Recommended Resources

We list here some insightful resources. These are all profound works whose publication has been a substantial contribution to the field. These are but a few of the many resources available today.

 

Websites about Jewish Death-Related Customs and Rituals

Sefaria: Jewish texts in Hebrew, transliteration, and translation

https://www.sefaria.org/texts
This site presents traditional Jewish text sources online. Accuracy and quality are both high.

JADE: Jewish Association for Death Education

https://jadeinfo.org/
This organization is fairly new, and supports education around Jewish death practices for communities, families facing death, and for those who support the community – funeral directors, hospice workers, chaplains, etc. (In addition to educational programming, they are implementing a new tool to give succinct high-quality information about Jewish practices at the end of life. When the tool is available, we’ll link to it here.)

Jewish Sacred Aging

https://jewishsacredaging.com/
A forum for the Jewish community with resources and texts that feature discussions on the implications of the revolution in longevity for baby boomers and their families. Rabbi Richard Address creates the Seekers of Meaning podcast here to explore all aspects of aging and dying.

Plaza Jewish Community Chapel in NYC

https://www.plazajewishcommunitychapel.org/exit-strategy/
Their Exit Strategy podcast focuses on end-of-life issues in the Jewish world in which Stephanie Garry and her guests explore elevating, normalizing, and demystifying end-of-life issues from religious, cultural, societal, and other perspectives.

The Shomer Collective

https://www.shomercollective.org/
Shomer Collective brings together the existing and emerging initiatives within and adjacent to Jewish communities, and it applies Jewish wisdom to the question of how we want to live as we all approach the end of life. They sponsor many engaging events, and quality has been high.

Kavod v’Nichum: Honor and Comfort

https://kavodvnichum.org/
This organization has been offering quality education and conferences for over 20 years. In 2022-2023 there was a large change in personnel, so their programming is changing. Their focus is almost exclusively on Chevrah Kadisha leadership training and education. Accuracy and quality have been high in the past.

My Jewish Learning: Many Short Articles on Jewish Life

https://www.myjewishlearning.com/category/mourn/end-of-life/
This website offers short articles on many aspects of Jewish life. Their death-related articles are mostly about mourning and grief, with a selection of varied topics to choose from. The accuracy and quality of their articles seems to vary depending on topic and author. Most do not go deeply into these topics, but give overview information.


Artwork Related to Jewish Death Rituals

Art of the Chevrah Kadisha: Artwork by Karen Benioff Friedman

https://www.karenbeniofffriedman.com/
This site presents artwork by Karen Benioff Friedman, presented through paintings and drawings of Jewish rituals of death and mourning. Accuracy and quality are both high.

Verses Illuminated: Artwork by Rabbi Me’irah Iliinsky

https://www.versesilluminated.com/
This site presents artwork and books by Rabbi Me’irah Iliinsky. Her art often includes the spiritual aspects of end-of-life rituals and experiences. Accuracy and quality are both high.

Placards from Prague: Paintings Documenting the Chevrah Kadisha Gomle Chasadim

https://benzakkai.org/wp-content/uploads/Prague-CK-Paintings-Posters.pdf
This PDF displays the full scope of Chevrah Kadisha activities in Prague, painted in 1772. These include 19 high-quality paintings of the activities involved in caring for the dead.

Historical Timeline of Jewish Death Practices in Context with World Events

https://benzakkai.org/wp-content/uploads/Chevrah-Kadisha-Historical-Timeline-v19.pdf
This PDF displays a chart showing historical events in Jewish history related to our death practices in context with world events throughout the centuries.


Recommended Books
Books are listed here in alphabetical order by author last name. Click on a title to learn more.

 

Anne Brener – Mourning and Mitzvah

Brener, Anne, Mourning and Mitzvah: A Guided Journal for Walking the Mourner’s Path Through Grief to Healing, Jewish Lights Publishing, 2001.

Anita Diamant – Saying Kaddish

Diamant, Anita, Saying Kaddish: How to Comfort the Dying, Bury the Dead, and Mourn as a Jew, Schocken, 1999.

Noach Dzmura – Balancing on the Mechitza

Dzmura, Noach, Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community, North Atlantic Books, 2010.

Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman – Jewish Pastoral Care

Friedman, Rabbi Dayle A., Jewish Pastoral Care: A Practical Handbook From Traditional and Contemporary Sources, Jewish Lights Publishing, 2005.

Rabbi Mel Glazer – When Death Visits a Jewish Home

Glazer, Rabbi Mel, When Death Visits a Jewish Home: 99 Actions for Mourners, 2nd Edition, KDP Independent Publishing Platform, 2023.

Sylvie-Anne Goldberg – Crossing the Jabbok

Goldberg, Sylvie-Anne, Crossing the Jabbok: Illness and Death in Askenazi Judaism in Sixteenth- through Nineteenth-Century Prague (Contraversions: Critical Studies in Jewish Literature, Culture, and Society, 3), University of California Press, 1997.

Arnold M. Goodman – A Plain Pine Box

Goodman, Arnold M., A Plain Pine Box: A Return to Simple Jewish Funerals and Eternal Traditions, Ktav Publishing House, 2003.

Rabbi Me’irah Iliinsky – Mapping the Journey

Iliinsky, Rabbi Me’irah, Mapping the Journey: The Mourner & the Soul, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018.

Rabbi Stuart Kelman and Dan Fendel – Chesed Shel Emet

Kelman, Rabbi Stuart, and Fendel, Dan, Chesed Shel Emet: The Truest Act of Kindness, Exploring the Meaning of Taharah, EKS Publishing, 2013.

Rabbi Stuart Kelman, Dan Fendel, and Rabbi Jason Weiner – Nihum Aveilim

Kelman, Rabbi Stuart, Fendel, Dan, with Weiner,
Rabbi Jason, Nihum Aveilim: A Guide for the Comforter, EKS Publishing, 2015.

Maurice Lamm – The Jewish Way in
Death and Mourning

Lamm, Maurice, The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning (Revised and Expanded Edition),
Jonathan David Publishers, 2000.

Richard A. Light – Jewish Rites of Death

Light, Richard A., Jewish Rites of Death: Stories of Beauty and Transformation, Terra Nova Books, 2016.

Richard A. Light – To Midwife a Soul

Light, Richard A., To Midwife a Soul: Guidelines
for Performing Taharah
, 6th Edition, KDP Independent Publishing Platform, 2020.

Rabbi Jack Riemer and Nathaniel
Stampfer – Ethical Wills

Riemer, Rabbi Jack, and Stampfer, Nathaniel,
Ethical Wills and How to Prepare Them, Jewish Lights Publishing, 1994.

Dr. Ron Wolfson and Rabbi David J. Wolpe – A Time to Mourn, a Time to Comfort

Wolfson, Dr. Ron, and Wolpe, Rabbi David J., A Time to Mourn, a Time to Comfort: A Guide to Jewish Bereavement (The Art of Jewish Living), Jewish Lights Publishing, 2005.