Now that we have passed the annual Selichot service, and we are about to enter into the days of awe, it is again time to pause and take stock, review where Expired and Inspired has been, where it is, and where it is going. It is appropriate – Elul is a time of introspection, retrospection, and prospection.
Expired and Inspired began as a concept in early 2014 as a way to share some of the experiences, thoughts, emotions, and learnings of those engaged in the work of the Chevrah Kadisha and the Jewish end-of-life continuum, spanning everything from caring for and comforting those who were ill and recovering; supporting those who were approaching the end of life and their families; accompanying the deceased through the traditional tasks of the Chevrah Kadisha in Shmirah, Taharah, and Levaya; and comforting those who were mourning. We published our first article in June 2014. The goal was to publish weekly, and we did so for about three years running, then we had a short hiatus with less frequent publication, and then we picked up the pace again.
When the Los Angeles Jewish Journal changed their publishing platform, it wreaked havoc with our blog, and made it much more challenging to publish on a regular schedule. After limping along for another couple of years, we finally determined that the only way to assure that we could publish what we wanted the way we wanted to publish it was to create our own website. It took a while: it was not just the blog, but the entire Kavod v’Nichum website that had to be redesigned, implemented, and brought into being, and our expertise is in the realm of the Chevrah Kadisha and the dying and dead. We certainly did not want to create a dead website! So it took us a while. Finally, in June of 2019 the new Kavod v’Nichum website was unveiled, and along with it, the fledgling Expired And Inspired blog site! The Jewish-Funerals.org website is now up, running, and looking great. And I am happy to say that Jewish-Funerals.blog is also up and running – still in final development, and being populated with all of the prior content, but working and serving as the home for Expired and Inspired.
We started out with the thought of a limited focus, aimed at an audience of Chevrah Kadisha members and those who wished to be part of this work. Very quickly, though, the focus expanded in unexpected directions. We began to receive submissions that talked about how people came to this work, what motivated them, what they felt – what moved them and why, how it fulfilled them and – difficult as it could be – offered them rewards they could not have imagined. We began to have ‘technical’ submissions – ‘how to’, ‘history of’, ‘alternatives and other ways’ articles. Our focus has expanded and incorporated whatever you, our readers, who are also our contributors, chose to bring forth and include.
Now we offer articles on a vast array and a wide variety of topics, with a panoply of views represented. All thanks to you, our readers and contributors.
High Holy Days are often the time for an appeal. This is no different in that respect, but here is the ask. If you have an idea for a blog, or are willing to submit something you have written, PLEASE be in touch. If it is at all relevant to our focus, we probably want to include it! You can send your submission to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at email@example.com. I am eagerly awaiting whatever you want to share that others would be interested in reading.
And please allow me to offer to you a warm wish for a Shanah Tovah Umetukah in 5780. May you have many blessings, much joy, and a true sense of meaning in what you do. I extend this wish on behalf of the entire faculty and staff of the Gamliel Institute, and the staff and Board of Directors of Kavod v’Nichum.