Have you been invited to a funeral home to attend a Jewish funeral? If so, and if this will be your first time experiencing this type of event, then you probably have questions about the customs involved. Read on to learn what you can expect at a Jewish funeral.
The Funeral Service
When you attend a Jewish funeral service, you will witness the recitation of Psalms, Scripture readings, and the reading of the eulogy. Before or just after the service, mourning family members of the deceased perform a ritual called K’riah , which is an ancient tradition symbolic of the rendering of the mourner’s heart. Clothing is customarily torn during this ritual, but many people now choose to wear a black ribbon, instead. Individuals mourning the loss of a parent wear the ribbon or tear their clothing on the left side, while all other close relatives do so on the right.
The Burial Process
Following the service, the deceased is taken and accompanied to his or her final resting place. Once the casket has been placed and the grave filled, the mourners’ prayer, or Kaddish , is recited. Also, mourners and friends show Chesed Shel Emet to the deceased by shoveling some earth onto the vault or casket below. Chesed Shel Emet is considered to be the ultimate act of kindness, love, and selflessness because the deceased is unable to ask the mourners to or repay or thank them for seeing to his or her proper burial.
The Cemetery Departure
Following the burial, it is traditional in Jewish funerals for all those in attendance who aren’t among the mourners to form a pathway by standing in a set of double lines in which they face one another, called a Shura . Then, the mourners leave the gravesite by passing through this walkway. Finally, customary condolences are given to the mourners once the burial is complete.
Chapel of the Chimes Oakland is experienced in providing a broad range of cremation and funeral services. If you need to plan a Jewish funeral in Oakland, then please call us at (510) 654-0123.