A key component of our ritual is halbashah, the dressing of the met/a in tachrichim (traditional burial garments) once the tahara is completed. From its beginning, Chevra Kavod haMet has obtained tachrichim from vendors in New York City, but recently a group of volunteers from Congregation Neveh Shalom has been working on creating tachrichim from donated fabric. The group, dubbed The Shroud Crowd by Neveh Shalom’s Rabbi Kosak, meets every month. After months of work, we now are able to produce enough sets to meet the needs of the Chevra going forward.
Some members of the Shroud Crowd are very familiar with traditional Jewish burial practices, while for others it was a surprise to to learn what the “mitzvah project” was that they had signed up for, but all approach the tasks with great compassion and concentration. Some participants are well-versed in sewing techniques, while some have no interest in the needle arts. There is always plenty of work for everyone who comes.
Of course, anyone is welcome to help out with this project, and everyone is encouraged to consider creating their own set of tachrichim for themselves and their loved ones; patterns are available for anyone who is interested. We have taken the pattern designs and directions from the website www.threadsoftradition.org, which was created by a group of women in Santa Clara County California who sew tachrichim for their community. Their group is informally called Sew What? and we thank them most kindly for sharing this information. If you would like to be added to the Shroud Crowd notification list or would like to make arrangements to borrow a set of patterns, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and Sandy will let you know about upcoming meetings.