Losing a loved one or someone you are close to is never easy. Making sure you are honoring them properly is important. In the Jewish religion many families sit Shiva. Shiva is defined as a period of seven days of formal mourning for the dead, beginning immediately after the funeral. Shiva normally takes place in the home of the person who is grieving. Friends and family come during those seven days to send their condolences and support the grieving family. Below we have given some Shiva etiquette to follow.
When entering the Shiva House
In many situations the door to the Shiva house is left unlocked. Many people tend to enter and leave as they please. There is no knocking, you simply just enter on your own. Some homes do ask that you remove your shoes at the door, but that is based upon the Shiva home. If that is a request the family has you will know upon entering. Either directly outside the house or right inside there may be a pitcher of water for guests to wash their hands. This is a religious tradition, there is no obligation to do so.
What do I wear?
Many people are not sure how to dress to Shiva. There is no specific dress code. Dressing respectfully is a must though. This means women should be conservative and men should wear long pants. If Shiva is being held in an orthodox home, many women will be dressed in long skirts below the knee and long sleeve shirt. Attire for Shiva really depends on the home you are going too. Lastly, wearing a head piece or kippah. It is not required unless you are taking part in the prayer ceremony.
Bringing food to a Shiva home is ok. During this hard time a lot of friends will cater food, so the grieving family does not have to worry about cooking. You can also bring small snacks such as a vegetable or fruit platter. Some people also tend to bring desserts such as cookies and cakes. This is considered respectful and thoughtful.
At Star of David Memorial Chapel, we are here to help you. Contact us today with any questions or concerns you may have. We want to ensure that the burden is taken off of you while you are grieving during this difficult time.