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Valley Beit Midrash: Green Burial and Jewish Law

Tuesday, March 28, 2023 6 Nisan 5783

2:00 PM - 3:00 PMVirtual


Cultural and environmental trends of the 21st century are raising important challenges to long-accepted notions of Kevod Hamet (“respect for the deceased”) in the way we handle bodies after death. Are our assumptions around the requirements for burial grounded in our sacred texts? Is burial really a mitzvah? Is cremation absolutely prohibited? Can alternatives to traditional practices live within a halakhic (Jewish legal) framework?


Rabbi Adina Lewittes founded Sha’ar, a northern NJ/NYC-based, values-driven Jewish community oriented around the call to societal, environmental and spiritual sustainability. For nearly twenty years, Sha’ar provided multiple gateways into Jewish life exemplified by a commitment to inclusiveness, diversity, innovation, scholarship, excellence and collaboration.

Adina recently served as the Scholar in Residence at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in NYC, a synagogue renowned for its commitment to social justice and spiritual activism. Adina is also a member of the senior rabbinic faculty of the Shalom Hartman Institute, and she sits on the Board of Trustees of the Abraham Joshua Heschel School and on the Board of Keshet. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member of the Rabbinical School at JTS where she teaches contemporary Jewish Law.

Previously, Adina served as the Assistant Dean of the Rabbinical School at JTS, and founded a synagogue in Englewood, New Jersey, modelling shared leadership and collective communal responsibility. Adina regularly enjoys speaking engagements in the US and Canada and publishing essays on topics including Jewish identity, modern Jewish law, leadership, Jewish innovation, sexual/gender diversity, multifaith/multiheritage marriage and engagement, and contemporary Jewish spirituality. She is married to Andi Lewittes, and has four children, two stepchildren, and one incredible dog.

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Wed, May 31 2023 11 Sivan 5783