Do You Need A Casket?

By: Tom Gallagher
Tuesday, November 16, 2021

We at Sholom Chapel offer elegant personalized funeral services. Some clients have questions about whether they will need a casket during a funeral service. Here is some information that will clarify this matter and others related to a Jewish funeral ceremony. 

Some Details About Jewish Funeral Caskets

A Jewish funeral is typically held within 24 hours of the death, but, in today’s world, there is tolerance and acceptance for postponement of the burial to allow mourners to arrive and necessary preparations to be made. The funeral is a solemn occasion for the family, and the religion forbids public sight of the corpse. It also means that a casket is used to place the body.

According to Jewish burial traditions, rituals, and customs, the burial is in a simple and unadorned wooden coffin. As mentioned, the casket is usually closed, and a rabbi delivers the introspective and brief funeral service. Caskets must be in line with Jewish customs. The following are the components of a proper Jewish casket:

  • The coffin must be simple and composed of entirely biodegradable materials, often softwood like pine or poplar.
  • The casket’s inside should likewise be basic, with no linings, cushions, or other items.
  • Metal or plastic components, such as screws, hinges, nails, or handles, are not permitted because they aren’t biodegradable.
  • Any adhesive used must be vegetable-based rather than animal-based.
  • To expedite decomposition, holes are made in the bottom of the casket
  • Green funeral caskets built of willow, wicker, bamboo, seagrass and other easily degradable materials with no metal elements are also allowed. Less conventional and non-observant Jewish families may find these alternatives to the basic wood box appealing.

These are some of the aspects to keep in view while selecting a casket during a funeral. If you need information about our funeral services and preplanning, please contact Sholom Chapel.

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