Dear Friends,

As we move into the summer months we are beginning a new phase of adult education. Our first offering, moving into the time of mourning before Tisha B’Av, is Death and Dying in the Jewish Tradition. Over the course of five Sundays, we will examine both the rituals and practices associated with death and mourning and issues of personal legacy and ethical wills, as well as offer a space for people to talk safely about grief (with nosh, of course). Come for one session or come for all.

Death is a hard topic, but a necessary one and our tradition has many meaningful and healthy rituals that help us through the mourning process. Aveilut, the Jewish mourning process, seeks to balance two elements: k’vod hamet, honoring the dead, and nichum aveilim, comforting the mourners. Even for those well-versed in our traditions, handling the death of a loved one is hard and can be confusing. But by learning together how we are taught to navigate the valley of the shadow, we become more comfortable and familiar with it and are better able to benefit from our centuries’ long tradition.

The program is free of charge and outlined below:

  • Sunday, July 7, 3:00-4:30 pm
    Jewish Traditions from Death to Burial — Jewish rituals surrounding death begin with preparing a person to die. Participants will leave with a thorough understanding of Jewish ritual from the time of imminent death through the burial, as well as modern variants (taught by the rabbis).
  • Sunday, July 14, 3:00-4:30 pm
    Legacy Projects and Ethical Wills Session 1 — An interactive discussion on the importance and format of creating your own legacy and writing an ethical will to leave your loved ones. Participants will leave with instructions and guidance for creating their own (taught by Marynne Aaronson).
  • Sunday, July 21, 3:00-4:30 pm
    Legacy Projects and Ethical Wills Session 2 — Further discussion and workshop on legacy and ethical wills (taught by Marynne Aaronson).
  • Sunday, July 28, 3:00-4:30 pm
    Jewish Grief and Mourning — Covering the time from the burial onward, Jewish tradition circumscribes both ritual and behavior for mourners. There will be a discussion of these rituals as well as a discussion of complicated grief, which is grief after suicide, child death, or other tragic death (taught by the rabbis).
  • Sunday, August 4, 3:00-4:30 pm
    Death Cafe — A safe space to discuss grief and its impact in our own lives (facilitated by Caryn Rubin, LSW)

As a community, coming together in grief is one of the most significant things we do, in addition to one of the most meaningful. Death is a thing that touches us all and often gives us no time to prepare. We hope that you will join us for as many sessions as you can, and learn with us from our wise tradition.

Rabbi Benjamin Zober
Rabbi Sara Zober