My friend Jen has a fantastic blog where she spotlights something found on the internet and polls the readers on whether it’s inappropriate or awesome. It can be very hard to decide. I just read a story that strikes me as an unlikely nominee for Jen’s blog: a business in Southern California that you can hire to cater and run a shiva house, from the deli trays, to the hugs.
They deal with death — specifically, Jewish mourning — with an only-in-L.A. panache. They arrange catering, equipment rentals and general assistance for after-funeral gatherings, including valet parking, video production, personal shopping and — there is no better way to say it — Jewish mothering.
“They kind of just swoop in and mother you,” said Michael Berman, Lee Weinstein’s partner of 30 years, who hired the Shiva Sisters on the advice of Rabbi Howard. “They’re not just planning a party and an event, but they’re compassionate and understanding at a time when people are grieving.”
I happen to know firsthand the stress of planning a funeral and shiva. It really is a big job, and it’s great that there’s a business that help overwhelmed mourners. But I don’t know– personal shopping for mourners? Video production? It seems over-the-top. Maybe I’m just saying that because I’m jealous, though–the Shiva Sisters are really helping people in a time of vulnerability and pain. It sounds like a great (if difficult, and very weird) job.
Pronounced: SHI-vuh (short i), Origin: Hebrew, seven days of mourning after a funeral, when the mourner stays at home and observes various rituals.