The Jewish Tradition of Caring for the Body of the Deceased

November 20, 2017 | Daniel Troy
About the author:

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.)

Read more on Tikvah: