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Jewish Death Practices:
Overview / Summary
Origins and History
Visiting the Sick or Dying 

Phases of Death Observance
    Approaching the Time of Death
    Between Death and Burial
    Burial and Cremation 
    Mourning Practices

Spiritual Aspects
Funeral Homes
Funeral Contracts


Chevra Kadisha:
Articles about Chevra Kadisha

Tahara Manuals and Procedures
Tahara Training
Tahara Stories
Tahara Supplies Lists
Funeral Home Supplies


Organ Donation


Infection Control


Next Conference
Previous Conferences


Learning & Resources:
Gamliel Institute

KNIT Resource Center
    Contacts for Answers
    Catalog of Articles
    Additional Links

FAQ About Death and Dying
Modern Dilemmas
Guided Learning
Jewish Sources and  Responsa
Synagogue Brochures
Community Education

Course 2 - Tahara and Shmira



Gamliel Institute – Course 2 – Tahara and Shmira

Course 2 of the Gamliel Institute is Tahara and Shmira – Ritual Washing and Guarding.

Tuition for Course 2 is $1,000

To register go to the Gamliel Institute Course 2 Registration Form    

To pay for the course go to the credit card payment page

For more information contact David Zinner or Stuart Kelman

Part A - Tahara Essentials and Study – On-site – Conference & Post Conference




Tahara Track & Plenary Sessions

June 6

Workshop 1


Tahara Demonstration – coordinated by Rick Light

Workshop 2


Tahara Q & A

Plenary 2


Rabbi Arnold Goodman - 35 years after Plain Pine Box   


Monday June 7


Plenary 3


Richard Fishman - The Future of Cemeteries

Workshop 3


Complicated Tahara - Dr. Michael Slater

Plenary 4


Lunch Speaker - Simcha Raphael - A Guide To The Afterlife For Contemporary Hevra Kaddisha Practice

Workshop 4


Processing Emotions - Rabbi Mel Glazer

Workshop 5


Mortuary Manuals - David Sclar



Cremation Round Table

Plenary 5


Rabbi Mel Glazer - Caring for the Caregivers   

Tuesday June 8

Plenary 6


Green Burial and Green Cemeteries

Workshop 6


Organ & Tissue Donation

Gamliel 1


Tahara – Manuals and Tefila – David Sclar and Rabbi Stuart Kelman



Gamliel - Dinner

Gamliel 2


Tahara Q & A – David Zinner

Wednesday June 9



Gamliel - Breakfast

Gamliel 3


Infection Control – Reps from the CDC



Gamliel - Lunch

Course 2 - Tahara Essentials and Study – Detailed Outline

Part A

I.     Tahara Demonstration – Coordinated by Rick Light

II.   Complicated Tahara – Dr. Michael Slater

A.        tubes and medical devices

B.        bleeding

C.        smell

D.        suicide

E.        autopsy

F.         organ donation

III. Processing Emotions after Tahara – Rabbi Mel Glazer

IV.              Tahara Manuals – Dr. David Sclar and Rabbi Stuart Kelman

A.      History and Development

                       1.          How are they used

a.    Reader from a book

b.    Reader from wall poster

c.    Read in unison

d.    Study

                       2.          Provenance and distribution

                       3.          Examples

a.    Chicago – Jewish Sacred Society

b.    New Haven

c.    Kelman

d.    Web site

                       4.          Variations in tefila

                       5.          Creation of new manuals

                       6.          Availability of existing manuals

B.      Tahara Tefila

                       1.          Understanding the meaning

a.    terminology

                       2.          What are the sources

                       3.          When do we say them

a.    before, during and after Rechitza,

b.    Tahara

c.    Halbasha b’tachrichim

d.    closing ritual

                       4.          kavanah

                       5.          following the rosh

                       6.          Variations

a.    Ashkenazi and Sephardi

b.    Orthodox and non-Orthodox

                       7.          Gender appropriate language

V.  Tahara Training Q & A – David Zinner

A.      Review

                       1.          Rechitza

a.    supplies

b.    adhesives, bandages, pads, tubes, stitches, tape

c.    soap

d.    internal cleansing

e.    ears

f.      nails

g.    hair

h.    bed sores

i.      tubes

j.      bleeding

k.    false teeth, prosthetics

                       2.          Purification

a.    pouring

i. supine - boards

ii. wedge

iii. standing

b.    mikvah

i. mechanical lift

ii. automated lift

                       3.          Halbasha b’Tachrichim – Dressing in Burial Garments

a.    Gamliel

b.    number of pieces

c.    socks vs. feet sewn shut

d.    single pieces

e.    kittel used for Yom Kippur

f.      removing metal

g.    tallit

h.    kippah

i.      tying knots

j.      Afar - dirt or sand from Israel

k.    gerblach – pottery

l.      wine or vinegar with egg wash

m.  Lifts and pulleys


B.        Special Minhagim

                       1.          internal cleansing

                       2.          mikvah vs. nine kavim

                       3.          egg white & vinegar

                       4.          sherblach - pottery

                       5.          gerblach – sticks


C.        Learning the techniques

                       1.          video

                       2.          mannequin

                       3.          observing

                       4.          apprentice to another CK

                       5.          first time

                       6.          veterans of other minhagim

VI.              Tahara Safety Review – CDC representative

A.        Infection control

                       1.          types of infections

                       2.          how infections spread

B.        barrier protection

C.        Vaccination

D.        Lifting correctly


Part B (on-line)

VII.            Tahara Spirituality

A.        Transformative Power of Tahara and Shmira

B.        Meaning and Purpose of Tahara Rituals

VIII.          Tahara Tradition

A.        History and Sources

B.        Tahor and Tameh

C.        Tahara Responsa

IX.              Tachrichim

A.       History and Sources

B.        Aron – Casket

X.               Tahara Review

XI.              Shmira - Guarding

XII.            Tahara Facilities

A.        Funeral Director and Funeral Homes

                       1.          Cooperation

                       2.          Problems

B.        Home Tahara