From the Community Hevra Kadisha of Greater Boston:
The Community Hevra Kadisha of Greater Boston performed its first tahara in December 2013. Since that time we have grown into a hevra comprised of 150 volunteers. Our mission statement includes the following language: “We are a pluralistic and inclusive hevra kadisha, caring for the dead through the mitzvah of tahara. We are a community in which Jews from across the spectrum of Jewish life honor this sacred tradition, and share its wisdom and beauty.”
It is of paramount importance that the community of gender non-conforming and trans Jews be represented in our hevra. The mitzvah of performing tahara and of receiving tahara must be offered to all Jews.
As the conversations about gender have become more detailed in our communities, questions have arisen about tahara for trans and gender non-conforming people. The Hevra decided to form a gender task force to address these questions. The following booklet details the vision of inclusivity that has guided our process, the practical steps that the CHK has already taken, and our next steps as a community.
We humbly offer this document to other hevrot kadisha in hopes that they will find it easier to discover what works for them if they have a document to respond to rather than inventing the path, though we are certain that other communities will adopt practices and rituals other than the ones detailed here. We are excited to see what works for others and hope that you and your communities will be in touch with ours as you progress.
Toward a Gender-Inclusive Hevra Kadisha
Authored by: James Cohen, Emily Fishman, Joey Glick, Rabbi Emily Aviva Kapor-Mater, Adele Moss, Barbara Neustadt, Rabbi Becky Silverstein, and Melinda Strauss
Questions about this resource? Reach out to Barbara Neustadt at the Community Hevra Kadisha of Greater Boston