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Kavanah: A Shmira-Inspired Resource & Shloshim Gathering

Inspired by the ritual and intention of Shmira, guarding over the soul of the deceased and offering prayers of comfort, we welcome the community to take time to remember and honor the lives taken during the recent events in Israel by engaging with ritual and liturgy.


Kavanah is the Hebrew word for intention and it most often refers to the intention we dedicate to prayer. Kavanah is a heart-centered, mindful focus. With hearts that are broken for the many lives lost beginning on October 7th, we arrive here to honor each person, each soul.

In Jewish tradition, one of the rituals at the time of death is Shmira, the ritual of watching over and sitting with the body and soul of the deceased. From the time of death until burial, we stay with the deceased. In many communities, this is one of the core functions of the Chevra Kadisha, the sacred community of volunteers who provide care and comfort throughout the end-of-life continuum.

Shmira is a ritual for Jewish souls. As we write this, we acknowledge the thousands of innocent Israeli and Palestinian lives that have ended in violence. This ritual guide, inspired by the intention of Shmira, was created as a way to remember and honor our Jewish siblings who have been killed in the horrific attack on October 7th, and in the days since.

Today, we may all feel like part of the Chevra Kadisha, and we are here with the holy intention to honor and mourn the lives taken in Israel. In keeping with our tradition, we have created a ceremony inspired by Shmira to honor each individual with candlelight, prayers, and words of remembrance and reflection.

This resource can be used by an individual or as part of a group gathering. It can be engaged with its entirety or as a “Shmira box”; a selection of readings and rituals to choose from to create a resonant and meaningful space. We also invite you to share this with loved ones, your Chevra Kadisha, and your community.

By following the sign-up link, you will receive:

  • The Kavanah resource
  • A link to the spreadsheet in which to leave your name next to the name of one of the deceased. We will see our names populate the page, marked next to our fallen siblings. In this way, we will be able to dedicate Kavanah to a specific soul.  
  • A link to the recordings of our Shloshim Gathering held on 11/5/23

You can also access the resource separately here.

Questions? hello@kavodvnichum.org


Thank you for sharing this opportunity with our wider community


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If you’re interested in sharing this resource as an organization or community, please fill out this form so we can send a toolkit for sharing, updates, and gratitude.