Judaism is a faith that deals with all aspects of life. Death is an integral part of life. At the time we are confronted with death, a myriad of emotions and questions arise. The synagogue is the place to turn for guidance and support. As there is a Jewish way of life, there is also a Jewish way of death. The Rabbi will guide you and your loved ones through this very difficult time. Please see more detailed information below.

Chevrat Chesed (Member-to-Member Support Group), headed by Melissa Drolet and Terry Lee Heller, is seeking CBI members to attend Shivah minyans to comfort members and to enable them to chant the Mourner’s Kaddish. If you are interested in helping Chevrat Chesed, please contact the synagogue office at (505) 266-0155.

When a Loved One Dies

In the unfortunate event of the passing of a loved one, we ask our members to contact the synagogue office (505) 266-0155 before making funeral arrangements. If the death occurs after the close of the business day, please contact our President, Harvey Buchalter at 505-247-2602; hcbuchalter@gmail.com, and he or another member will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

The synagogue telephones are not answered on Shabbat or Festivals. If a death occurs on one of those days, the rabbi can be contacted directly by coming to the synagogue immediately before or after worship services, or use the after hours contact listed above. Please do not assume that someone is aware of the passing of your loved one. Let us know so that we may be of assistance and support you. Our rabbi will assist you in assuring that all Halachic (Jewish law) standards are followed.

Our Burial Society

Our burial society, the Chevra Kadisha, will see to it that the bodies of our deceased are prepared for Jewish burial, according to our traditions. They may assist and guide synagogue members in arranging the practicalities of funeral services, securing Jewish burial plots, and purchasing headstones.

Most people delay the purchase of a proper burial place until the need for its use arrives. This results in needless anguish at a time when one is already emotionally upset. We ask that you give immediate consideration to providing your family with suitable burial arrangements if you have not already done so. For information, please contact Martin Sherman, President of B’nai’s Burial Society. His direct information can be found in the membership directory, or leave him a message at our office, (505)266-0155.

Shiva

Our congregation considers it a mitzvah to assist our bereaved families.  The Rabbi will make every effort to be available for funerals of dues-paying members, non-dues paying parents, or other extended family members. Contact the synagogue office concerning the honorarium. Our members will be emailed immediately to be informed of the mourning member’s shiva schedule and address, so we can assemble a minyan each evening in the house of shiva, to enable the mourners to pray and recite Kaddish. In many cases, synagogue members will serve as lay leaders for the minyan service.

Yahrzeit

Remembering the anniversary of the death of a loved one, Yahrzeit, is a commandment that we honor in our synagogue. We encourage our members to make a Yahrzeit donation in the memory of their deceased loved ones; their names will be added to our wall of memory inside our sanctuary, where a small light-bulb at their name will be turned on to commemorate the anniversary of their death. The synagogue publishes a list of all weekly Yahrzeits in our synagogue bulletin that is inserted into our prayer books. As part of the mitzvah of observing Yahrzeit, our members are encouraged to attend services on their loved one’s Yahrzeit, thus enabling them to recite Kaddish.

Traditionally, in the privacy of their home, mourners will light a special candle that burns up to 26 hours, in memory of the anniversary of their loved one. Such candles may also be lit on the evening of Yom Kippur, or on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day, which corresponds with the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar), the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Days of Remembrance run from the Sunday before Yom Hashoah through the following Sunday.  In years past, our Men’s Club has mailed a Yahrzeit candle for Yom Hashoah to each member of our synagogue, to be lit in memory of those who died in the Holocaust.

Unveilings

When a headstone is placed, the family may wish to hold an unveiling service. There are no strict guidelines for the timing of an unveiling, and, while families may choose a date at any time after the end of the Shiva, it has become a contemporary practice to schedule this ceremony for some time between the end of Shloshim, the thirty-day period of intensive mourning, and the first Yahrzeit, the anniversary of a death. Mourners, their family, and close friends will gather at the gravesite for a private ceremony called the unveiling. It isn’t necessary for a rabbi to be involved, although our members are encouraged to consult with ours if they have any concerns. It is a spiritual time for the family to comfort each other and remember their loved one with stories and memories. It is at this time that the memorial marker or headstone is placed at the grave, uncovered and read. The monument is formally dedicated and the deceased is honored with prayers and a reciting of Kaddish. Unveilings are a spiritual time for the family to comfort each other.

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