This manual is a guide for those who perform the holy ritual of Taharah, preparation of Jewish deceased for burial. Originally written for a chevrah that includes six shuls with extensively different levels of observance, this manual is intended for use by any community. It is for all Jews. Today this manual is in wide use throughout North America and England.
Music has long been known to enhance the beauty and kavanah of the ritual. This book is unique in that it includes the beloved musical Hebrew chanting notations of Rabbi Shefa Gold.
The expanded 6th Edition of this now well-respected and widely used manual is specially formatted for ease of use in the Taharah room as well as for education and teaching. This edition includes new liturgies in addition to the established liturgy based on Ma'avar Yabbok. These include liturgy for Taharah Ruchanit - when we must honor the dead but do not have or cannot be close to their body, and non-binary liturgy to support all gender identities.
The text is color coded for efficient reading in the Taharah room.
This book is an essential resource to those who help midwife souls from this world to the next.
Note: Chevrah Kadisha members who wish to purchase multiple copies for their chevrah can get books at printing cost plus shipping. Please use the contact form to send your contact information, how many copies you want, and an address to which to send the books. Rick will then contact you for PayPal payment and have the books sent directly to you.
What Readers Are Saying...
"I just finished reading the new edition of Midwifing. You've really made an extraordinary contribution to the field with this new edition. I only hope that there is a very large readership."
- Rabbi Stuart Kelman, Founding Dean Emeritus of the Gamliel Institute
In today's modern Jewish society we are faced with an increasing number of interfaith families in which one spouse is Jewish and the other is not. When the Jewish spouse requests that their non-Jewish loved-one be buried as a Jew, a dilemma arises. How does one prepare a non-Jew for burial using Jewish traditions? Many chevrot and synagogues simply deny the request, stating that Jewish practices are for Jews only. Yet with so many families now expressing interest in this, it is time to create such a ritual. This book is the first of its kind in the field of Jewish death rituals, and extends the scope of the current Jewish umbrella under which our dead are respectfully prepared for burial. Every Chevrah Kadisha needs to be ready to handle the changing times of today's world, and thus, every community in which there are mixed-religion marriages needs this manual.
For centuries, Jews have prepared their dead for burial using a ritual known as taharah, which means purification. Drawn from sacred texts and Jewish theology, this rite is traditionally conducted according to time-tested procedures, by a trained team called a Chevrah Kadisha.
Today, however, families are asking their rabbis and hospice chaplains to improvise new rituals based upon this ancient one. They may want to perform the ritual themselves, for example; to insert original elements; or to confront Jewish law and perform it for a loved one who will be cremated, or who is not Jewish.
Discussion of these issues has led to the question: How much modification can be allowed? At what point is the ritual no longer a Jewish purification, and by what standard? What bare-bones elements make taharah unique, and satisfy its requirements? What can be allowed, and what is forbidden?
This is the inquiry that the authors, a hospice chaplain and an experienced Chevrah Kadisha leader, explore and discuss in an open-minded exchange.