Here at Mount Sinai Memorial Chapels, a Jewish funeral home in East Brunswick, NJ, we are frequently asked if flowers are appropriate for a Jewish funeral. The answer is yes…and no. We have found that customs can be different regionally, and in addition, in the Jewish faith, the rabbi officiating will have final say. While flowers are not appropriate for an Orthodox service, we have seen an increase in sympathy flowers at Reform and even Conservative services. When flowers may not be accepted, there are other things you can do for the family in mourning. Here are a few examples:
In the Jewish faith, acts of “tzedakah” or charity are quite common. Some families will indicate a favored charity in their loved one’s obituary to which they would like people to donate funds in their name if they so choose. If they haven’t specified a charity, you can choose one based on what you know about the person: If they loved animals, perhaps donating to a local animal shelter would be appropriate. If you aren’t sure what would be best, there’s nothing wrong with simply giving the family a check and allowing them to select where the money goes to honor their loved one.
In the Jewish faith, the simple gift of your presence is sometimes the most important thing you can do. By attending the funeral service, you are honoring their loved one and showing your support to them. You can also pay a shiva call to the house of mourning in the days after the funeral. If you do nothing for the family other than that, your presence and support are appreciated by the family more than you can know. They will appreciate your presence and the fact that you took time away from your day to honor their loved one.
Acts Of Service
Families going through a hard time can often use some extra help, but they may not know how to ask the people around them for the things that they need. Instead of leaving it completely up to them, offer to do certain things you know you would value if you were in their situation. You could run errands for them while you are getting your own groceries, transport family members to and from the airport, shovel snow or mow grass, and other such things. That takes a load off the family’s mind and allows them to have the community support they need.
If you would like other ideas on how you can show your support to a grieving family, give us a call at Mount Sinai Memorial Chapels, an East Brunswick, NJ Jewish funeral home. Serving Jewish families from the entire Central New Jersey area including Old Bridge, Marlboro, and North Brunswick, we’re happy to answer any question you have as to what’s appropriate for a particular service. Give us a call at (732) 390-9199 anytime.