From time to time, some uncommon issues surrounding the deceased’s circumstances arise, presenting questions and/or conflicts with traditional Jewish funeral customs. Sometimes the concern regards...
As a family-owned Jewish funeral provider, we understand Jewish burial customs and religious significance associated with Jewish funeral tradition. When you choose Star of David Memorial Chapels, you will have the assurance that you and your family will be cared for with the utmost respect and in accordance with the Jewish funeral and burial customs that are important to you.
After you call your Jewish Star of David Memorial Chapels Funeral Director, the first person to be called should be your rabbi or the deceased’s rabbi. A Shomer or “watchman” stays with the deceased from the time of death until the funeral and burial. Star of David Memorial has people available to serve as Shomereim and will arrange for this service, if the family wishes.
Star of David Memorial Chapels will coordinate a time for the service that allows for the family’s needs, as well as the time constraints of the rabbi and cemetery. Depending upon a congregation’s policy, a service may be held in the temple or synagogue.
We accompany the deceased to their final resting place. The tradition is that the Kaddish prayer is not recited until after the casket has been lowered, and the grave filled. Dating back to Biblical times, the preference for Jewish people has been earth burial, and that Jewish funeral custom remains strong today. In some parts of the country, above ground mausoleum entombments are popular; when a family chooses to have entombment, they should check with their rabbi, as some are reluctant to officiate at a mausoleum.
Choosing a casket is a very emotional and personal decision. You are, in essence, forced to decide upon the last item you will ever be purchasing for your loved one. Additionally, everyone’s set of circumstances is different. We at Star of David recognize the difficulty in making this decision and want to provide information to assist you in making the best decision, especially in light of your particular set of circumstances. Please contact us at any time with any questions you may have.
First the body needs to be prepared for burial through the ritual of the tahara, a process in which the body of the deceased is washed and purified. The ritual cleansing is performed by the chevra kadisha (holy society) or the funeral director and staff who recite prayers and psalms.
After the tahara practice, the body is dressed in simple and plain white shrouds, and sometimes with a prayer shawl that may be cut or ripped as a symbol of the prayer shawl now being obsolete.
A part of Judaism’s burial practices includes the practice of a shomerim watching over the body, so the deceased are not left alone, but are instead “guarded” until the time they are buried. The shomerim may not eat, drink, or even perform a religious practice while in the presence of the body to show their respect for the deceased.
Once the body is prepared, Judaism requires the deceased are buried in the ground soon after. It is important the body makes contact with the earth through holes drilled into their coffins. Traditionally, cremations are disapproved because the Torah specifies that people should return to the soil because they are taken from it.
Another aspect of the burial practices in Judaism includes establishing a tombstone to mark the grave, as a sign of respect for the deceased. Some Jewish communities do not reveal the tombstone until the end of their mourning period with an unveiling ceremony. The tombstones usually include Jewish symbols (like a Star of David, a menorah, or a torah scroll), Hebrew writing, the name of the deceased, and the date of the death. It is tradition in some Jewish communities to leave stones on a tombstone after visiting.
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