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Burial society running out of prayer shawls to use as shrouds, seeks donations

A chevra kadisha society serving Queens and Long Island is facing a critical shortage of tallit and soliciting donations from the community.

The society was short on essential supplies “due to the pandemic and the increased number of Jewish people who have passed away in recent weeks,” wrote a volunteer on Facebook.

Chevra kadisha societies are volunteer organizations that prepare bodies for burial according to traditional Jewish law. Jewish men must be buried with a tallis, or ritual prayer shawl.

The coronavirus pandemic has placed unprecedented strain on chevra kadisha societies. Even as the need for burial services increases, many volunteers can no longer work due to age or underlying conditions.

On Facebook, volunteers solicited donations of old or unused tallit from members of the community. Any donations would help to fulfill “the incredible mitzvah of honoring the deceased,” the post said.

If you would like to donate a tallis, here’s how:

– Drop it off in a plastic bin in front of 136-06 71st Road in Kew Gardens Hills – Mail it to Mount Richmond Cemetery, 420 Clarke Avenue, Staten Island, 10306

Irene Katz Connelly is an editorial fellow at the Forward. You can contact her at connelly@forward.com.

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