Bringing new life into an
existing Chevrah Kadisha
When Fred was appointed to be the chairman of Congregation Agudas Achim’s cemetery committee and head of its men’s Chevrah Kadisha in February 2014, both the men’s Chevrah and the women’s Chevrah had six members, whose ages ranged from the mid-fifties to eighty. The men’s Chevrah performed Taharah in a perfunctory manner that seemed to me to lack any true spirituality.
Fred set himself two goals as the chairman of the cemetery committee and Rosh of the men’s Chevrah. The first was to increase the membership of both the men’s, and women’s Chevrahs. The second was to imbue our Taharah with greater dignity and spirituality.
Fred A. Helms is a student in the Gamliel Institute. Fred has worked as an attorney for many years. He says: "I joined my congregation’s Chevra Kadisha as a way of repaying my community for the support and comfort they gave my wife and me after our son died in 2010. In 2012, the chairman of the congregation’s cemetery committee and rosh of the men’s Chevrah Kadisha selected me as his assistant and successor. He died in January 2014, and I decided to attend the Gamliel Institute’s annual conference in March to prepare me for my new duties. I was so impressed with the conference, I enrolled in the Institute’s website educational program which has also proved invaluable in helping me help others."