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Want to be a good friend when someone of another faith is mourning a loved one? This program will show you how

five people having a group hug
The Good Funeral Guide
It can be difficult to know what to say or do when a friend or colleague of another religious culture loses a loved one. Faith leaders from five religions will discuss mourning customs and traditions during a panel event Sunday.

Talking about death isn't easy. Not understanding other religions' mourning rituals can make it even harder when a friend, neighbor or colleague loses a loved one. Leaders with five faiths are hosting a program Sunday to help people learn about their customs and traditions involving death, funerals and mourning.

"This program focuses on the value of people of different faiths gathering together to learn from one another, and that makes our community stronger. I believe that 100%," says Sandy Kaltman, a board member of Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati.

"It's important because we need to look for what we have in common, rather than what divides us. This is one of the many areas in life where people have much more in common than they might imagine with people from different faiths."

Hindu, Muslim, Sihk, Jewish and Baptist representatives will make presentations on their faith's mourning customs and traditions. There will also be time for questions. Afterward, people can participate in small group discussions and sample foods associated with various mourning rituals.

Why focus on what some might call a sad or taboo topic? Kaltman points out death is something everyone deals with.

"Sometimes we don't know how our observances may be different from those of our neighbors. It's part of being a good community member to try to learn more about how this very significant event, when it happens in a faith community other than yours, might impact your neighbor or your work colleague or a friend of yours," she says.

Shared Grief, Different Customs is Sunday, May 15 at 2:30 p.m. at the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati in West Chester. Advanced registration is requested. The event will also be livestreamed.

Kaltman will moderate the event with Shakila Ahmad of the Islamic Center. Panelists include the Rev. Terrence Hanks; Raj Bhatnagar, Ph.D.; Rabbi Karen Thomashow; Sheikh Hossam Musa; and Aasees Kaur with the Sikh Coalition.

Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati is a financial supporter of Cincinnati Public Radio.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.