SHEMIRA is easy…. Yet it is a great Mitzvah
… All you have to do is be there to sit, with a Shemira partner (where possible), and watch over a person who has passed away, until their funeral.
There’s no complicated ritual.
Men watch over men, women watch over women.
It’s done in shifts, whenever possible, to spread the load.
is a way of offering….
– Compassion for a family at their time of loss
– Honour for a departed soul
IT’S A SELFLESS MITZVAH
as its impossible to repay your kindness,
and it’s likely to be for someone you don’t know.
WHAT EXACTLY IS SHEMIRA?
Shemira is sitting in vigil with one who has passed away, before their funeral.
WHO CAN DO IT?
If you have compassion, you’re Jewish (men & women) and don’t mind giving 2 hours, sometimes late at night…. You qualify!!!
That’s it, simple, no questions asked.
WHO NEEDS IT?
When faced with the loss of a loved one, families from across the Whitefield spectrum find they need, welcome and want this tradition.
A growing list of Shemira volunteers will help spread the load, and so people will only need to be called upon infrequently.
Just try it for a session or two.
There’s no obligation to continue if its not your cup of tea.
We all understand this kind of volunteering is not for everyone.
Of course we hope that you do continue.
In which case we shall list your preferred availability and contact details.
With any luck you may only be called upon a couple of times a year.
Help us revitalise and sustain the Shemira List of volunteers – join us and ask a friend too.
Email the Shemira Group to enquire or volunteer: email@example.com OR contact the Shul Office
WHEN WILL I BE NEEDED?
Shemira volunteers are needed at all sorts of times. It’s impossible to predict when Shemira will be needed, volunteers may be away for a few days, have family commitments or be ill themselves… so the more people we have the more chance of finding someone who can do it at a moment’s notice, as well as those who we can give a few hours notice.
Of course its easier to find volunteers during the day, indeed the extended family may also step in. But Shemira also needs to be covered during the night, so if you can do this please let us know.
WHERE WILL I BE NEEDED?
Shemira often takes place in a Hospital or Care Home. Occasionally it will take place in the deceased’s own house.
SOMEONE MENTIONED TEHILLIM?
In addition to sitting a guard of honour, some people also choose read from a book of Tehillim or special prayers. If you wish to read Tehillim either in English or Hebrew you are very welcome to. In Whitefield we do not make it an obligation.
ORIGINS OF THE SHEMIRA TRADITION?
It probably began as a way of protecting the body from wild animals, and possibly later to protect from body snatchers.
But over time it became a Guard of Honour.
As Jews, we believe that following death the soul returns to G-d. But that journey isn’t instant. The soul can be in a state of flux and confusion. The company of the Shemira sitters help calm and comfort the soul during this time.
And of course, the family feel comforted and calmed, knowing that their loved one has not simply been abandoned, at a time when they may be too distraught to fulfil the task.
If you have further questions please contact – firstname.lastname@example.org