Bereavement

Knesset Israel proudly maintains traditional practice around the time of death. The congregation and its Rabbi attend to the needs of the deceased and the bereaved in a sensitive, dignified, professional way.

Our practice is guided by the congregation’s publication, The Book of Life. For general information about the Jewish rituals surrounding death and burial, please consult www.myjewishlearning.com.

Each of the following groups takes responsibility for one part of the care of the dead and bereaved and is open to more volunteers. Their work is primarily with members and non-members of the congregation who are to be buried in a Jewish cemetery in Pittsfield.

The men and women of the Knesset Israel Hevra Kadisha wash, shroud and prepare bodies for burial with dignity and tenderness, according to the exacting standards of Jewish law.

The Shomrim sit alongside the deceased from the time the Hevra Kadisha finishes its work until the funeral, reciting psalms, so as not to leave the body unattended.

The members of the Knesset Israel Cemetery Committee, all committed members of Knesset Israel, lay out plots, dig and fill in graves, maintain the grounds and set policy for the Knesset Israel Cemetery on Peck’s Rd., on the north shore of Pittsfield’s Onota Lake.

The Meals of Consolation Committee prepares a traditional dairy meal for families as they return from the cemetery to begin receiving condolences. The meal takes place at Knesset Israel.