Judaism 101

Want to feel confident walking into a synagogue, seder or shiva? Start with our Judaism 101 video collection.

Kaddish: The Jewish Mourner’s Prayer

Learn to say the Mourner’s Kaddish – Jewish Prayer of Mourning – with this simple karaoke style video that combines the original Aramaic, a simple transliteration and the English translation. The Kaddish is in Aramaic, not Hebrew, except for the last sentence.

Jewish Mourning Rituals: An Overview

The death of a loved one is a very disorienting time, and isn’t something many people think about until it’s actually happening to them. Understanding some of the traditions and the structured periods of mourning that Judaism offers may help provide some support in the grieving process.

Jewish Mourning Rituals: Caring for the Body

In Judaism, traditions around death have two purposes – to comfort the living, and to show respect for the dead. Understanding some of the more nuanced Jewish traditions and rituals for caring for a body before the funeral may help provide some support in a grieving process.

Jewish Mourning Rituals: The Funeral

The word for funeral in Judaism is levaya, which means accompanying. To accompany a person to their final resting place is an act of love and kindness for both the deceased and their family and this video explains a few of the Jewish practices to expect

A Jewish Guide to Helping Your Friend in Mourning

Shiva is a word people use to explain the week-long mourning period in Judaism. When friends and loved ones lose someone, it can be hard to know how to support them. This video on the Jewish practice of Shiva helps explain about the specific mourning practices in Judaism, and what your friend needs from you.

Before I Lost my Hair: A Jewish Reflection of Psalm 90

By Rachel Lopez Rosenberg

Many of the oldest poems on record are associated with prayer and some of our best examples of ancient Jewish poetry are inside the Book of Psalms. Through original poetry, animations and music Rachel Lopez Rosenberg and Charlie Corriea parallel the structure and themes of Psalm 90 with personal hospice chaplain experience.

The Man Who Buried His Own Leg

What would drive a man to bury his own amputated leg? Jewish paranoia, of course. Find out about what’s possibly the weirdest religious custom ever in three minutes of animated narashkeit.

 

Explaining Jewish Mourning Rituals: Chevra Kadisha

What is a “Chevra Kadisha” all about? A Chevra Kadisha (חברה קדישא “holy group”) is a volunteer Jewish burial society that takes responsibility for the ritual cleansing and subsequent dressing of a body for burial. When Susan’s husband, Morton, passed away, the Chevra Kadisha group at her synagogue stepped up and offered support during this incredibly difficult time.

In this short informational video Susan explains her experience of the Chevra Kadisha when her beloved husband passed away. As Susan remembers the experience, “It was a beautiful, nontraditional farewell. People from the Jewish community gathered together, read his poetry – his prayers – as they all remembered him together.”

This particular video helping to explain Jewish mourning rituals like the Chevra Kadisha is part of a larger series exploring the basics of Jewish Lifecycles. Jewish tradition is often specific. There are a myriad of Jewish subcultures and people, and the conversations in this series explores the array of choices people make in interpreting ritual today. Learn more about Jewish Wedding traditions, Jewish Mourning Traditions and Jewish Baby Traditions.

Explaining Jewish Mourning Rituals: Funeral After Miscarriage

Do Jews hold a funeral after miscarriage? The answer to this question is not a yes or no. In this short informational video Chai explains her experience creating a funeral after miscarriage with a friend and how she felt held by her community through this deeply personal and difficult time.

As she explains in the video, “My work as a Rabbi is to hold sacred space for people when they are going through life’s challenges and transitions. And I myself was going through a very difficult time. For years I was yearning to be a mom, going through infertility and miscarriages. And Jewish tradition did not really have a ritual to support me during that time. So I created one.”

 

This particular video on the explaining Jewish mourning rituals such as having a funeral after miscarriage is part of a larger series exploring the basics of Jewish Lifecycles. Jewish tradition is often specific. There are a myriad of Jewish subcultures and people, and the conversations in this series explores the array of choices people make in interpreting ritual today. Learn more about Jewish Wedding traditions, Jewish Mourning Traditions and Jewish Baby Traditions.

Explaining Jewish Mourning Rituals: Sitting Shiva

What is the phrase, “Sitting Shiva” all about?

Sitting Shiva (שבעה‎ “seven”) is a week-long Jewish mourning ritual during which family, friends and neighbors traditionally gather in one home and receive visitors. In this short informational video Jana explains her experience sitting shiva and how she found comfort in many Jewish bereavement rituals when her father passed away.

This particular video on the concepts surrounding the Jewish mourning ritual of sitting shiva is part of a larger series exploring the basics of Jewish Lifecycles. Jewish tradition is often specific. There are a myriad of Jewish subcultures and people, and the conversations in this series explores the array of choices people make in interpreting ritual today. Learn more about Jewish Wedding traditions, Jewish Mourning Traditions and Jewish Baby Traditions.

This project was made possible with generous support from The Koret Foundation, as part of its Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood.

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