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M E Fisher Funeral Home


Facts To Learn When Learning Jewish Funeral Traditions

It is a Jewish funeral traditions not to leave the deceased unattended. The family or those conducting the funeral services must provide a Shomer, or watchmen, who will sit with the body until the burial. The very first person to be called upon a death is the rabbi, who decides upon a time for funeral proceedings. Funerals are typically held in the temple or synagogue, although many Jewish families are now opting for a graveside service only.

Jews do not believe in viewing the body after death; it is disrespectful because the deceased person cannot look back at you. Therefore, Jewish funerals are usually closed casket.

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.

They bathe the body and dress it in the Tachrichim, which is the traditional burial garment. It is a simple shroud without any pockets. This symbolizes to all that the deceased does not take any material possessions with them when they leave this world and that God will judge them based on their merits and deeds alone.

While families choose their own caskets, Jewish tradition calls for unadorned caskets made of wood that contain no metal. The family also decides on funeral details, but there are typically no floral arrangements as this is seen as unnecessary and frivolous.

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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