SHIVA LEADERS Temple Sinai Leaders Help Families Grieve

SHIVA LEADERS Temple Sinai Leaders Help Families Grieve
The Jewish Standard September 2013
By David Eisenstadt
In 1993, when my wife Rhoda and our sons Harris and Evan lost four parents/grandparents within a horrific six months, I certainly found spiritual comfort at Temple Sinai. Key to dealing with my grief involved connecting with a number of dedicated Temple volunteers who led morning and evening services. Many went the extra mile as evening shiva readers, often travelling great distances in all sorts of weather, all year ’round to “get it done”. This group, I facetiously dubbe dubbed “the shiva patrol.” Since that time, our two sons have on occasion reminded me that when I choose to retire, my next career should be taking my smicha and becoming a Rabbi. They are serious, but right now I’m keeping my day job. So roughly 20 years later, I am still on patrol, enjoy the calling and am able to participate when a request is made, whenever possible. Like most of my fellow lay leaders, we all have stories and have seen grief first hand…..sometimes in the form of an Irish waketype celebration with mobs of “mourners”; in other cases, and more sadly, leading a shiva service with fewer than 10 in attendance. And yes, as I once reminded a non-
Temple Sinai mourner, he didn’t need to worry about whether we had enough community’s central fundraising initiative, the Federation Annual Campaign, which supports 40 partner agencies locally, nationally and in Israel. The Jewish education system includes five pre-schools, five day
schools and nine supplementary schools. Youth and student organizations include Vancouver Hillel Foundation, which serves Jewish students attending the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria, as well as other colleges in Metro Vancouver.
Mike Cohen’s email address is
Follow his travels at
and on Twitter @mikecohencsl.

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