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An exploration of Jewish funeral customs, June 13

An exploration of Jewish funeral customs, June 13

A special program that will explore the many rituals and laws of death in the Jewish religion – including burial, cremation and Shiva services – led by Rabbi Gary Atkins and Rabbi Alan Lefkowitz will be held on Sunday, June 13, 10:15 a.m. to 12 noon at Carmon Community Funeral Home, 807 Bloomfield Ave. in Windsor.

The rabbis will cover topics related to Halachic Jewish law and spiritual aspects of Judaism’s funeral rituals.
“Our discussion will include the historical significance of many of our traditional customs, in addition to some of the newer options that Jews are choosing today,” says Atkins who is spiritual leader of Beth Hillel Synagogue in Bloomfield. “This includes cremation, which traditionally was not a major issue for the Jewish community. Everyone ‘knew’ it was forbidden by Jewish customs and the horror of the Holocaust and its cremations made the topic almost untouchable. But, as in all other areas of life, old beliefs are being restudied and challenged, and cremation is now seen as an acceptable and affordable option by a growing number of Jews.”
“We will talk about everything from preparing the body for burial, to the guarding or watching (Shemira) of the deceased, to why mourning family members tear their garments or wear black ribbons, cover mirrors and sit on benches,” says Rabbi Alan Lefkowitz, spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Ahm in Windsor. “And, we will explore the meaning of the many prayers and blessings associated with these end of life rituals.”
The June 13 event is free and open to the public. For more information call (860) 688-2200


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