Jewish Funeral Service
Baruch dayan emet
About Jewish Funeral Service
Jewish funeral usually takes place within one day from the date of death and these are solemn and reflective services accompanied by a celebration at the home of the mourner, which marks the beginning of the shiva. The first seven days after the funeral are known as shiva, and usually the mourners stay at home and accept visitors to help them pray and reflect on their loss.
A Jewish funeral service typically includes many traditions and customs in keeping with Jewish law set forth in the Torah. The casket is usually closed, and a rabbi’s funeral service is generally short, reflective, and solemn. An eulogy is given, and members of the family and close friends often read psalms, prayers and share stories in their own way. Jewish funeral services may be held at the synagogue, funeral home, or cemetery grave.
If the funeral is held the day after death, in a synagogue or funeral home. Visitation by relatives is prohibited before the funeral in the presence of the body. The body is placed in a simple wood coffin, so that its natural decomposition is not disturbed. The service is conducted by the rabbi and ends with a black ribbon being cut to symbolize the person breaking away from loved ones. When you arrive late, it is wise to wait for a timely moment to enter, in order not to interrupt the service. The Rabbi is leading the service and reading the eulogy.
More prayers will be read at the cemetery and members of the family usually assist in placing dirt on the coffin before it is buried. It symbolizes their recognition of death’s finality. Jewish funerals are often held completely at the grave side.
The initial period of mourning for Jews lasts seven days, and is called Shiva (the seven Hebrews). During this time, a visit to the bereaved’s home is appropriate. The family may conduct rituals there, which may include: covering mirrors; burning memorial candles; or wearing the cut black ribbon. Men don’t shave, women don’t wear makeup and pairs refrain from being intimate. This break from the daily routine symbolizes the chaos that death has brought to their lives, and by self-sacrifice represents sorrow.