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Jewish Funeral Service & Rituals Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

Jewish Funeral Service & Rituals

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


Jewish funeral service rituals and practices have tradit­ionally followed a strong set of customs and beliefs which are based on the Tradition.

The Jewish people hold the philosophy that one should embrace life while accepting the inevit­ability of death. The emphasis of Judaism concerns how one’s life should be lived and it does not specif­ically define an afterlife. However, it is implied that leading a praise­worthy life will prepare one for what comes after life.

Preparing the Body

Jewish burials are to take place as soon as possible. Exceptions are made when the family cannot be present immedi­ately and for other practical reasons.
Jewish funerals emphasize simplicity to avoid embarr­assment for the poor.
It is tradit­ional Jewish practice to perform a ritual washing of the body (“Tahara”) and then to dress it in a plain burial shroud.
{{fa-square=o}} Watchers (“Chevra Kadisha”) remain with the body around­-th­e-clock until the funeral.


Funeral is usually held in a synagogue or funeral home the day after the death. There is no visitation by friends in the presence of the body before the funeral.
The body is placed in a simple wood coffin so as not to disturb its natural decomp­osi­tion.
An open casket or cremation is not accepted in the Jewish tradition. Male guests are expected to wear a jacket and tie with a yarmulke as a head covering, which is available at the funeral home or synagogue.
Women wear conser­vative apparel, a skirt or dress of somber colors, but they are not expected to wear a head covering. They should dress modestly – nothing revealing – no short skirts, short sleeves or open-toed shoes.

Jewish Funeral

Mourning Period

The initial mourning period lasts seven days and is called Shiva (Hebrew for seven).
During this time, it is approp­riate to visit the home of the bereaved. The family may practice traditions that may include: covering mirrors; burning memorial candles; or wearing the black ribbon that was cut.
Men do not shave, women do not wear makeup, and couples refrain from intimacy.
This break from daily routine symbolizes the disruption that death has brought to their lives and demons­trates grief through self-s­acr­ifice.

FTC Funeral Rules

Summary of your rights under The Funeral Rule:

Buy only the funeral arrang­ements you want.
Get price inform­ation over the telephone.
Get a written, itemized price list when you visit a funeral home.
See a written casket price list before you see the actual caskets.
See a written outer burial container price list.
Receive a written statement after you decide what you want and before you pay.
Get an explan­ation in the written statement that describes any legal cemetery or crematory rules that require you to buy specific funeral goods or services.
Use an “alter­native container” instead of a casket for cremation.
Provide the funeral home with a casket or urn you buy elsewhere.
Make funeral arrang­ements without embalming.