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February 02, 2012 - Image 22

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-02-02

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>> Jews in the digital age

Making Shivah Easier
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11153 111

hen Sharon Rosen's
mother passed away in
July 2009 she had the
same eye-opening realization that
many survivors do during the week of
shivah: The death of a loved one can
be a stressful, anxiety-ridden time.
Overwhelmed with sadness
and the reality of her loss,
Rosen experienced plan-
ning a funeral and coor-
dination of shivah in her
home for the first time.
During the shivah period,
Rosen felt like she took on
the job of logistics director
and wasn't able to be fully
in the moment to reflect on
her loss. She was frustrated
with all of the planning
taking place for the shivah
at her home. Even though
friends were taking care of many
things, it was still a hectic, difficult
time for her.
Friends sent food for the mourners
gathered at Rosen's home, but despite
their best intentions, some of the plat-
ters were delivered when there was
already ample food and no room to
refrigerate the remaining food over-
night. Questions and concerns about
food created unnecessary additional
anxiety. Rosen felt like she had lost
control as friends gathered in her
home for a week, cleaning, setting out
food and rearranging furniture.
Rosen used this stressful experience
to create an innovative new website

so others mourning the death of a
loved one could find shivah to be an
easier ritual. Realizing that increasing
numbers of people rely on the Internet
for information and as a convenient
way to communicate, Rosen created a
comprehensive website that organizes
every aspect of the shivah
experience. She dedicated
the new endeavor to her
mother's memory and, after
a year of research, design
and building, she launched
ShivaConnect.com .
"I thought of other regis-
try technologies like a wed-
ding registry or baby registry
where information is posted,
and I worked with my pro-
grammer to develop a shivah
registry:' Rosen said.
What Rosen created was
a quick and convenient way to connect
with people online. Recognizing that
mourners have several matters to take
care of immediately following a death,
the site allows for the quick entry of
information and creates a link to the
registry that is sent to the creator of
the registry entry and is additionally
emailed, texted or tweeted to relatives
and friends. There is also a "Search
for a Registry" option on the site, but
the registries are not visible to search
engines and a lock-down privacy
option is possible.
Visitors can express their condo-
lences and learn about the Jewish
mourning rituals from educational

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