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Chevra Kadisha

Burial Society
Judaism's reverence for life is evident as much in the joyous as in the somber observances of life's cycles and anniversaries. Death is as sacred an event as birth. Temple Beth El offers guidance and spiritual strength through the efforts of our Chevra Kadisha Committee (Burial Society). When a loved one dies, a clergy person counsels the family to find the most meaningful form of observance for them.


When the family chooses the option of tahara (ritual purification), members of our Chevra Kadisha cleanse and dress the body and place it in the aron (coffin). The Pacific Gardens Chapel, owned by Gary Benito and Vince Azzaro, have graciously provided us with all we need to perform this sacred rite.


The tradition of tahara is centuries old and is currently seeing a resurgence in the Reform Movement, as each community develops its own burial society to suit the needs of its members. Honoring the body in this way is a profoundly shared experience. 

"Being a member of this group is the most profound part of my life as a Jew. The effect of moving through the prescribed ritual for preparing a beloved body for burial, wordlessly, simply, is difficult to describe. . ." LM

"It's a blessing, an honor, a gift, to be able to participate in the mitzvah of traditional Jewish burial rites. I feel connected to all the generations of Jews who have died and been buried this way. Truly holy and sacred." JL

". . .but what I treasure most is how, in meaningful simplicity, a dedicated circle of women gently release a soul and bid farewell with plastic buckets, rubber gloves, and full hearts." LF

For information, contact Holly Blue Hawkins or Rabbi Paula Marcus

Fri, June 21 2024 15 Sivan 5784