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Dafford Funeral


Basics To Expect When Dealing With Jewish Funeral Traditions

Following Jewish funeral traditions, mourners should never leave the deceased unattended. A Shomer, or "watchcmen", must stay with the deceased from their death until the time of the funeral and burial. The family typically supplies the watchmen and other family and close friends in mourning will stay with the body as well. Upon a death, the family must first call the rabbi, who will proceed with funeral arrangements and set a time for the funeral. Funerals are in the temple or synagoge, although modern Jews often hold graveside services only.

The Jewish custom calls for a closed casket and no viewing of the body because it is disrespectful to look at a person that is unable to look back.

Embalming, a process used for sanitation and temporary preservation, is avoided unless it is required by local law. The sacred society, or the Chevra Kadisha usually take on the role of preparing the body. This is a group of pious Jewish followers who perform the Jewish Taharah, or purification.

The body is bathed and dressed in shrouds, called Tachrichim, which is the traditional burial garment. It is a simple garment with no pockets that symbolizes the fact that we take nothing with us when we leave this world and that we will be judged by God on our deeds and merits and not material possessions.

It is tradition that the casket be of wood only with no metal or other adornments. It is also customary to not have floral arrangements at the funeral as these are seen as unnecessary.

Funerals usually last anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. They consist of a eulogy, Scripture readings, and reading of the Psalms. Family members and other mourners perform the K'riah, or the rendering of the garment, either before or after the ceremony. This consists of tearing their clothing or placing a black ribbon on the outside of their clothes to show that they are in mourning. While Jewish funeral traditions are not kept as strictly as they once were, they are still followed by those in the Jewish faith.


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