In Judaism, when a loved one has passed away, the family traditionally partakes in a seven-day period of mourning called shiva. If you have ever sat shiva after the death of a family member or paid a shiva call, you may have noticed that there is always an abundance of food.
The most common foods at a shiva are deli sandwiches, bagels, side dishes like pasta salad, loads of baked goods, and fruit platters. The presence of food serves to provide guests with something to eat, as they are likely attending during mealtime and so that the mourners do not have to cook or shop for food to feed themselves during this emotional time.
Before planning to bring food to a shiva, please consider the following. Mourners may have specific dietary needs, allergies, kosher guidelines, or other food restrictions. Check with the family or the person coordinating the shiva to determine what foods work best for the shiva home. You can plan accordingly once you have this information.
Here are Some of the Best Foods to Bring to a Shiva:
- Assorted Finger Foods or Vegetable Trays
Think Jewish comfort foods like potato knishes, pastry puffs, or anything easy to prepare and serve.
Bagels are a classic, and they are also circular, symbolizing the cycle of life. Be sure to choose an assortment so that there is a variety to choose from. Include with the bagels, spreads like cream cheese, and side salads like egg and tuna salad.
Soup warms the heart. Soup is a quick, easy way to keep a person’s energy level up without requiring a ton of preparation. Many find comfort in chicken noodle or matzo ball soup. A little-known fact is that Lentil soup was Jacob’s food for Isaac when he mourned his father’s death.
Salad is a lighter, healthy option, and there are many different types of salads. Place salad dressing on the side to prevent lettuce from wilting, giving it longevity.
- Coffee and Dessert
Sitting shiva can be exhausting, so it is never a bad idea to consider products with sugar and caffeine. Fresh fruit platters, baked goods, coffee, and tea, are always appreciated.
A Helping Hand is Most Important
Those experiencing grief will be thankful to know that they are being supported. Bringing food to those sitting shiva is a nice gesture to show how much you care.
At Star of David Memorial Chapels on Long Island, New York, we are here to answer any questions you may have about Jewish funeral services and regarding shiva. Please get in touch with us at 631-454-9600.