Kehilla’s Chevra Kadisha is pleased to announce the completion of our “Sh’mira Readings Project.” We now have two beautiful volumes that can be used by the shomrim (“watchers”) –those who sit with the body of a community member who has died until the time of burial.
Traditionally, shomrim read Psalms during the sh’mira (“watching”). In Kehilla we have provided other readings—poetry and prose from Jewish and non-Jewish sources as well as portions of our liturgy—so that each shomer might deepen his or her own reflections on the meaning of life and death.
As we embarked on revising and expanding these additional readings, our discussions and study led us to taking a closer look at The Book of Psalms as well. We looked at many different translations and interpretations and selected the one for each Psalm that we thought invoked the values of Jewish Renewal movement.
A small group from Kehilla’s Chevra Kadisha traveled to Boston in June to present a workshop on these readings and to discuss Kehilla’s approach to sh’mira at the annual K’vod v Nichum (“honor and comfort”) conference. More than thirty people attended our workshop and received our presentation with great enthusiasm.
We will formally present Kehilla’s Readings for Shmira and Psalms for Shmira at the Morning Service, Sept 17. We invite the entire community to join in our simcha and to learn more about the practice of sh’mira.