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Death & Bereavement

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  • Chords of Comfort

    Rabbi Ron Isaacs

    For the past five years Rabbi Ron Isaacs has used his musical skills as a bedside musician for people in hospice.  This book chronicles some of his most memorable experiences with his patients and the lessons learned regarding the healing power of music. The experiences have profoundly inspired him to record his spiritual encounters and share with readers the healing power of music.

    Rabbi Isaacs' personal and touching vignettes on his visits to terminally ill hospice patients is a timely and needed contribution to the post-pandemic world in which we live. As society sets its gaze towards an uncertain future, I can't think of a more vital source for wisdom and guidance than the observations and commentaries of a man who has brought music and surprising joy into the lives of those who are preparing to embark to another shore. Tapping into his forty years of experience as a Rabbi, his life-long love for music, and masterful use of his warm and affable approach to people, Rabbi Isaacs demonstrates over and over how ''listening'' to the lives of others holds the promise of healing, redemption and serendipitous discoveries. Perhaps, we can all take a lesson from him and be more open to the possibilities that await us if we could be fully present to the community and world around us. --Rev. Yeong J. Bae, M.Div.,MSW Executive Director The Martin and Edith Stein Hospice

    About the Author

    Rabbi Ron Isaacs is currently the rabbi of Beth Judah Temple in Wildwood New Jersey. He is also the Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Sholom in Bridgewater New Jersey. In recent years he has used his guitar skills in his role of Chords of Comfort at  The Martin and Edith Stein Hospice, offering therapeutic music.

    A prolific author, his most recent books include Ask the Rabbi,  and Unpacking the Torah: Lessons for Everyday Living. He can be reached directly at
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  • The Mind of the Mourner

    Joel B. Wolowelsky

    The universal human experience of death and mourning is accompanied in Jewish tradition by a detailed array of ritual observance. The Mind of the Mourner analyzes this ritual framework, exploring how it was constructed to reflect the values and importance of the community and at the same time to address the emotional and psychological needs of the individual mourner with understanding, sensitivity and compassion.

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  • Plain Pine Box

    Arnold Goodman

    An elegant, simple book that tells the story of a congregation's transformation. We walk with Rabbi Goodman as he and his congregation learn about traditional Jewish practices surrounding death and burial as they organize a Chevra Kadisha. We identify with the struggle between remaining true to Jewish principles and the economic and political pressures of the established Jewish community.

    The special gift of A Plain Pine Box is in the way it interweaves the teaching of Jewish tradition with the reality of Jewish organizing. The genius of A Plain Pine Box is that its message is even more on point today, 27 years after the congregational Chevra Kadisha was founded.
    A Plain Pine Box is about community building. It is about how to prepare ourselves and our synagogues for kavod hamet (honor and care for the dead) and nichum avelim (comforting the bereaved). It is about laying the groundwork for a Chevra Kadisha movement.
    Kavod v'Nichum (Honor and Comfort) is pleased to be the co-publisher of this important book. We believe that every synagogue should have members actively participating in a Chevra Kadisha or a bereavement committee and that every member should be trained with A Plain Pine Box as the first book on their reading list. Learn More
  • Journey to Heaven

    Leila Leah Bronner

    What happens when we die? Does the soul die with the body? Is there a possibility of life after death? Throughout human history, every civilization – and probably every individual – has asked these questions. In this fascinating and accessible volume, Dr. Leila Leah Bronner explores Judaism’s teachings about the afterlife. 

    Journey to Heaven invites readers to rediscover some of the basic tenets of Jewish belief concerning the hereafter, resurrection, immortality, judgment, messianism, and the World to Come. Starting with the Bible’s references to Sheol and allusions to resurrection, this comprehensive survey explores immortality and bodily resurrection in Second Temple literature; the Mishnah’s discussions of olam ha-ba, the World to Come, and how to merit entering it; and the Talmud’s depictions of Gan Eden (paradise), Gehinnom (hell), and the soul’s journey through these metaphysical landscapes. Bronner also explores the views of medieval scholars such as Maimonides and Nahmanides, Jewish mystical teachings about reincarnation, and modern views of faith and belief. A separate chapter is devoted to views about the Messiah over the course of Jewish history. 

    Bronner demonstrates that the afterlife is indeed a vital part of Judaism, as she reveals how generations of Jews, from Biblical times to the present, have grappled with its core ideas and beliefs about the hereafter. 

    About the Author

    Leila Leah Bronner is a noted scholar who formerly served as Professor of Bible and Jewish History at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has also been a visiting scholar at Harvard University, Bar Ilan University in Israel, and Yeshiva University’s Institute of Adult Studies in New York. She is the author of numerous books, including Eve to Esther: Rabbinic Reconstructions of Biblical Women, Stories of Elijah and Elisha, Sects and Separatism During the Second Jewish Commonwealth, Biblical Personalities and Archaeology, and Stories of Biblical Mothers: Maternal Power in the Hebrew Bible. Dr. Bronner lives with her husband in Los Angeles, where she devotes much of her time to teaching and writing. 


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  • The Jewish Mourner Handbook

    Ron Isaacs and Kerry Olitzsky

    An easy-to-follow guide for the bereaved that answers questions that mourners have been asking for years: Customs and rituals, buriel, mourning and post-mourning observances. The appendix includes prayers, meditations, visiting the cemetary, reflections and readings. Learn More
  • The Illuminated Kaddish

    Hyla Shifra Bolsta

    7 Review(s)

    The Illuminated Kaddish:
    Interpretations of the Mourner's Prayer
    Hyla Shifra Bolsta
    The Illuminated Kaddish breathes new life into the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer of mourning, universally recognized, loved and recited all over the world. It is a contemporary illuminated manuscript, the artist/author's personal interpretation (or midrash) expressed in poetic text and lavish artwork. The book explores the prayer's profound ideas and opens new horizons on the themes of gratitude and paying tribute to life.
    The Illuminated Kaddish is a modern meditation that offers a treasured opportunity to slow down and open the gates to reflection, understanding and contemplation. Its familiar cadence comforts mourners who feel an attachment to it, as if it were in their genes, without understanding the wisdom of its words. The book benefits mourners, family and friends, who look for solace and inspiration at this poignant time. It will continue to comfort and uplift spirits.
    The Illuminated Kaddish is not only for mourners. For readers who want to understand the Kaddish in the context of centuries-old Jewish tradition, this book revitalizes its meaning and relevance to contemporary thought.
    10" x 10" hardcover

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  • Service Comfort Kos Tanhumim

    Ronald H. Isaacs

    A Service of Comfort is a siddur that is user-friendly that can be used both in the home of a mourner as well as in the synagogue for mincha and maariv services. Its unique features include full transliteration, thus allowing a non-adept Hebrew reader to follow along and participate. Other special features of the siddur are large easy-to-read type and readings designed to help comfort the mourner. Learn More
  • Kaddish, Women's Voices

    52 Authors

    Michal Smart and Barbara Ashkenas

    2013 National Jewish Book Award -- For centuries, Jews have turned to the Mourner’s Kaddish prayer upon experiencing a loss. This groundbreaking book explores what the recitation of Kaddish has meant specifically to women. With courage and generosity, 52 authors from around the world reflect upon their experiences of mourning. Learn More
  • Rites of Passage

    Ronald Pressman Isaacs

    Traditional life cycle ceremonies Learn More
  • Every Day I Bless You

    Norman J. Fried

    Though the days of shiva are seven, containing a distinct beginning and a certain end, the days of our mourning continue on indefinitely, always searching for resolution. How we manage through our days, and the lessons we learn along the way, are our perpetual bounty to work with toward growth and understanding. Every Day I Bless You introduces the many lessons that shiva can teach by bringing the reader into the house, the heart, and the mind of one who grieves. In addition, it offers essential and healing insights gleaned from the Torah and current psychological thought on grief and bereavement.
    While the lessons we learn vary for each of us, one theme resounds throughout: Man "in need" seeks God, and God, through grief, seeks man. Like the "beloved" in Song of Songs who stands at the front of his lover's tent and says "Open to me" (Songs 5:2), God stands before us, concealed, but never far away. This theme is at the very heart of Every Day I Bless You. For when we are lost in the midst of a despairing world, it is our grieving spirit that leads us to a healing encounter with God.

    About the Author

    Norman J. Fried, Ph.D., is past director of psycho-social services for the Cancer Center for Kids and the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Winthrop University in Long Island, New York. A clinical psychologist with graduate degrees from Emory University, he has also taught in the medical schools of New York University and St. John's University, and has been a fellow in clinical and pediatric psychology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Fried is a Disaster Mental Health Specialist for The American Red Cross of Greater New York, and he has a private practice in grief and bereavement counseling in Long Island. He is the author of the acclaimed The Angel Letters: Lessons that Dying Can Teach Us About Living (Ivan R. Dee Press, 2007). Dr. Fried is married with three sons and lives in Roslyn, New York.

    Praise for Every Day I Bless You

    In this beautifully written book, Dr. Norman Fried brings deep insights to the nature of the healing process provided by shiva. Based on his personal journey during the shiva for his mother, Dr. Fried presents a brilliant integration of psychological and Jewish thinking about grief, loss, and acceptance. The readers of this book will benefit from the wisdom garnered by Dr. Fried in his decades of experience as a respected psychologist who has provided solace and therapy to those facing end-of-life issues. I strongly recommend this book to anybody seeking a deeper understanding of the growth process and healing powers of the experience of Jewish ritual and thought.
    ~ David Pelcovitz, Ph.D., Yeshiva University, New York

    In this emotionally moving and powerful book, Dr. Fried takes the reader on a spiritual journey of coping. He invites the reader into his heart and mind as he reports his observations and responses during the traditional and religious mourning process of shiva. More importantly, he provides meaningful guidance for people of all faiths and helps them to find strategies and strength to carry on."
    ~ Gerald P. Koocher, Ph.D., Children's Hospital Harvard Medical School, Boston; Past President of the American Psychological Association

    Dr. Norman Fried's latest book Every Day I Bless You, is a thought-provoking and accessible volume that contains solid Judaic scholarship and flashes of psychological brilliance. It is a guide for those who struggle in the roiling waters and tears of the shiva period. His insights into the nuances of the human condition and man's existential challenges are presented with clarity and conviction. We look forward to more works from this truly gifted author."
    ~ Rabbi David Etengoff, Magen David Yeshiva

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