The Jewish Tradition of Caring for the Body of the Deceased

Nov. 20 2017

According to halakhah, a Jewish corpse is to be treated with the utmost respect. It may not be left alone in the interval between death and burial, and it must be methodically washed following a prescribed procedure. The group, entirely voluntary, that performs these rituals is the ḥevra kadisha, or “holy society.” In the Jewish communities of prewar Europe, membership in such a society was considered a privilege and a sign of status. Daniel Troy revisits a 1992 article he wrote about his own participation in a ḥevra kadisha, and what its traditions teach about life. (Interview by Jonathan Silver. Audio, 31 minutes. Options for download and streaming are available at the link below.)

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Read more at Tikvah

More about: Death, Halakhah, Judaism, Religion & Holidays

Why a Government Victory in Southwestern Syria Is Bad News for Israel

Sept. 17 2021

Last week, Russia negotiated a ceasefire between the Syrian government and rebel forces in the city of Daraa, where the initial protests that sparked the uprising against Bashar al-Assad began. The agreement ended a 75-day assault on the city, located near the country’s southwestern border, by Russian, Iranian, and Syrian forces. Jonathan Spyer explains the significance of these events:

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Read more at Jonathan Spyer

More about: Golan Heights, Iran, Israeli Security, Russia, Syrian civil war