Zayin Adar, the 7th of the Hebrew month of Adar, is the day that Moses died and because God buried Moses, the Chevra Kadisha is “off duty”. Commonly, it is a day for the members of the Chevra Kadisha to honor their sacred work together as a group. We surveyed our community to learn how different groups gather and are happy to share their responses! Questions or do you have a Zayin Adar tradition to add? Email us firstname.lastname@example.org
The majority of respondents shared that their Chevrot meet on the 7th of Adar. Those who don’t, shared that they meet on another date: a yearly meeting, a summer day, or a Sunday closest to whenever the 7th of Adar falls out on the Gregorian calendar.
“Depending on what day of the week Zayan Adar falls, we pick a date close to it – but one in which most members can attend. We alternate hosting with the Men’s chevre.” Laurie, Mercer Community Women’s Chevre, East Windsor, NJ
Some Chevra Kadisha members observe a fast, individually or together as a group. The fast is to atone for any inadvertent disrespect shown to the dead and there is also a practice of reciting a special order of selichot, communal prayers for divine forgiveness.
“We have a special mincha service for those fasting and get together for dinner afterward with spouses and Divrei (words of) Torah. ” Rose, Lincoln Square Synagogue, New York, NY
LEARNING & PRAYER
“One year, the Iman of a local mosque described and demonstrated their burial traditions (similar to ours), an interfaith choir that sings at the bedside of a dying person explained their work and sang. Another year, we learned from local Jewish communities whose synagogues are closing, the effect on their members, and the care of their cemeteries.” Malke, The New Community Chevra Kadisha of Greater Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
“We meet, dine, daven (pray), and learn” Bill, Congreation Sherith Israel, Atlanta, GA
We have a “Banquet” (which is sometimes catered, sometimes potluck) followed by educational presentations.” Gail, Austin Shimrah, Austin, TX
A brunch for ALL associated with the Chevra: religious workers, funeral directors, grounds crew, admin & accounting staff; Board members, Rabbonim; etc. We express appreciation, are challenged to raise the bar and re-dedicate ourselves to the work.” Sam, Sinai Memorial Chapel Chevra Kadisha, San Francisco, CA
“First, we gather at a Jewish cemetery where synagogue members have recently been buried. We have a service and remember and honor past members who have died. Then we have a celebratory pot luck dinner for all Chevra members.” Jane, Kehilla Community Synagogue, Piedmont, CA
“We read the names of those for whom we performed taharah, during the past year, lighting a yahrzeit candle and saying kaddish.” Malke, The New Community Chevra Kadisha of Greater Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
“An ocean mikvah (for Chevra members) Alice, Chevra Kadisha Kavod of Oahu, Oahu, HI
“Our 7 Adar meetings begin with toasts to and from our members. The names of those we’ve cared for during the past year are read in English and Hebrew. We ask forgiveness. Then Chevra members share stories and memories of each metah. It’s very meaningful.” Vickie, Beth-El Women’s Chevra Kadisha, Richmond, VA