Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Ultimate Mitzvah

A Call for Chevre Kaddisha Volunteers: We are taught, Rabbi Min Kantrowitz tells us, that anonymous giving is the highest type of assistance we can offer another human.

The ultimate anonymous mitzvah is that of participating in tahara, the ritual purification of the body of a Jewish person before that person is buried.

Why? Because the person cannot thank you!  

In fact, the family is not supposed to know who participated, so they cannot thank the members of the tahara team. It is an act of chesed shel emet, true lovingkingness.

In Albuquerque, we are blessed with a community-wide
Chevre Kaddisha (Holy Society).

The Chevre Kaddisha is group of trained volunteers, men and women, who perform this mitzvah for any Jew in the community. The group is very varied: some people are quite observant, some don't even belong to a congregation. They all share, however, a sense of how profound and how important this act of love can be.

But there are often not enough Chevre Kaddisha members
available to perform a tahara with ease.
We need new volunteers.
(We especially need men right now.)

The time commitment is not large. Each tahara takes one hour (or sometimes a bit more), and we are rarely asked to do more than one a month.

We will be scheduling a Chevre Kaddisha training session for new volunteers within the next few weeks. Please consider participating.

Coming to the training does not obligate you to participate in the Chevre Kaddisha - it simply introduces you to the mitzvah, its history and procedures.

Ask your Rabbi about it. Ask your friends. Ask who else in your congregation currently participates (you may be surprised!).

Please consider coming to the Chevre Kaddisha training session - and possibly joining.

Before participating in training - and particularly before performing their first tahara - many people are concerned about how emotionally challenging this work can be.

Be assured that Chevre Kaddisha members usually find that the mitzvah is much more spiritually satisfying than emotionally difficult.

To learn more, please contact

Chevra Kaddisha of Greater Albuquerque
Rabbi Min Kantrowitz
(505) 239-5299
Marc Yellin
(505) 792-4322

You will not be thanked by the individual you help along his or her final journey, but the Albuquerque Jewish community as a whole will appreciate your generosity and your love.

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