We encourage everyone and every synagogue, Jewish cemetery, and Chevrah Kadisha, as well as related institutions such as a hospice or hospital, to send a team to the conference. There’s a lot to learn, to share, and to bring home. If you are new to end-of-life work, this gathering will provide you education and inspiration, concrete resources with a network of experts. And did we mention networking? If you are new to Jewish end-of-life work, this will be an amazing learning opportunity. If you are experienced, the conference gives you a wealth of options to learn in-depth, or branch out to new areas.
Those who are members of an existing chevrah, along with those who are considering creating a new Chevrah Kadisha, are encouraged to come to deepen their knowledge, find colleagues who are in similar situations in other communities, learn what to do next, and find a wealth of resources. These conferences have helped many to establish new rituals and deepen existing practices. It’s amazing what you can take home when you learn with others from all over North America.
Consider attending the conference if you:
- are interested in the fields of community organizing, consumer advocacy, bikkur cholim, chaplaincy, rabbinic texts, thanatology, hospice care, grief therapy, funeral direction, cemetery management, and legacy planning;
- recognize the importance of liturgy and ritual in ensuring that the spiritual dimension of the end-of-life continuum is appreciated, and that the work of the Chevrah Kadisha is done with full regard for the respect and dignity of all involved;
- want to learn more about the entire end-of-life continuum, including dealing with life-threatening illness, legacy and preparation of ethical wills, preparing for death and at the time of death, care for the body, taharah and shmirah, care for relatives and friends, funeral and burial practices and ritual, mourning, grieving, remembering and providing comfort, always with underlying themes of communal obligation, care for the poor and elderly, consumer protection, and Jewish continuity;
- believe it is essential to move the culture surrounding continuum-of-life issues in the Jewish community — from the all-too-common attitude of denial and neglect around death — to a more open attitude towards death that includes increasing awareness, acceptance, and healthy integration into family and community life;
- want to participate in the development of a strong Jewish corps of volunteer and professional communal leaders, who work to inspire, support, organize, teach, and advocate for the full range of Chevrah Kadisha work in synagogues and communities.