COVID-19 update from Chevra Kadisha Calgary

(July 1, 2020) – To the Calgary Jewish Community,

As we continue to make our way through this pandemic with an end hopefully soon to come, we pray that everyone in the community is keeping safe and well.

Our governments and health authorities are slowly beginning to ease restrictions, and the Chevra Kadisha is also adjusting our practices.  Our focus remains on following mourning practices as best as possible while keeping the health risk to a minimum.

Physical/social distancing remains a key to holding the virus in check.  Thus, funeral and unveiling services will continue to be at graveside only and the Chapel will remain closed to the public.

We ask that families restrict those in attendance at services to 20 people.

Those attending a service will be required to wear a mask for their own protection, and if they wish to participate in the mitzvah of burial, are asked to wear gloves when using shovels.  As before, anyone feeling unwell should refrain from attending a service.  Bereaved families are encouraged to consider the use of virtual platforms such as ZOOM to enable additional family and friends to participate in funerals.

Announcements of funerals and unveilings will continue to remind the community that, until further notice, to comply with restrictions on gatherings, all services will remain “private services”.  While we are aware that it is difficult to bury a loved one without the additional support of extended family and friends, our adherence to these protocols allows us to report that there have been no COVID-19 related cases arising from our gatherings.

We will still be meeting with bereaved families “virtually” whenever possible through video links or over the telephone.  We continue to advise families that in order to proceed with funerals promptly, they not wait for anyone who may be required to self-quarantine.

Even though COVID restrictions are slowly being relaxed, the arrival of warmer weather provides the opportunity for mourning families to consider outdoor physically-distanced shiva minyanim as a way to gather to say Kaddish and provide consolation.

We will continue to adjust our practices to stay in line with guidelines recommended by our governing authorities. However should circumstances change adversely, we are aware we may be required to revert to “lockdown” practices again.

We wish everyone good health, and may we soon see an end to this crisis.  We salute all those who continue to serve the well-being of our community during these challenging times.

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