Jewish Funerals from Beginning to End

If someone you love has passed away, the Jewish funeral will usually take place within 24 hours of their death. When you work with a funeral home in Manalapan, NJ, they can help you get everything in order within the right time frame. However, there are instances where the funeral might be delayed a day or two to allow out of town family the time to travel distances to attend.

Funerals usually take place in the synagogue or funeral home and then it is followed by a procession to the cemetery. When you enter the synagogue or funeral home, guests are presented with yarmulke (for men), or a veil (for married women) to cover their heads.

The Viewing

In the Jewish religion, the viewing is reserved for close family members and occurs prior to the ceremony. The casket is closed at all times during the actual funeral so other funeral attendees won’t have a chance to view the body, but close family members will be allowed to take part in the viewing. Jewish law does not allow embalming so the person is generally buried quickly after their death. The casket will be simple and have untreated wood that has no nails in it.

Prior to the Funeral Ceremony

Before the ceremony begins, family members and those closest to the person who passed on will be in another room until the funeral begins. They are distinguished by a black ribbon they wear on their chest. They will wear that ribbon for the next week, which is known as the week of Shiva. Other guests can sign a guest book, cover their heads, and sit and wait for the ceremony to begin. Family members will come in and be seated in the front row. No other guests console the family at that time and they keep their voices low and respectful in general.

The Jewish Funeral

The rabbi or cantor will lead the funeral, usually with a reading from the Book of Psalms. Then, there will be a silent prayer and eulogy. The ceremony itself can vary from place to place based on the customs within the Jewish community in that location. Sometimes, family members may read something about the deceased. The funeral will close with the reading of a Hebrew prayer. Guests will stand during that reading and then, guests depart while family members return to the private room to get ready for the procession to the cemetery.

At the Cemetery

Once the casket is carried from the hearse to the graveside, there will be a brief service and the casket will be lowered into the ground. The mourners will each place a shovelful of dirt on the casket at the conclusion of the service.

If you need help organizing a service, or you want to know more about what to expect if you attend a Jewish funeral, contact Mount Sinai Memorial Chapels at (800) 395-9199 or (732) 390-9199. We’re located at 454 Cranbury Road (at Evergreen Blvd.) East Brunswick, NJ 08816.

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