Shmira- Honoring Body and Soul
In keeping with traditional Judaism , we honor body and soul , and comfort mourners by safeguarding every member of our community.
Family and friends are welcome and encouraged to participate with us in this chesed shel emet, act of true loving kindness.
Attending a Service
Parking is available on the side streets and across Main St.
Kavod v’Nichum & Gamliel Institute
Veteran Chevrah Kadisha Member Elected President of North American Chevrah Kadisha organization.
Former Winnipeger Kerry Swartz of Vancouver, BC, has been elected Board President of Kavod v’Nichum, a North American organization dedicated to the work of the Chevrah Kadisha; restoring Jewish traditions and values of honoring the dead (kavod hamet) and comforting the bereaved (nichum avelim). His election to this position became effective January 1, 2017.
Kavod v’Nichum works throughout North America to educate Jewish communities about the rituals and traditions which guide us in sickness, death, and mourning.
Founded in 2000, Kavod v’Nichum has sponsored 15 annual conferences across North America, published books and reference materials for Chevrah Kadisha groups and synagogues, and operates an expansive website with information on every aspect of the end of life continuum. In 2014, Kavod v’Nichum received a Slingshot Award as one of the top 50 inspiring and innovative Jewish organizations and programs in North America.
New or existing Chevrah Kadisha groups, synagogue Chesed committees, hospice workers, chaplains, and community volunteers are able to tap into the network of experienced teachers, Rabbis, and community development volunteers, who work cooperatively to support Jewish values at the end of life through community education, Chevrah training, and advocacy.
A major aspect of the efforts of Kavod v’Nichum is the Gamliel Institute, an online educational program focussed exclusively on Jewish practices, liturgy, history, text, and thought about the end of life. The goal of the Gamliel Institute is to train a cadre of leaders across the continent who are able to implement a wide array of projects and programs in their home communities, making Jewish end of life care available to all who wish it.
Jewish communities from coast to coast often have well established Chevrah Kadisha or Burial Societies. Some groups may be synagogue based, others community based. Some may own cemeteries or funeral chapels, and some may operate in non-Jewish funeral homes. For the most part, Jews are easily able to access the Chevrah for traditional Jewish preparation (taharah) and burial in a Jewish cemetery. Based on the teachings of Rabban Gamliel in the 2nd century, our practice reflects the values of modesty, simplicity, equality, and respect. No one is turned away due to financial constraints.
Swartz, 55 is a father or two, originally from Winnipeg, He joined the Chevrah in Victoria, B.C. after the death of his father in 1996. Upon relocating to Vancouver, he became an integral member of the Vancouver Chevrah Kadisha, involved in everything, ranging from a short stint as a casket maker, to transporting the deceased, taking part in Shmirah (guarding the deceased) and Taharah (ritual preparation of the deceased), to attending burial Minyanim (prayer services consisting of a quorum) at Jewish cemeteries in Vancouver. He is one of two Canadian graduates of the Gamliel Institute, and serves on the Faculty. Swartz, a professional photographer and graphic designer, has served on the Board of Kavod v’Nichum for several years in the areas of social media, publishing, and web presence. When asked why he was drawn to the work of the Chevrah, Swartz shares that, “it was the one area of true Halachic (Jewish law) egalitarian treatment within Judaism. All Jews, regardless of gender, wealth or poverty, are treated with the same level of respect, loving kindness, and care in death.”
Swartz’s wife, Vancouver filmmaker Analee Weinberger, has produced a short film about Taharah which features both Swartz and the Winnipeg Chevrah Kadisha.
Swartz plans to carry forward the mission of Kavod v’Nichum: to encourage communities and synagogues to take control of funerals and burials, and to educate the entire Jewish community in the power of the mitzvot (commandments) of honoring the dead, comforting the bereaved, and protecting and shielding bereaved families from exploitation.
Family and Community Pallbearers
Please choose individuals who are able to lift and carry.
Remember that conditions at the cemetery may wet or slippery.
If you are unable to provide 6 Jewish men, please contact us.
Volunteer pallbearers are community members who make themselves available to assist a family at time of need, or to accompany a deceased who has no family.
We have been blessed with many dedicated, long serving volunteers, and now we need to replenish our community list.
If you are a physically able male, and not a Kohen, please consider adding your name to our volunteer list.
Dropping off a Tallit
Family should be in touch to arrange dropping off a loved one’s tallit the day before the funeral service . We ensure that every man has a tallit for burial.
If a woman wore a tallit , family is invited to bring it.
Please come to the office at 1023 Main St. If no one is available to assist you, place the tallit in our secure mail slot located on our 2nd front door.
Tachrichim (burial shrouds) are traditional simple white burial garments, usually made from 100% pure cotton, in which Jews are dressed by the Chevra Kadisha for burial after undergoing a taharah (ritual purification). In Hebrew, tachrichim means to “enwrap” or “bind.” It comes from the verse in Megilas Esther (Chapter 8;...