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Care, Compassion, Community Exploring the Chevra Kadisha (1).png

Care, Compassion & Community: An Introduction to the Chevra Kadisha

Taught by: Rabbi Jonathan Bernhard and Sarit Wishnevski 

Dates & Time: 

Wednesdays, July 10th, 17th, and 24th   
7:00-8:30 p.m. Eastern / 4:00-5:30 p.m. Pacific




$72 (sliding scale pricing information below)

About the Class: 

Join us for "Care, Compassion & Community: an Introduction to the Chevra Kadisha," a three-part class for those new to Chevra Kadisha and anyone curious about this sacred opportunity and component of Jewish communal life.

Many of us are not familiar with the Chevra Kadisha, the groups of volunteers in communities who come together to care for the deceased and comfort the living. Why does the Chevra Kadisha exist? Where does it come from? Who can participate? What are the rituals? 

We will learn together to explore answers to these questions and begin to form an understanding of what deep care looks like at the end of life when offered from a place of compassion, love, and Jewish values. 

Over three 1.5-hour sessions on July 10, 17, and 24, participants will:

  • Learn the purpose and role of the Chevra Kadisha
  • Explore the rituals of shmirah and taharah
  • Gain an understanding of the history of the Chevra Kadisha and how it exists in modern Jewish communities
  • Examine the Jewish values underlying the Chevra Kadisha and have opportunities to reflect and connect through experiences and sharing. 

Each class will include interactive discussions, personal reflections, and insights into the spiritual and physical care provided by Chevra Kadisha. 

Who is this class for?

  • Anyone new to Chevra Kadisha or interested in joining one.
  • Anyone who is curious about how Jewish communities care for one another after death.

Pre-learning materials will be offered to help participants prepare. 

While the sessions will be recorded, attendance is crucial for a full experience.

No prior knowledge is necessary and any Hebrew words or texts will be offered in transliteration and translation. 

About our teachers: 


Rabbi Jonathan Bernhard (he/him)

After 25 years at a wonderful congregation, Rabbi Jonathan Bernhard decided it was time for a change. Jonathan now works as the Executive Director of the Jewish Initiative For Animals, raising awareness about our sacred obligations to the other animals with whom we share this world. He is co-founder of the Valley Chevra Kadisha, an avid Liverpool fan and has a thing about green burials.  He and his wife Laurie live in the San Fernando Valley and they have 3 grown sons, 3 smallish dogs and 4 noisy chickens.  


Sarit Wishnevski (she/her)

Sarit is the Executive Director of Kavod v'Nichum. She trained as an end-of-life doula through INELDA (International End Of Life Doula Association) and produced a podcast and a newsletter called The Be.Side Project focused on where Judaism intersected with the end of life. Sarit has worked for a number of Jewish organizations that seek to weave connections to ancient Jewish rituals and values through modern connection and understanding including OneTable, Repair the World, PresenTense, DOROT, and Hillel. Sarit lives in Maplewood, NJ and is a member of the Chevra Kadisha at Congregation Beth El in South Orange, NJ.



Please share any access needs or accommodations that you would like us to know about so that you can participate fully in this workshop.

We'd love to learn how you were referred so we know the right people/organizations to thank!
Sliding Scale Pricing

Kavod v’Nichum strives to make our opportunities financially accessible and we utilize a sliding scale model based on need. When choosing your pricepoint, please take into consideration both your income and your wealth as you make this decision and the resources that your supporting organization may be contributing to this work as well. Click here to learn more about a model that informs our pricing structures.