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Gamliel Institute

Student Projects


Conducting Jewish Death Cafés

Project Abstract


At a Death Cafe people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death. The objective is 'to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives'.


A Death Cafe is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counselling session.


Our Death Cafes are always offered:


- On a not for profit basis


- In an accessible, respectful and confidential space


- With no intention of leading people to any conclusion, product or course of action


- Alongside refreshing drinks and nourishing food – and cake!


Death Cafes have spread quickly across Europe, North America and Australasia. As of today, 2736 Death Cafes have taken place since September 2011. If 10 people came to each one that would be 27360 participants. There are people who are keen to talk about death and that many are passionate enough to organise their own Death Cafe.



Student Profile


Rena Boroditsky is the Executive Director of the Chesed Shel Emes, the non-profit Jewish funeral chapel and Chevrah Kadisha in Winnipeg, Canada. For nineteen years,

she has been a student and teacher of  at Kavod v'Nichum conferences and at Limmud events in the US & Canada. She has served in past as a board member of Kavod v'Nichum, and was appointed to another term as an officer at the February 2015 Kavod v’Nichum conference. She has been a lecturer and student in the Gamliel Institute. In conjunction with Chesed Shel Emes, she recently launched Death Cafe Winnipeg. Rena is a member of the first graduating class of the Gamliel Institute, having completed the required studies and projects, and she has returned recently from the inaugural Israel Study Mission which is the heart of the sixth course in the Gamliel Institute curriculum, International Perspectives.