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Saying Kaddish: How to Comfort the Dying, Bury the Dead, and Mourn as a Jew Paperback – July 12, 1999


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Saying Kaddish: How to Comfort the Dying, Bury the Dead, and Mourn as a Jew + Mourning & Mitzvah: A Guided Journal for Walking the Mourner's Path Through Grief to Healing
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Schocken (July 12, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805210881
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805210880
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"In the past, when a Jew died, no one asked, 'When should we schedule the funeral?' or 'How much would you like to spend on the casket?' or 'Where will she be buried?'"

The law and the synagogue had ready answers to all of these questions, as Anita Diamant notes in Saying Kaddish. Yet today, Jews must grapple with dozens of questions that make the process of grief difficult to understand in religious terms--questions such as, "How can I, as a Jew-by-choice, mourn for my Catholic father or my Baptist sister?" Diamant's book guides readers to make responsible decisions about how to honor the dead with integrity. Her practical advice is complemented by personal reflections and historical explanations, in a book that will help readers find their way, and make them feel less alone, in the excruciatingly lonely process of grief. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Diamant relates that the Jewish practices of mourning the dead and comforting the mourners can bring meaning out of chaos. Diamant explains why the Kaddish prayer remains such a powerful religious, cultural, and communal part of Jewish life, and she places this prayer in its liturgical and historical context. Diamant focuses on how Jews deal with the reality of death, from the sickroom until the end of the funeral, and she explains the mitzvah of honoring the body. She describes the customs of the seven-day period of mourning and the first-year period of mourning, unveiling the tombstone, and visiting the grave. Diamant also discusses the difficult issues of mourning for non-Jewish loved ones, neonatal loss, and suicide. An appendix deals with writing a will. This comprehensive guide answers many of the questions that contemporary Jews may have in a time of grief. George Cohen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

In my first novel, The Red Tent, I re-imagined the culture of biblical women as close, sustaining, and strong, but I am not the least bit nostalgic for that world without antibiotics, or birth control, or the printed page. Women were restricted and vulnerable in body, mind, and spirit, a condition that persists wherever women are not permitted to read.

When I was a child, the public library on Osborne Terrace in Newark, New Jersey, was one of the first places I was allowed to walk to all by myself. I went every week, and I can still draw a map of the children's room, up a flight of stairs,where the Louisa May Alcott books were arranged to the left as you entered.
Nonfiction, near the middle of the room, was loaded with biographies. I read several about Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, and Helen Keller, with whom I share a birthday.

But by the time I was 11, the children's library was starting to feel confining,so I snuck downstairs to the adult stacks for a copy of The Good Earth. (I had overheard a grown-up conversation about the book and it sounded interesting.)The librarian at the desk glanced at the title and said I wasn't old enough for the novel and furthermore my card only entitled me to take out children's books.

I defended my choice. I said my parents had given me permission, which was only half a fib since my mother and father had never denied me any book. Eventually,the librarian relented and I walked home, triumphant. I had access to the BIG LIBRARY. My world would never be the same.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This is extremely informative and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
Amazon Customer
The book offers insights into Jewish mourning traditions and rituals, but the lessons are applicable and comforting to anyone.
S. Pooler
Great information, well written, easy to understand and difficult to put down once you begin reading.
Gina Allensworth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ann M. Thomas on May 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book written from a generally liberal point of view. It explains the traditions surrounding Jewish death and mourning and gently encourages the reader to follow them, without being judgmental of those who choose other paths. As I await my mother's death, I am learning many things about my faith... and as the author points out, expanding one's knowledge of Judaism is a mitzvah for the mourner.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Chizeck on January 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book. It provides full information on Jewish death and mourning laws and customs, but also talks more about the spiritual connotations of these practices. It is a wonderful companion to Lamm's more detailed book. Unlike Lamm, she talks about the full gamut of observances from orthodox to reform for each stage of the mourning process. She provides not only liturgy but meaningful poems and discusses how people have used some of these readings for personal rituals.

Her writing is excellent and you feel like she is a loving friend guiding you through the difficult emotions of death and mourning. She anticipated many of the emotions and stages I encountered in my recent mourning. It is not depressing but hopeful, bringing you connection to the community of other Jews who have had losses.

Actually, even if you are not Jewish I think it could be a helpful guide to the stages of dying and mourning and help anyone work through the death of a loved one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
Anita is an excellent writer and relates Jewish custom in an understanding way, always acknowledging that different types of Jews chose to celebrate/mourn differently. She is never condescending and does not Judge. This is extremely informative and I would highly recommend it to anyone. I personally have been comforted by the book as it has explained my role during the death of a loved one.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By j on June 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
The book is well written, but is neither the most thorough treatment of the topic, nor the most authentic treatment. Readers wanting to know what the Jewish traditions are, and why, and how to do them, will want Lamm's book on this subject. Readers who enjoy presentation and validation of creative but non-traditional practices adapted or invented by less observant Jewish mourners will enjoy this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stephen W. Skrainka on November 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book takes you gently step by step though the process from comforting the dying, through burial, grieving, unveiling, the first year and beyond. For those liberal Jews seeking help though this process and others wanting to understand Jewish practices and wisdom about death, dying, and grieving. There are suggestions of appropriate prayers and practices. The tone is descriptive, not prescriptive. Several short chapters develop the history and meaning of the Kaddish prayer. Want to know how to hold an unveiling or who to invite? Or why Jews leave pebbles at a grave, not flowers? This book is for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Yaron on October 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Though I have been getting in touch with my Judaism over the past year and attending shul regularly, when my grandmother suddenly passed away I found myself asking many questions. Going to shabbat services is great for embracing Judaism for everyday life, but there are many things about the Jewish tradition associated with death, especially of a family member, that you just don't get exposed to normally. This book was a wonderful guidance in the days following my grandmother's death and for weeks afterwards, as I embraced what my culture traditionally did and remembering that I am just one person; while many people have passed away before, and many still will, death and healing are very raw and critical part of life and not something to hide from.

I didn't really want to do the whole "healing exercise" thing that other books recommended, I just wanted to heal my way with some guidance from somebody who knows what the tradition usually is. This book was perfect for that.
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By Judy from New Jersey on August 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
I keep a copy of the this book on reserve and have passed them on to others who suddenly find them having to Say Kaddish. The information helps make a difficult experience more complete and understood. Unfortunately, this year I needed a copy of this book a week after my daughter's wedding, when my sister passed away. I quickly borrowed my girlfriend's to bring to my niece's home. I then had to purchase my friend a new one.

I can also recommend Ms. Diamont's book The New Jewish Wedding Book!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book came in great condition and promptly, I have been reading it, and will add it to my collection of books on Judaica.
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