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Chevra Kadisha Of Madison

The Chevra Kadisha of Madison consists of Jewish men and women who prepare a deceased person’s body for burial according to Jewish tradition (Taharah). The major steps of Taharah are respect for the deceased, gentle and thorough washing of the body, ritual cleansing, dressing the body in a simple shroud, and placing the body in the casket; prayers for the soul of the deceased also are recited. Because this task cannot be reciprocated by the deceased, it is considered a Chesed Shel Emet, a “true act of kindness.” To be respectful, men prepare the bodies of men; women prepare the bodies of women. The privacy of the deceased and the families involved is honored. Discussion of who participates in any Tahara is improper. Questions pertaining to what occurs or what might be expected during the ceremony of Tahara are welcomed. New volunteers are encouraged to ask questions, observe, and carefully decide if this is a mitzvah in which they might comfortably participate.

At the current time, neither JBAM nor the Chevra Kadisha have a formal process for coordinating Shemira, religious ritual of guarding the body of the deceased. Please contact your Rabbi to learn more or to arrange this service for your loved one.

The Madison Chevra Kadisha has functioned for more than 100 years, originally as part of Agudas Achim synagogue, then as part of Beth Israel Center. In the 1970s it became a cross-congregational group of volunteers from all sects of our Jewish Community. The service is optional; the fee charged covers supplies, funeral home personnel, and a contribution to the Chevra Kadisha. The three sequenced purchases of Beit Olamim’s plots were funded in part by gifts or loans from the Chevra Kadisha. The Chevra Kadisha contributes toward the purchase of graves and caskets for families who cannot not afford the proper burial of their loved ones. Currently, the Chevra Kadisha of Madison is an independent organization, but soon will be integrated into JBAM to better serve our community.

For further information, contact Eve Siegel ( or Bruce Thomadsen (

Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyyar 5784