As Jews we have a variety of both traditions as well as Jewish law to follow in regards to funerals and the way we care for our dead.
That being said we can assist you in both traditional and non-traditional services for your loved one.
Whether you are planning for the future for yourself or if planning today for a family member who has passed we recommend discussing your choices with both your family and Rabbi.
Jewish services are to be solemn religious services that respect the dignity of the deceased and survivors left behind.
The following is prohibited practice in respect to Jewish Law and traditions:
- Viewing of the deceased
- Above Ground Entombment
- Flowers and Music have no place at a Jewish Service
- Family and guest dress should reflect the solemnity of the occasion.
Traditionally Jewish Law requires the following:
- Shmeerah (Watching) - The watch over the deceased from the time of death, which can be done by a family member or other designated person. At the funeral home, the funeral director will typically designate a religiously observant Jew to take over the watch so the deceased is not left unattended
- Taharah (Purification) - Ritual washing of the deceased by members of the Chevra Kadisha “Burial Society” or in their absence/lack thereof religiously and physically competent Jewish person(s).
- Tachrichim (Burial Garment/Shroud) - The traditional white burial garments symbolizing all are equal before the creator. Men will also be buried with a Tallit.
- Oron (Casket) - Jewish caskets traditionally are designed from all wood construction with no metal fasteners, handles or adornments enabling their ability to biodegrade; to keep with the Biblical teaching “dust thou art and dust thou shalt return” There are a variety of types of wood that they can be constructed from.
- K’Reeah (Tearing of Garments) - The rending of the mourner’s outer garments, an outward sign of their anguish and grief.
- K’Vurah - The burial which takes place as soon after death as possible, family members and friends will fill the grave until a mound is formed. It is considered a privilege to assist in back filling the grave. Kaddish cannot be recited over an open grave.
The above list of requirements of Jewish law may vary in respect to the branch of Judaism you follow, your observance, your Rabbi and the cemetery you have chosen for burial.
We always welcome your call to discuss Jewish customs and would encourage you to speak with your Rabbi as well.