of Jewish funeral practices, click here.

For information on related course offerings at the Gamliel Institute, click here.

To read "Holy Friends- The Jewish Way of Death" by Holly Blue Hawkins, click here.

Jewish Final Wishes Worksheet. (with permission by Aviva Erlick), Click Here. 

"The Divine Image From the Inside Out" by Holly Blue Hawkins, Click Here.

The Maui Chevra Kadisha is currently offering Tahara Ruchanit, Click Here for description.



Permission to post from Rabbi Me'irah Iliinsky

Serve on the Maui Chevra Kadisha

If you are interested in serving in the Maui Chevra Kadisha,  contact us or sign up here.

Sat, February 27 2021 15 Adar 5781