B’almah Resources

B’almah/In the World is a project to explore the richness of Jewish traditions—ancient and modern—that move loss towards the creative renewal of individual, family and community life. Below are the topics and associated resources for B’almah. (Click here for complete B’almah Resource Book.)

Eulogy:  Beautiful Truth
Weep for the mourners, not for the soul that is gone…This is how an ancient Jewish eulogy begins. This is the beginning of a beautiful truth. Eulogies speak about departing, but also about lasting and enduring. These are the beautiful truths that deserve to be spoken.
Eulogy- Beautiful Truth
After Many Years of Life – Amichai

How Much Have I Learned! How Much Have I Learned?
A conversation about a sage who examines his life’s yield as he yields life. An ancient storyteller and modern poet offer a timeless account of anger and urgency, of regret and reconciliation.
How Much Have I Learned!
After Many Years of Life – Amichai

From Breakdown to Breakthrough
During seven days of re-creation we sit with loss and from its broken threads begin to weave a world. What are the lessons of shiva?
Two Shiva Stories
Seven Days of Community Mourning

Mourning Has Broken: Bringing Mourning to a Close
Jewish tradition asks: Is there a point at which mourning moves beyond usefulness? A conversation about the practices of mourning which help us live loss back into the world.
Limits of Community Mourning
The Pain – Rayah Harnick
Time – Rayah Harnick

Eternally Naming
A conversation about how we name and are named. A name becomes the carrier of a life and a personality. The name remains always in the spoken world of the living, ready to shape and be shaped by new life. Our names often represent loss moved forward into the world.
God’s Names – Rivka Miriam
Everyone Has A Name – Zelda

Candle and Soul
“The Lord’s candle is the human soul,” says Proverbs. “The soul is attached to the body as a flame to its wick,” another tradition says. The candle burns in the place where we gather to honor loss, making present the powerful and fragile connection between soul and body.
Candle and Soul

Covering Mirrors, Uncovering the Truth
A conversation about an ancient Jewish tradition which teaches that a covered mirror reflects loss. Perhaps by covering the reflected image, we can uncover reflection and imagination that help us to see the face of loss.
Loving Reflections
From My Mother’s House – Leah Goldberg

Language of Silence
A conversation about articulating the un-sayable, as we search for a language that sustains us when words fail.
Demanding Silence
A Heavy Silence – Zelda

Bearing Loss
There is great wisdom in the traditions of carrying loss to the cemetery and then carrying community back home. A conversation that explores ancient and modern texts about bearing loss.
Bearing Loss

Re-Collected Life
An exploration of texts in which ancient and modern sages urge us to weave moments of gain and loss into a whole life fabric.
Re-collected Life
The Angel Who Redeems – Amichai
After Many Years of Life – Amichai

“God Full of Compassion:” A Traditional Memorial Prayer
An exploration of the place of compassion in a world recently remade by loss.
God Full of Compassion – Memorial Prayer
God Full of Compassion – Amichai

Monuments and Memorials
In Jewish tradition, monuments mark the past and point the way towards the future.
Monumental Presence
Windows And Gravestones – Amichai

Ethical Wills: A Legacy of Ideas and Ideals
The ancient tradition of Ethical Wills prompts us to ask an important Rosh Hashanah question: What is the best of ourselves that we can offer to a renewed world?
• My Ethical Will

From Regret to Return
When mortality is in the air, the scent of hope and possibility are not far behind.
Regret and Return – Maimonides

Early Mourning Anger
A conversation about how mourner and community begin to engage loss during its early moments.
Early Mourning

Ripping: Tears of Anger and Loss
An exploration of ancient and modern insights into the act of ripping and tearing, our first expression of loss.
A Time for Tearing and Mending
Invisible Mending – C.K. Williams

Leave-taking: The Paradox of Parting
An exploration of ancient stories and modern poetry in which parting involves both leaving and taking.
Leave Taking – Berachot
My Father Was God – Amichai

Imagining the End of Moses
An ancient rabbinic tale offers a Moses who meets loss and mortality in a surprising and strengthening way.
Imagining the End of Moses

A Blessing for Bad News?
We do not celebrate bad news, but rather we celebrate the dignity and power of response to loss.
Blessing for Bad News

Honoring Fragile Strength: Visiting the Sick
Fragile human strength (especially during Sukkot, the season of fragile structures) is most apparent when we are sick or when we visit the sick. The mitzvah of Bikkur Holim, Visiting the Sick, looks to life and not to loss.
Honoring Fragile Strength

Remembering: When The Past Bursts into the Future
The theme of Remembering and Forgetting is a prologue to the High Holidays and its season of Yizkor/Remembering.
Every Person Is A Dam – Amichai
And Who Will Remember – Amichai
Standing Between The Living And The Dead

Holding Loss: From Closed Fist to Open Hand
An exploration of Jewish sources that move loss towards creative renewal of individual, family and community life.
From Clenched Fist to Open Hand
She is Free – Amichai

Living with Loss: Conversation with the Kaddish
A conversation between Jewish traditions that move loss towards creative renewal of individual, family and community life.
Mourner’s Kaddish
So Will I Be Magnified and Sanctified – Amichai