Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis
Rabbi Ephraim MirvisReuters

The British Chief Rabbi is encouraging women who wish to recite the Mourner's Kaddish for loved ones to do so, reported Jewish News.

A new United Synagogue guide published on Wednesday helps women who wish to say the prayer but who may have previously felt uncomfortable about doing so, since it has traditionally been recited by men.

The Mourner's Kaddish is an Aramaic prayer extolling the name of God. Mourners recite it at the funeral, during the shiva period of mourning and on the anniversary of the death of a loved one. It is recited by bereaved sons every day for eleven months after a parent's death, during all three daily prayers with the congregation responding to the mourner's words at specific points in the prayer.

“I hope this guide demystifies the process of saying Kaddish, sorting the myths from the facts, and makes a real difference to the grieving process for women in our community,” said Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.

The booklet, which has been sent out to all United Synagogue communities as well as to rabbis, Rebbetzens, Burial Societies and cemeteries, also gives other suggestions for ways in which mourners can memorialize a loved one who has passed away.

These include learning Torah in the name of their loved one; helping others; praying and saying Psalms; giving a Dvar Torah in shul, at home or among friends; and giving tzedaka (charity) in the name of a loved one.

“Judaism provides a framework in which we remember our loved ones and sanctify their memory,” said Rabbi Baruch Davis, chair of the Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue. “We hope that all men and women who recite Kaddish for their loved ones will find it a meaningful experience and we shall do our utmost to see that this is so.”