In the Jewish tradition, preparation of the dead for burial is undertaken by a community organization known as the Chevra Kadisha, or Sacred Society. Dignity Beyond Death examines these rituals of preparation from the point of view of the volunteers who undertake it. Through personal interviews, the book describes the process of washing, purifying, and dressing the deceased, as well as the recitation of lyrical prayers from Psalms. With chapters on the Holocaust and terrorism, this account will engage readers in the humanity and ultimate dignity of this time-honored practice.
2006 Koret Jewish Book Award, Jewish Life & Living category
A basic tenet of Judaism is the obligation to value and serve the deceased, to extend dignity beyond death.
In Judaism, a death is the affair of the entire community. Preparation of the dead for burial is undertaken by a community organization called the Chevra Kadisha, the Sacred Society. The volunteers of the Sacred Society quietly and privately wash, purify and dress the deceased. They simultaneously recite lyrical prayers from Psalms, thereby bearing witness to death as the last of life's important passages.
Dignity Beyond Death examines the rituals of preparing the dead for burial from the point of view of those volunteers who undertake it, including chapters on the Holocaust and terrorism. For the first time, through personal interviews, the author shares a wealth of fascinating anecdotal material that will engage the reader in the humanity and ultimate dignity of this time-honored deed.