Gender and tahara
As a community chevra, Chevra Kavod haMet honors and respects all those for whom we provide services, no matter how they identify. If someone was a Jew, we offer tahara. We also welcome any member of the Jewish community to join our work as a volunteer.
In our ongoing reworking of tradition, in pursuit of honoring and respecting the deceased, we endeavor to always honor the wishes and preferences of the deceased, if known. In the case of someone who identified as male, they will have a male team. In the case of someone who identified as female, they will have a female team. If someone was gender non-conforming, or if the wishes of the deceased are not known, they will have a mixed gender team. Further questions may be addressed to chevra leadership here.
In order to preserve their gender identity, we strongly encourage trans and gender non-conforming individuals to have appointed a trusted person to ensure that any pre-determined decisions are honored. This should include the details of the tahara and burial. They should also have a notarized document expressing their wishes. [Link to Appointment of Person Regarding Disposition of Remains]
In order to share common meaning, we have created a small glossary of some relevant terms:
Gender: the state of being male or female – typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones.
Sex: either of the two main categories (male and female) into which humans and many other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions.
Cisgender: denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with the gender to which they were assigned at birth.
Transgender: denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with the gender to which they were assigned at birth.
Gender binary: the classification of gender into two distinct and disconnected forms of masculine and feminine. Gender binary is one general type of a gender system.
Non-binary: also known as gender fluid, a category for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine, or do not identify with the gender binary system.
Gender pronouns: are linguistic tools that we use to refer to people. (i.e. they/them/theirs, she/her/hers, he/him/his). We believe that it is important to give people the opportunity to state the pronoun that is correct to use when referring to them. Click here to learn more.