Over the years we have been asked many important questions. Here are a few. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, or within the site’s text, please contact us on the Contact page.

Q: My loved one is/was Orthodox. Do you also work with the Orthodox?
Q: May I view my loved one after the tahara?
Q: My loved one prepared their own tachrichim. Can you use them instead?
Q: I would like to make my own tachrichim. Can someone help me with this?
Q: Can you do tahara for a non-Jew?
Q: My family would like to bury our father in his finest suit. Can you do the tahara and then dress him in the suit instead of the tachrichim?
Q: Our father is dying in Portland, but he would like to be buried in New York. Is tahara done in Portland or New York?
Q: Our loved one has requested to be cremated. Are you still able to do a tahara for her?
Q: My mother is an organ donor. Will you still be able to perform a tahara for her?

 

Q:

My loved one is/was Orthodox. Do you also work with the Orthodox?

There is another Chevra Kadisha in the Portland area which serves the Orthodox community. Their name is Portland Hevra. To contact them, please speak with a member of the clergy or staff at one of the Orthodox congregations.

Q:

When my grandfather passed away, his immediate family had a moment to privately view him between the tahara and the funeral. How do you accommodate this?

There are degrees of variation between one Chevra Kaddisha to the next. It is the custom of Chevra Kavod haMet to seal the aron upon completion of tahara. The aron is not opened again. In our experience we find it best that loved ones remember the deceased in life, not in death. If you desire to see your loved one ‘one last time’, please make sure to do so before the tahara begins.

Q:

For generations it has been a family custom to sew our own tachrichim. My mother has had hers for many years. Can you use them and how do we get them to you?

This used to be a fairly common practice. Though much more rare now, some individuals still prepare their own burial garments. Please make sure that this is part of your advance planning and that you have discussed it with the funeral home you will be working with as well as the clergy or Chevra Kavod haMet directly. We can arrange a safe transfer of the tachrichim. And yes, we are happy to use them as long as they adhere to the halachic requirements for their creation. For further information, including information about creating tachrichim, please send us a message on our Contact page.

Q:

I would like to make my own tachrichim. Can someone help me with this?

For generations it was customary for an individuals to prepare their own tachrichim. This cherished tradition is making a comeback and many people, in realizing that the work is not very difficult, are choosing to either do this beautiful act for themselves or a loved one. We have patterns available and are happy to speak with you about how you too can do this traditional project.

Q:

Though my husband lived a very Jewish life, and even considered himself a Jew, he never actually completed the conversion process. Can you still do a tahara for him?

The question isn’t as rare as you might think. We are honored to perform a ritual for those who are K’rovei Israel (non-Jews who are a part of the Jewish community) that is similar to tahara called Final Kindness. It is in most respects the same as a tahara, but with a few differences that recognize the fact that the person who has died, while close to the Jewish community, is not a Jew. This ritual allows us to honor both the dignity of the one who has died and their connection to the Jewish community.”

Q:

My family would like to bury our father in his finest suit. Can you do the tahara and then dress him in the suit instead of the tachrichim?

Chevra Kavod haMet exclusively dresses a met/a in tachrichim. This has been the tradition of the Jewish people for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. We believe it to be an act of the highest respect to honor the deceased with the traditions of our ancestors. It’s also important to remember that everyone, no matter their social status in life, is prepared for burial in exactly the same way.

Q:

Our father is in a nursing home in Portland and not doing well. His wish is to be buried next to our mother in New York. Will the tahara be done in Portland or New York?

Chevra Kavod haMet has had this happen many times. The answer truly is, “it depends”. Feel free to send us a note via the contact page and we will be happy to discuss your particular situation.

Q:

Our grandmother has long wanted to be cremated. We heard that this means she can’t have a tahara. Is this true?

Chevra Kavod haMet acknowledges that traditionally a tahara is not done for someone is to be cremated. We, however, have adopted as our minhag that we WILL offer our services to a Jew who is to be cremated.

Q:

My mother would like to be an organ donor. Could you still do a tahara for her?

Yes, we can. If the donation is of long bone or skin, however, we will have to slightly modify the ritual. In all cases of organ donation, we will do whatever is necessary to ensure care and respect, while also trying to do as much of the ritual as possible.

In Their Words
I feel that I have been blessed with the ability to do this mitzvah. Some people have beautiful voices and others play musical instruments. I feel that being able to perform tahara is a gift from G-d.
— Natalie, Englewood, New Jersey
Imagining the grace and respect my mother was afforded in death is an ongoing source of comfort. Her tahara affirms her abiding presence even though she has passed from this life.
— Helen, Daughter of Sabina Mager, z"l
Knowing my grandmother was lovingly cared for by members of our community's Chevra Kadisha was such a comfort to me in my hours of grief. I had cared for her for so long. In the end, I felt so much trust in the women who continued to give her the love and attention she deserved.
— Sharon, Eugene, Oregon
The most rewarding part of doing a tahara is the sense of continuity of the lifecycle and the connection with the Jewish people historically. In many ways I get the same feeling when I light the Sabbath candles...It binds me to the community of Jews throughout the ages and throughout the world.
— Phyllis, Greenfield, Massachusetts
In my entire life, I don't think I've done anything more worthwhile than serve on the Chevra Kadisha.
— Saul, New Orleans, Louisiana
Knowing my parents' lifetime of dedication to Jewish living will end with this time honored tradition, and that they will be treated with the ultimate respect and honor, is of huge comfort to me and our family.
— Mark, Portland, Oregon