Congregation B'nai Israel (CBI) is using a free new technology to enhance our support for members who suffer a loss. ShivaConnect.com provides educational articles about sitting shiva preparation and customs, a "shiva registry" to privately post/share funeral & shiva details, a calendar to view/post food for each day, direct memorial donations, helpful resources, comforting prayers, poems, CBI's Cantor Shore's healing songs and an emailed yahrzeit reminder. We have included links to ShivaConnect on our website and in weekly emails, introduced the concept in our monthly newsletters and placed displays of "Shiva Information Cards" in our lobby. Most importantly, our rabbis meet with mourners to console them, assist with final arrangement planning and offer the synagogue's help in posting a private online shiva registry to share with family, friends and congregants.
With "just a click," those who wish to express their condolences learn shiva locations and times, view/ post food for each day, make charitable donations, find local delis to deliver shiva platters, identify helpful resources for a time of loss, read/post tributes and send thoughtful messages to mourners. It is a quick and convenient way to connect with people both near and far. Mourning families appreciate fewer phone calls, less stress, confusion and wasted food. More well- wishers express their condolences and honor the deceased with memorial donations.
Subscribers to the yarhzeit reminder receive an email about a week before the anniversary of their loved one's passing, reminding them to light a memorial candle the evening before that date and that it is customary to make a memorial donation at this time. A link to ShivaConnect's charity section is provided, where Congregation B'nai Israel is listed and linked to receive direct donations.
For more information about consoling mourners, contact the URJ’s Caring Community Specialist, Rabbi Edythe Held Mencher, or your congregation’s Union Rabbi.