Community Hevra Kadisha of Greater Boston
Community Hevra Kadisha of Greater Boston

What is טהרה (Tahara)?

Tahara is the physical and spiritual preparation of the deceased (meyt/meyta) for burial. Just as Jews have ancient traditions for welcoming a newborn, there are prescribed customs for preparing the dead for burial.


Trained volunteers (haverim) from the Community Hevra Kadisha of Greater Boston perform the tahara with respect and tenderness, assisting the transition of the body and soul from this world. Women care for women, men for men and regard their participation as a privilege as well as an act of loving kindness.


Your rabbi or the funeral director at the Brezniak-Rodman Funeral Chapel in West Newton can arrange for tahara to be done by the Community Hevra Kadisha of Greater Boston (call 617-969-0800).




  1. Team prepares the room and aron (coffin) to perform the tahara. Soil from Israel is sprinkled in the aron. A sheet/shroud and a tallit are placed in the aron
  2. Team asks meyt/meyta/meyteh for forgiveness before beginning.
  3. Prayers and readings are recited during the tahara ritual.
  4. Inspect the condition of meyt/meyta/meyteh and then perform the initial washing and grooming as required.
  5. Elevate the body off the table using wooden boards (so no part of the body rests on the table).
  6. Perform the Tahara ritual by pouring a continuous flow of three buckets of water (24 quarts) over the meyt/meyta/meyteh.
  7. Carefully dry the met/meta and in preparation for dressing.
  8. Dress the meyt/meyta/meyteh starting with the head covering, pants, inner shirt, and outer shirt (kittel). Ribbons are tied around the ankles. A special knot is used for all ties.
  9. Meyt/meyta/meyteh is placed in the aron (coffin). Remaining soil sprinkled over the  meyt/meyta/meyteh . Pottery shards are placed on the eyelids. Tallit is wrapped around and one tassel is either cut off or knotted to make the tallit pasul- ritually unfit. Meyt/meyta/meyteh is wrapped in the sheet/shroud.
  10.  Wooden cover is placed on the aronTeam asks the meyt/meyta/meyteh for forgiveness for any inadvertant indiscretions.



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Questions or ready to get involved?


Stephanie Levin

Executive Director



The Community Hevra Kadisha of Greater Boston (CHK) has been recognized as a tax exempt public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to CHK are deductible under section 170 of the Code




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