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‘We ask forgiveness from the dead’: Why Jewish volunteers are washing bodies in a pandemic

‘We ask forgiveness from the dead’: Why Jewish volunteers are washing bodies in a pandemic

Patricia Quigley, a funeral director at West Laurel Hill Cemetery and a member of the Reconstructionist Hevra Kadisha, said it’s just one of many mourning rituals that have been disrupted there, from the Jewish tradition of graveside services, in which families help shovel soil into a grave, to the Sikh funerals that bring large crowds into the crematorium.

Although the group’s work is on hold for now, Quigley does her best to carry out the tahara alone when it’s desired: humming the melody of the prayers where her Hebrew fails her, dressing the body in a linen shroud, placing the soil.

Read more here: https://www.inquirer.com/news/philadelphia-chevra-kadisha-coronavirus-covid-pandemic-ritual-cleaning-tahara-20200528.html#loaded