Chevra Kadisha is a group of Jewish men and women who see to it that the bodies of deceased Jews are prepared for burial according to Jewish tradition and are protected from desecration, willful or not, until burial.
What are the duties of the Chevra Kadisha?
Two of the main requirements are the showing of proper respect for a corpse, and the Tahara [ritual cleansing] of the body and subsequent dressing for burial.
The task of the Chevra Kadisha is considered a laudable one, as tending to the dead is a favor that the recipient cannot return, making it devoid of ulterior motives. It is therefore that our organization is called Chesed Shel Emes, paraphrased from Genesis (47:29) where Jacob asks his son Joseph, “do me a ‘true’ favor” and Joseph promises his father to bury him in the burial place of his ancestors.
The CSE Chevra Kadisha goes the extra mile of responding to hospitals and private homes or any other location where a Jewish death occurs, to provide the utmost dignified treatment of the deceased right from the time of death, by removing medical tubes and devices, and respectfully preparing the body for transport, and in many cases transporting the niftar to the funeral home or medical examiner facilities, and accompanying them for the duration of their exams or investigations.
CSE preforms thousands of taharas annually free of charge to Jews from all sides of the spectrum, from ultra-Chasidic to totally non-observant and everything in between.
Often, CSE is called upon by various congregations or funeral homes to care for their niftarim, whether because they lack their own services, or because the deceased had a highly contagious disease and others were afraid to come in contact with them. Our volunteers will often don PPE but will never turn down a taharah. Our only requirement is that the deceased be a member of Klal Yisroel.
Throughout the Covid Pandemic when most Chevra Kadishas weren’t operating at full capacity, or even not at all, but the case load was ten-fold that of normal times, CSE filled the void and worked around-the-clock, weeks on end, to ensure dignified treatment of every Jewish cadaver.
Helping those who can no longer ask for help.