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Saber Funeral Home


What You Should Learn When Learning Traditions For Jewish Funeral

According to Jewish funeral traditions, the deceased should never be left unattended. A watchmen, or "Shomer" stays with the body from death until the funeral and burial. Usually the family will stay with the deceased as well. The first person to call upon a death is the rabbi, who will set the time of the funeral. Funerals are held in the synagogue or temple, however many modern Jewish families are opting for graveside services 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.

Unless it is required by local laws, Jews do not take part in the embalming process, which is used for sanitation and temporary preservation of the body. Instead, the sacred society, called the Chevra Kadisha, prepares the body for burial. They perform the Taharah, a type of Jewish 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.

The actual funeral itself lasts around 20 or 30 minutes and consists of a reading of Psalms, other Scripture readings, and the eulogy. Either before or after the services, mourners perform K'riah, the rendering of the garment. While some mourners will tear their clothes, many people today simply attach a black ribbon to their clothing. As you can see, there are many Jewish funeral traditions that mourners of other faiths do not follow.


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