Reflections on End of Life: Jewish Traditions and Law on Death and Dying
This class is the first in a series of 4 classes. Toby Rosen, Chapter 13 Trustee, and Jennifer Chestnut, executive Director of Hillel at Kent State University will lead the discussion on Jewish traditions regarding death and dying.
In Judaism, life is valued above almost all else. The Talmud notes that all people are descended from a single person, thus taking a single life is like destroying an entire world, and saving a single life is like saving an entire world.
In Judaism, death is not a tragedy, even when it occurs early in life or through unfortunate circumstances. Death is a natural process. Our deaths, like our lives, have meaning and are all part of G-d's plan.
Mourning practices in Judaism are extensive, but they are not an expression of fear or distaste for death. Jewish practices relating to death and mourning have two purposes: to show respect for the dead (kavod ha-met), and to comfort the living (nihum avelim), who will miss the deceased.
(Extracted from Judaism 101 http://www.jewfaq.org/death.htm)