K’vod v’Nichum is the parent organization of the Gamliel Institute. This blog features posts about Jewish approaches to death and dying. We’re repurposing it here on JewishSacredAging.com now that Rabbi Address has become the dean of the Institute.
Welcome to Inspired & Expired.
Don’t be fooled by the title. This is not your everyday blog. It is not a self-help blog. It is not about feel-good stories (though there may be some). It is not about Yoga. It is not about breathing. It is not what most people would pick as a best seller. And yet, it is about something that fascinates, mesmerizes, frightens, attracts, and affects all of us.
What is this blog?
It is a blog about death and dying – and the Jewish ways thereof.
It is about the Jewish rituals, forms, customs, behavioral norms (and not-so-norms), about Jewish ideas and thoughts on and around this topic. It is about how Jews approach death and the dead, how they treat them, what they do, and how they do it.
It is about transforming a physical task into a holy act; bringing sanctity and compassion to souls who are in need of it.
It is really about caring for the dead and comforting the living; the sacred, loving work of helping to bring closure and peace at the end of life to those who have died, and comfort to those who care about them.
“Inspired & Expired” is Kavod V’Nichum’s blog on life end, death, funerals, and comfort. The name refers to the interplay in Jewish life when the living care for the dead, and are in turn inspired by that act and by those who have died. The care they provide consists of respectfully and lovingly preparing the deceased, those who have expired, for the next step on their excursion. The living are inspired by the expired deceased. We invite you to come behind the scenes, and join us as we perform our sacred tasks and “midwife souls on their journey.”
The topic of death and dying has long been taboo. Because death comes to all of us, and touches most of us in life, it needs to be open for discussion – though not in a morbid fashion: there are aspects of this part of life that are beautiful and touching.
The death of a loved one is sad, but the sacred, holy work in which we engage can be spiritual, loving, transformative, and life-affirming. Talking about it should not be ‘taboo’ or avoided. There is even room, at times, for humor, as well as awe, love, and honor, as we explore this universal part of life.
Inspired & Expired is intended to educate, reveal, and share stories in an interesting and compelling way about the people involved, and the Jewish process, rituals, and activities that include Bikkur Cholim and the work of Caring Committees (whatever title they may have), and all aspects concerning the Jewish approach to the end of life, death & dying, the work of the Chevrah Kadisha – the Holy Society that provides care for the deceased, and comfort for mourners and those bereaved.
Accompany us as we draw back the curtain a bit, and let you see our work, the results of it, and how it affects those of us who do it, and others. Join us as we offer you an aspect, a viewpoint, a glimpse of the transformative power of the work we do.