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S G Wilkerson Funeral Home


Basics To Know When Attending Jewish Funerals

Respect for the deceased is exhibited by following the rules of Jewish Funeral Etiquette. The memorial service is a gathering to grieve together. Family members should be allowed to start each conversation. Then friends can share memories.

The body is not left alone from the time the individual dies until the time of burial. A family member will be present during the preparation for burial. As the body is washed it is not proper to allow it to lie face down.

Custom mandates that men prepare men for burial and women prepare women. Each will be dressed in a simple white shroud. This assures that rich and poor are buried with an equal amount of dignity.

The body is placed in a wooden casket allowing it to eventually be turned into dust. Those who mourn express it by rending their garments. This means they tear their outer clothing as an expression of their grief.

The burial must take place within 48 hours of the time of death. A closed casket is customary. A rabbi will pray at the memorial service in the Hebrew language. Family members will offer eulogies.

Conservative clothing in dark colors is the customary clothing for family and friends to wear. No casual clothes are permitted, such as sandals or shorts. That would show a lack of respect on this solemn occasion.

The group at the graveside service is all relatives. After the burial, the family observes a time of mourning called sitting shiva. During that time neighbors and friends visit and bring gifts of food.

Kosher foods and other meals are all acceptable gifts. The family is supposed to be able to avoid cooking during the mourning period. Visitors share memories of the deceased in the form of anecdotes and stories. Jewish Funeral Etiquette encourages showing that the one who passed away will be missed and remembered.


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