How to Plan a Funeral
Grief & Healing
Help & Guidance
Jewish Grieving Customs
Facing the Legalities
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There are many customs within the Jewish faith that need to be completed directly after the passing of a loved one. The planning process for a Jewish funeral service also involves a significant amount of rules and rituals and therefore, there is typically a lack of time when preparing for the funeral. To avoid this stress and instead, spend that time grieving with your other loved ones, it is important to understand the steps involved in planning a Jewish funeral. We have created a Jewish funeral planning guide that details each of the steps in the planning process, to ensure you are well prepared.
Here at AM Israel Mortuary, we take pride in our attention to detail and our assistance with planning a Jewish funeral. Our team of compassionate and dedicated funeral professionals has helped many families say a respectful goodbye with one of our funeral services. If you have any questions or are in need of assistance with planning a Jewish funeral service, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Below, we have provided our Jewish funeral planning guide that outlines many of the important decisions you must make during the planning process. When reading through the guide, it is important to keep in mind that it is intended for traditional Jewish burial and funeral services, and that some steps may vary if you choose cremation or a less traditional Jewish service.
It is important to notify the immediate family first and if possible, in person.
Call family members that live out of town, however, try to make sure they are not alone when receiving the news.
Make a list of other people that should be notified about the passing. This could include close friends, employers, co-workers, neighbors, and extended family.
It is recommended to have other immediate family members help you make these calls.
Contact the funeral home to discuss transporting your loved one and begin the arrangement process
Determine if your loved one had a plan pre arranged for their burial and funeral service.
If there is a plan, review it and follow it accordingly.
Choose a cemetery where you would like your loved one to be buried
Decide if the deceased will be buried with their tallit (prayer shawl) or if it will be kept as a family heirloom
Keep in mind that flowers are typically not displayed at Jewish gravesites.
A common substitute to flowers is to donate to a charity of your choice on behalf of your loved one.
Notify your loved one’s synagogue of the passing
Decide who will perform the ceremony itself
Consult the funeral home on the type of service you would like, this includes choosing between a graveside service or a formal funeral that takes place at a synagogue.
Discuss small add-ons you want to accompany the funeral service such as prayer cards.
Finalize the arrangement with the funeral director when you are fully satisfied with all of your decisions.
Collaborate with the funeral home and service officiant about the exact format of the funeral service, and how family and friends will participate through giving the eulogy and other readings/prayers.
Estimate the number of guests that will be at the funeral
As a family, decide who will deliver the eulogy
Discuss with the funeral home, the logistics in terms of transportation to the synagogue and to the cemetery.
Decide as a family if you will participate in the tradition of kriah.
Kriah refers to the act of tearing one’s garments to express your grief and anger due to the loss of a loved one. In today’s Jewish faith, a black ribbon can be used as a substitute to a piece of your loved one’s clothing.
Notify all guests of the location and time of the funeral service
Create a handout with the shiva information to be given to the guests.
Be sure to include the address of where shiva will be observed and the hours during which visitors are welcome.
Many Jewish families have a traditional meal, called a “seudat havra’ah”, following the funeral ceremony. This meal is intended for immediate family members rather than a public condolence event, and represents a sense of community as they enter into a new stage of their lives without their loved one, since the meal is prepared by people within the community. Some things that need to be completed prior to the seudat havra’ah are listed below.
The rabbi, friends or extended family members should make arrangements for this light meal (not the mourners)
Place a pitcher of water, a basin and towels outside the door for guests to use upon arrival
If you are preparing the meal, ensure the food is simple and generally round such as hard-boiled eggs or bagels, as this symbolizes the cycle of life
Traditionally within the Jewish culture, Shiva is a seven-day mourning period after the death of a loved-one, in which the immediate family stays home, refrains from work or school, and receives visitors that wish to pay condolences. There are a few things that need to be done prior to the Shiva and we have listed them below for your convenience.
Inform your employer of the need for an absence from work
Set a schedule for visiting hours and when additional services will take place
Inform extended family and members of the community of when the visiting hours will take place.
Common visitors will include extended family, friends, co-workers, casual acquaintances, and general members of the community, including those who belong to the temple, where the deceased was a member.
Discuss with the synagogue or funeral home any additional help you may need
If you have any questions regarding our Jewish funeral planning checklist, please do not hesitate to contact us today. AM Israel Mortuary is a team of experienced and dedicated professionals, and are more than willing to offer our help planning a Jewish funeral.