Necessary Mourning is written in an eloquent account of the traditional customs that are put into practice when a Jewish person dies providing a moving chronicle of the loss of Abraham-Klein's own father. This unique narrative crosses the boundary between psychology, spirituality and traditional Jewish ritual. Not only describing but also explaining the psychological significance behind Jewish practices and traditions, as Abraham-Klein moves through the five stages of mourning where at each stage it opens the door to a wider world and a broader understanding of life through touching death. The richly informative personal account deepens our understanding of the customs and traditions that inform the Jewish psychological response to death.
"The death of loved ones is always a profound and wrenching experience, and all cultures recognize the mourner's need to grieve and for both the individual and community to express respect for the dead. Jewish tradition includes numerous practices, rituals, laws, and customs that serve the quasi-therapeutic purpose of helping the bereaved to mourn and the community to heal and move beyond its loss. As Dahlia Abraham-Klein makes clear, in this regard, the functions of psychotherapy and religion, and their incisive understanding of human relations, overlap and intertwine. The genius of the Jewish tradition is in providing such rituals as Shiva in which the individual and community mourn the immediacy of the lost love one, or such commemorative community rituals as Yizkor, memorial prayer, which normalizes and universalizes the grieving process while imbuing it with deep symbolic meaning. Necessary Mourning simply and elegantly walks the reader through these meaningful rituals and customs, not to romanticize or whitewash suffering and death, but rather to affirm life and the continuity of generations and their linkages. The Bible tells us to “choose life,” which we can only do when we acknowledge grief and mortality."
"There are those of us who believe in God, and those who may not. Many have feelings for our traditions, but as a habit, may not practice or observe them. Except when we need to. Day to day ritual may not hold meaning for all. But at times of lifecycle events, be they joyous or sad, the presence of traditions and practices lend guidance and comfort. Dahlia has beautifully and intimately shared her journey with us, providing a heartfelt and understandable guide, filled with her personal feelings and our precious traditions to help you on your journey when mourning the loss of a parent. I too felt profound loss after the death of my father. The Jewish rituals and prescribed periods of mourning helped me tremendously in my journey of acceptance and healing. I recommend that each of you, whether or not you have experienced the loss of a parent, read this book. It will help you find comfort and help you to comfort others. May God comfort you all, with all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem."
"With enormous sensitivity, compassion and wisdom, Dahlia Abraham-Klein gives us a book from her heart and her mind: a guide to all of us whose hearts are broken by the death of someone we love. Drawing deeply from Judaism’s religious practices and teachings, she guides us in our mourning and shows us paths to loving and inspiring remembrance."