Jewish Burial in the Age of COVID-19

Photos by Mark Abramson

For full experience please go to the New York Magazine website.

Dignity for the dead for members of the Jewish community is something Chesed Shel Emes, a grassroots network of volunteers, has worked toward since the 1980s. No matter the obstacle, they never say “no” to any Jewish person in need of burial. “If you’re a member of AAA, they will come get you. If you’re a member of the Jewish community, even if you’re not an active member, we will come get you,” said Benjy Spiro, a volunteer of ten years.

The pandemic presented Chesed Shel Emes with unprecedented challenges, but the group continued its work. Unable to socially distance while carrying a coffin, volunteers knew they were taking a risk to bury those they would never know.