Tag Archives: chevra kadisha

Kavod ha’Meit: Trans Issues for the Hevra Kadisha

Judaism, a religion that focuses primarily on life, rather than the afterlife, provides a meticulous set of standards regarding the handling of corpses, which must be shown great respect. The body is washed, dressed in a simple gown, and never left alone before burial. All of these ministrations are carefully provided by a synagogue or community hevra kadisha, or holy committee.

Kavod HaMeit. Creative Commons / Jin Aili

Creative Commons / Jin Aili

Because the body is traditionally cared for by those of the same gender, making sure that a hevra kadisha is informed about and sensitive to the needs of transgender and genderqueer people is very important.

Here, Eliron Hamburger, a hevra kadisha member at Chochmat HaLev, in Berkeley, provides a checklist for all hevra kadisha members to consider. The answers may vary from community to community, but the questions themselves are thought-provoking, challenging us to look at this life-cycle event through the lens of transgender inclusion. Consider bringing it to the ritual committee at your synagogue or sharing with your family.

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Posted on December 14, 2012

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