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Category Archives: Kaddish and Mourning

While it is easy to turn to G-d in thanks & at happy events, it can be difficult to include tragedy in our relationship with G-d. However, it is important to include it as part of our spiritual lives. If we relate the gift of a baby to G-d, we also need to find a way to turn to G-d when that gift is taken away.
It is important for our spiritual and psychological well-being that we find a way to mourn and grieve within the framework of our religion, which provides us with comfort in other times of sorrow.

It is often noted that the Jewish laws of mourning give the healthiest structure for someone to come to terms with their loss. The space and time provided by the shiva, in particular, enables the bereaved to mourn, grieve, and then heal. But these laws do not apply to the loss of a baby younger than thirty days. This seems harsh to us now, but before the wonders of modern medicine, stillbirths and infant deaths were more normal than not, and to mourn and grieve for each one was seen as excessive.

But now, when pregnant women routinely give birth to healthy babies who live to adulthood, the loss of a baby, before or after birth, is a much greater wound. In these circumstances we often stumble over the lack of a mourning structure, and can become lost in the grief of perinatal loss. There is a great need for both prayers and rituals to help us through our grief; much of them adapted from ‘regular’ burial prayers, some of them the result of a creativity born of suffering.

This section contains some suggested prayers, texts and rituals for mourning perinatal loss. Some are relevant to early miscarriage, some to later miscarriage or stillbirth, some to infant loss. Please peruse them, use those which will be helpful to you, ignore those which do not feel relevant; everyone is different, and what one person finds meaningful can be completely unhelpful to the next. If you have any further ideas, please contact me at amanda@jewishpregnancyloss.org. Please also see Links, for websites which are regularly updated with new ideas and outlines for rituals.

Click here to read about the way that two different New York hospitals help parents grive after losing a baby.

Click here to read one grandmother’s story about a memorial service and how it helped her family grieve.

  1. Hospital baby bereavement programs December 15, 2010

    Posted in Kaddish and Mourning.

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  2. Are you mine? A poem on stillbirth May 12, 2010

    Posted in Prayers, Stillbirth.

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  3. Words of comfort and hope January 26, 2010

    Posted in Prayers, Why?.

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  4. Texts of mourning and loss January 20, 2010

    Posted in Mourning, Prayers.

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  5. Prayers Before Going to Sleep January 20, 2010

    Posted in Prayers.

    1 comment
  6. Kaddish; & what to do when you can’t recite it January 6, 2010

    Posted in Burial and Mourning, Kaddish.

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  7. Mourning without mourning January 6, 2010

    Posted in Mourning.

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  8. Jewish Laws of Mourning:Stillbirth & neonatal death January 6, 2010

    Posted in Burial and Mourning, Infant death, Mourning, Stillbirth.

    1 comment
  9. Further Reading: Loss, Love and Mourning December 17, 2009

    Posted in Links, Mourning.

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  10. Burial Societies August 16, 2009

    Posted in Mourning.

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  11. An Exploration of Jewish Sources on Perinatal Loss May 4, 2009

    Posted in Jewish sources, Why?.

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