A Look at Jewish Funeral Traditions
Whether you are planning a Jewish funeral service or are attending one for the first time, you may have some questions about the traditions you may encounter. Read on to take a closer look at Jewish funeral services and the other traditional parts of saying goodbye to a loved one of the Jewish faith.
Jewish Funeral Service Timing
Within the Jewish faith, funerals are supposed to occur as soon as possible after a death. Although having the funeral within a day is preferable, this tenet can be relaxed if people must travel a long distance for the funeral or if there are other issues that could delay the timing of a funeral. From the moment of death, the body of the person who has died cannot be left alone and must always be accompanied by a shomer, or guardian. The funeral home can often help families find an appropriate shomer as well as a rabbi, if necessary. The funeral home can also help facilitate the funeral planning process so that it can happen as quickly as necessary for the family.
Viewings and Funeral Services
In most cases, there is no viewing or wake for Jewish funerals, though families may participate in a rite called keriah, during which an item of clothing or piece of black ribbon is torn and then worn throughout the funeral and mourning period. The funeral service itself may be held at a synagogue, at a funeral home, or at the graveside. Views on burial and cremation vary in the Jewish community, so interment can take either form.
After the funeral, a period of mourning called shiva begins. Shiva translates to seven, and it is a seven-day period in which close family members of the deceased gather together each day for mourning and prayer. The family does not work during this time, and they will receive guests who wish to offer condolences. After shiva, shloshim begins for the next 30 days. Family members return to work but still pray together daily. The end of shloshim marks the end of the official mourning period, except in the case of the death of a parent, in which case it lasts for a year.
Greenwood Memorial Park & Mortuary is experienced in planning Jewish funeral ceremonies and is here to help your family after a loved one passes away. To get more information about funeral ceremonies in San Diego, call (619) 701-6473.