Explore Jewish Death Rituals through Stories

Cover image of Rites of Death

A Beautiful Reflection of Holy Work

Accented by artistic black and white photography, this book is an introduction to an inter-world space, the boundary where death and life meet: the “space between worlds” that we encounter when we deal with the dead.  We enter into it through a series of extraordinary processes in which the physical actions, the prayers, and the kavanah involved in Jewish death rituals (like taharah) opens a window to give us a glimpse of this unique boundary. We can feel the experience of helping souls move from this world to the next through personal accounts, as this book explores the practices and sacred rituals of the Jewish tradition in preparing the dead for burial.  It is an invitation to touch the fine line separating realms of existence.

Winner of a 2016 Nautilus Book Award

Sogyal Rimpoche calls Death, “a mirror in which the entire meaning of Life is reflected.” Jewish Rites of Death is a beautiful and inspiring reflection, offering Jewish wisdom that illuminates the greatest mystery that we all must face. With unflinching courage and openhearted tenderness, Rick Light faces Death, revealing its power to open us to the preciousness of Life. Jewish Rites of Death achieves the rare integration of practicality and poetry.  

  • Rabbi Shefa Gold, author of The Magic of Hebrew Chant:  Healing the Spirit, Transforming the Mind, Deepening Love


I don’t usually say this about any book, but I believe that the vitality and the authenticity and the future of Jewish life in America can be measured by how many people read this literally awesome book and learn to see both life and death in a whole new perspective as a result. ​  

  • From the Foreword by Rabbi Jack Riemer, Editor of Jewish  Reflections on Death and Jewish Insights on Death and Mourning.


Profoundly insightful, inspired and inspiring, impressively well written, organized and presented, Jewish Rites of Death is a unique and very highly recommended addition to personal, synagogue, community, and academic Judaic Studies collections.  

  • Midwest Book Review March 2016