Israel’s Chevros Kadisha: “We’ll Stop Taharos For COVID Victims In 2 Days”

Members of Hevra Kadisha, an organization which prepares bodies of deceased Jews for burial according to Jewish tradition, take away a body of a person who died from coronavirus in Jerusalem, Wednesday, April 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Several days ago, Israel’s Chevros Kadisha requested of the Health Ministry that all their workers involved in caring for the bodies of the deceased be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The Chevra Kadisha noted that their 500 employees are at great risk due to the fact that they are handling the bodies of coronavirus victims. However, the Health Ministry rejected their request, Channel 12 News reported on Monday.

According to the report, after their request was denied, the chairman of the Chevros Hakadisha Forum, Avraham Manela, contacted Religious Affairs Minister Yaakov Avitan (Shas) and told him that if the workers of the Chevros Kadisha aren’t vaccinated as soon as possible, they will stop performing taharos for coronavirus victims in another two days rather than continue risking their lives.

In the letter, Manela stated: “If the decision not to include the workers of the Chevros Kadisha in the current vaccination program isn’t changed, we will be forced to stop performing taharos for coronavirus victims beginning in two days.”

“In a similar way to the health and rescue organizations, including ZAKA, whose workers were recognized as those who required vaccinations as soon as possible, our workers are exposed to coronavirus victims every day as well as to those in quarantine and the general public. We view the Health Ministry’s decision as discriminatory, obstinate and a real danger [for our workers] and we cannot lend a hand to this.”

Manela told Channel 12: “This is an intransigent decision of the Health Ministry. The blood of the workers of the Chevros Kadisha isn’t hefker. These are the people who have been devotedly standing at the forefront of the battle and endangering their lives from the beginning of the pandemic. I call to the Health Minister and the Religious Affairs Minister to solve this issue immediately.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. Very simple solution:- Let Netanyahu personally perform every טהרה no questions asked, in light of the fact that he was the very 1st Israeli to receive the vaccination despite the fact he isn’t even a health worker, so his vaccination has had the most time of any Israeli to take hold, so he can safely cover for the regular חברא קדישא members, may the Almighty shower his Blessings upon each & everyone of them.

  2. Covid-19 is not spread by contact, rather by respiratory water droplets, so cessation of taharos is not a medically sound decision.
    The C”K needs to reassess

  3. It will be very stressful on the families of the niftar to bury the niftar without a proper taharah, after what they have been through with covid.

  4. The Chevra Kadisha consists of serious talmidei chachamim who work closely with Gedolim day by day, and I have no doubt that their decision to take these steps was taken only after very careful consideration and consultation. This is another example of why the simplistic approach of Rabbi Hoffman, with all due respect and apologies, in his recent YWN op-ed is misguided. I hope he will consult closely with Gedolim who are involved constantly in these types of shailos that affect the entire tzibbur, and publish another op-ed that presents a more in-depth analysis of the situation. Managing a pandemic across an entire population, including the initial roll-out of vaccines, is extremely complex. A simple calculation of morbidity and mortality statistics while ignoring other aspects of the crisis will not lead to the least number of deaths – on the contrary, it could lead to disaster. Experts of every kind must be consulted before paskening such shailos.

  5. So twisted and manipulated. Fighting to get a product that’s not proven to work even, and can put your life at risk…
    I doubt it.
    Amazingly the medical place I work, everybody’s doing testing and antibody testing, laughing away behind our masks…

  6. “>……Fighting to get a product that’s not proven to work even, and can put your life at risk…”
    If your product reference is to one of the several vaccines that have been shown in multiple tests supervised by world class scientists and endorsed by independent regulatory advisors to be highly effective in reducing covid infection risk, we will be standing behind OUR masks “laughing away” as you gasp for your last breath if you become infected.
    How dare you and your “laughing chevrah” of anti-vaxers introduce more lies when the lives of so many are at risk

  7. The media with government approval (in most countries) seriously distorted facts about Covid19 in order to make people take it more seriously, but by presenting Covid19 and something similar to Ebola or Smallpox they created a “panic” which is reflected in this article. The members of the Chevrah Kadishah are acting the way the government wants them to (hazmat suits as if they were working with Ebola victims, etc.).

  8. Gadolhadorah: Well said!
    But you will not get anywhere arguing with these feeble and narrow minded “laughing chevrah” anti-vaxers.
    save your breath!

  9. Gadolhadorah, are you kidding?? the “medical professionals” endorsing these vaccines are the ones who are getting a fat paycheck when people get their shots.

    It’s okay to take the vaccine and trust it, but to say that its absolutely safe to take because it was endorsed – you need to investigate if they had any other motives to endorse it.

    Did you not see videos of people who had severe allergic reactions to the vaccine?

    This is a very controversial topic, and I cant judge, but corona has a survival rate greater than 99%, and for someone to be concerned about taking an artificcially created vaccine is okay.

    about masks, we wouldnt go around someone with covid, even if he was wearing a mask. are you sure you trust masks…..

    the chevra kadisha have many rabbanim and great leaders they speak to, so i dont want to undermine their decision in any way, but you should understand that to say that scientists endorse something so its safe – is a big mistake. After all, cdc said not to wear masks, then they said masks protect those around you, then said it even helps yourslef. even scientists get it wrong sometimes. but, if someone disagrees with a scientist, we think they are horrible. It doesnt make sense.