Now available online: "A Jewish Guide to Death and Mourning in Champaign-Urbana"--2016 Edition. Click here to view.


Chevra Kadisha (Burial Society)

Lee Melhado, Chair
Members: Anonymous by tradition

The Chevra Kadisha, the local Jewish burial society, provides preparation of the dead for traditional Jewish burial, education about Jewish death and mourning practices, and respectful, low-cost burial for the indigent. All work is performed by volunteers who give their time anonymously as a hesed shel emet, an act of true loving-kindness, to the bereaved family and to the Jewish community. Costs of materials, such as the traditional shroud, are covered by contributions from families served and by CU Jewish Federation.

In keeping with the wide range of ritual observance in the local Jewish community, the Chevra Kadisha offers several options to bereaved families: 1) providing watchers for the body, 2) preparing the body for burial, 3) providing watchers and preparing the body, and 4) neither. Whatever choice the family makes, the Chevra Kadisha is available to help plan and coordinate arrangements and to send out community email announcements that include biographical information about the deceased, the time and location of the funeral, burial, meal of consolation, and shiva, and where to send condolences and memorial contributions.

Currently, about 60 volunteers serve as shomrim (those who watch over the body from death to burial) and about 30 serve on tahara teams (those who wash and dress the deceased and place the body in a casket). Additional volunteers are always welcome (367-6592, Training is provided.