In Judaism we believe the ultimate kindness you can do for someone is an act of kindness that is no way, shape or form can be compensated. This is called a chessed emet and is often associated with burying one who has passed as they will never be able to return the favor.
On November 16, 2015 a huddle of 15 strangers gathered together on the hilltop of Har Menuchot to say goodbye to Wendy Brown. We (the Israel Maven team) met Wendy in 2014 when she joined a congregational trip with Beth Meyer – Raleigh to Israel. She was extremely moved by country as a whole and became incredibly inspired by her time here that when she was drafting her final resting place in 2014, she decided that when the time came, she wanted to be buried in Israel, in Jerusalem. We – some of us friends, most of us strangers stood united in the chapel and listened to the honest and touching eulogies from those who knew Wendy. A man named Yosef stood out from the crowd. Yosef arrived in order to pay his respects to Wendy. He linked himself to the rest of the attendees simply because he heard, via a Facebook post on a community page, that the funeral would be a small gathering and wanted to offer his show of consideration for Wendy’s passing and burial.
There are some philosophies that believe a funeral is a time to honor someone in death while others believe it is an opportunity to honor the deceased’s life. Last night on the chilly Jerusalem hilltop, it was neither. We were all there to simply honor the woman herself. There are many secrets to the Jewish people by and large and as time goes on the hidden secrets and mysteries become revealed. In banding together, in silence, in the dark, in the middle of November, I may propose that we spiritually charged the Jewish people and Wendy’s spirit in a modest and restful fashion. We wish peace and wholeness to our friend, Wendy.
(Written by: Raizee Nidam)