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.
"Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome."
- Isaac Asimov, 1920-1992 (Born Isaak Yudovich Ozimov)
About the Chevra Kadisha
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. Training is provided.
Chevra Kadisha Services
In keeping with the wide range of ritual observance in our community, we offer several options to bereaved families: 1) providing watchers for the body; 2) preparing the body for burial; 3) both; 4) neither. Whatever the family chooses, we are available to help plan and coordinate arrangements and to send out community email announcements that include biographical information about the deceased, details on the funeral, burial, meal of consolation, shiva, and condolences/memorial contributions.
Mount Hope Cemetery
Mount Hope Cemetery in Urbana has a Jewish section that is owned and administered by Sinai Temple. The Jewish section, established prior to the founding of Sinai Temple in 1904, serves the entire Jewish community of Champaign-Urbana.
Purchase of burial plots can be arranged by contacting the Cemetery Committee of Sinai Temple or Alice Berkson at (217) 356-4829.