Loading Events

Jewish How To: Funeral Planning

Hosted By: Shomer Collective

Event Contact

The Shomer Collective is here to teach you everything you didn’t know you needed to know about planning Jewish funerals. Together with Samuel Salkin of Sinai Chapel in San Francisco and Stephanie Garry of Plaza Jewish Community Chapel in Manhattan, explore both the practical and Jewishly inspired decision points, helping you to feel confident in your own planning or supporting a loved one in this process.


Samuel Salkin is Executive Director of Sinai Chapel in San Francisco since 2010. Sam has extensive managerial and leadership experience in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. He received his B.S. and M.S. from Cornell University and is a licensed funeral director.

Stephanie Garry is the Executive Vice President,Communal Partnerships at Plaza Community Chapel in Manhattan. Prior to that, Stephanie was Chief Administrative Officer for six years after having served as Director of Community Relations for 12 years. Originally from the Midwest, Stephanie has always been involved in the Jewish Community, even during the 25 years she was an actor, appearing in over 1500 commercials. From 1995-1997, Stephanie was President of Temple Shaaray Tefila, a Reform congregation in Northern Westchester, and has remained a member of this temple ever since. Stephanie has served as Community Outreach co-chair for the Westchester Chapter of The American Jewish Committee and is a past member of the North American Advisory Board and Executive Committee of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. For twelve years she was a member of the North American Board of The Union for Reform Judaism, and for two years was a member of the Oversight Committee. Stephanie is a former member of The Commission for Social Action and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of CAJAC (Community Alliance for Jewish- Affiliated Cemeteries). Stephanie is a member of Congregation Rodeph Sholom where she is a member of the caring committee and a member of Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City. Stephanie was a member of UJA’s SYNERGY Coordinating Council for 3 years, was on the Advisory Board of ImmerseNYC, and was a member of the National Board of Directors of the Bnai Zion Foundation. Currently, she is a board member of Jewish Womens Foundation of New York and The Hadassah Foundation. Stephanie is an associate member of the National Association of Temple Administrators and is a long-standing member of the lay advisory board of The New York Board of Rabbis. in addition, Stephanie was honored to be part of ReImagine 360.

In conversation with:

Rabbi Melanie Levav is the founding Executive Director of the Shomer Collective. In Jewish practice, a shomer (Hebrew: guard) sits with the body of the deceased from the time of death until the time of burial, accompanying the soul on the beginning of its journey in separating from the body. Shomer Collective seeks to accompany individuals and families on their journey to plan for end of life, by curating resources that elevate Jewish wisdom, values, and practices. Melanie was ordained as a rabbi ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary, is a board-certified chaplain, and a licensed social worker.