After tweaking rituals during the pandemic, a Jewish burial society in Pittsburgh has made amends


October 15, 2021

Adam Reinherz/Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle via JTA

New Community Chevra Kadisha members gather at the Beth Shalom Cemetery in Shaler Township, Penn.

PITTSBURGH (Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle via JTA) - Tahara, the act of washing and purifying the deceased, is paramount to Jewish burial. So when the pandemic descended on the United States in March 2020, members of a Pittsburgh-based Jewish burial society devoted to the practice made a difficult decision.

Given fears of COVID-19 transmission, members of the New Community Chevra Kadisha stopped traveling to funeral homes and performing the sacred act of tahara in person. Instead of physically washing and purifying a body prior to burial, members gathered on Zoom for what they called a "spiri...

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