Lifecycle / Death And Mourning / Death And Mourning Readings

Comes the Dawn

Veronica A. Shoffstall

First line: After awhile you learn the subtle difference

Last line: With every goodbye you learn.

Mourner's Kaddish

The Hebrew prayer recited in memory of the dead during the mourning period and to mark the anniversary of the death of a loved one. People can say Kaddish for people they don’t know, too. For instance, to remember those who died in the Holocaust. Interesting fact – death isn’t mentioned in the Kaddish, instead the prayer is largely focused on praising God.

Death Is Nothing At All

-Henry Scott-Holland

First line: Death is nothing at all. Last line: How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!…

A Shiva Reading

-Author Unknown

Some of our favorite Shiva moments have been when a group of people sit around and tell stories about the deceased. Sometimes people can be shy or unsure how to behave at Shiva calls so get some folding chairs and assign someone to make this moment happen, or plan to do it yourself. It will mean so much more to the mourners than having everyone stand around and look sad, and it’s a great way for the people in the room to connect and share with each other. This blessing is a good way to start or finish the storytelling.

First line: Zikhrono livrakha – may (insert deceased’s name here) memory be a blessing to all who knew and loved them, and may we offer comfort and community to his/her wife/husband (insert name here) and their children, (insert names here)…

Look For Me In Rainbows

-Conn Bernard

So, Judaism is kind of confusing when it comes to afterlife, so we wouldn’t say this particular reading is particularly Jewish, but it’s beautiful. It was originally written as a song by Conn Bernard.

First line: Time for me to go now, I won’t say goodbye. Last line: Just wish me to be near you, and I’ll be there with you…


-Jenetta Barry

Wow. For a relatively common emotion, grief is not written about in such a raw manner very often. Here, grief Coach, Jenetta Barry, offers powerful wisdom.

First line: Grief, a natural process, isn’t depression, isn’t allowing one’s emotions, outside of a session. Last line: Grief is a process that when lovingly seen through, allows feelings to surface of love and acceptance, and lots of grace too…

The Moment When Life Stands Still

-Zoe Clark-Coates

A beautiful short reading about being suspended in grief.

First line: It is kind of shocking when your world falls to pieces and everything and everyone around you carries on with life. Last line: As the weeks and months roll by, life becomes more real again, but you will never forget that point in time where life stood still…

You Will Lose Someone

-Anne Lamott

Oh! Such a sweet reading by that smarty, Anne Lamott.

First line: You will lose someone you can’t live without, your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. Last line: It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly, that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp…

Grief Lasts Forever

-Lexi Behrndt

This reading was inspired by Lexi’s son, Charlie, who passed away when he was six months old. She shares her experience of the ebb and flow of loss, longing, and love.

First line: As far as I can see, grief will never truly end. Last line: It’s all an ebb and flow, a constant dance of sorrow and joy, pain and sweet love…

A Blessing For Friends!

A JewBelong Original

So much of Jewish practice revolves around having a strong, loving community. So, we decided we needed to have a blessing for our friends and community. If you think the part asking people to hold hands won’t fly with your group, just edit out the second line. But you should push yourself to leave it in. People love that stuff.

First line: Here with you our friends, we feel so greatly blessed. Last line: May we always remember the exquisite value of friendship and community and be good friends in return. Amen…

Standing On The Shoulders

-Doug Cotler

In this insane world that changes so quickly, it is grounding to remember where, and more importantly, who we came from. This notion of remembering Judaism’s foundations and meaningful traditions are the driving forces behind JewBelong.

First line: In the garden there’s a tree planted by someone who only imagined me. Last line: I’m standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before me…

Death Short But Sweet

-Multiple Authors

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