Every Person's Guide to Death and Dying in the Jewish Tradition

Jason Aronson, Inc., 1999

The Jewish way of life, through specific rites and rituals, helps to order and structure our response to the experience of death. The simplicity of a Jewish burial, for example, is designed to avert and avoid ostentation. In Judaism, the democracy of the Jewish way of death is evident. All are equal, no matter what their social or economic status.

The Jewish way of life and death also finds order and meaning through structure. Instead of letting death consume mourners, Judaism transforms bereavement into a vehicle with the potential to strengthen familial ties, revitalize communal solidarity, and promote the sanctity of life itself.

Every Person's Guide to Death and Dying in the Jewish Tradition walks the reader (in a user-friendly way) through the basic rites, beliefs, and practices related to death and dying in the Jewish tradition. Topics include: what does Judaism say about life and death, the mitzvah of kevod hamet (honoring the dead), visiting the sick, confession, ethical wills, from death to bereavement, the funeral and burial, mourning observances, post-mourning practices, special questions and concerns (suicide, cremation, euthanasia, amputated limbs, mausoleums, and the world beyond the grave).

In addition, this book contains stories and quotations culled from the Bible, Talmud, and Midrash related to death and dying, as well as a chapter on the deaths of biblical heroes in the midrash (e.g. Moses, David), a chapter on the death penalty and murder (conflicting views in biblical and talmudic Judaism), a chapter on explaining death to children, a glossary of terms, and a bibliography for further reading.

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