Jewish Funeral Checklist - What to Expect During the Funeral

By: Tom Gallagher
Monday, March 20, 2023

Jewish funerals are solemn and meaningful event that serves to honor and remember the deceased. If you have never attended a Jewish funeral before, it can be helpful to know what to expect during the funeral.

Jewish Funeral Checklist

Here is a checklist created by the experts at Sholom Chapel, of what typically happens during a Jewish funeral:

  • Timing - Jewish funerals are typically held as soon as possible after death, usually within 24 to 48 hours.
  • Preparing The Body - According to Jewish tradition, the body must be treated with great respect and dignity. Therefore, embalming is not typically performed, and the body is instead washed and dressed in simple white clothing.
  • The Casket - In Jewish tradition, the casket is traditionally made of wood and left plain, without any adornment or decoration.
  • The Service - The funeral service is typically held in a synagogue or funeral home, and is led by a rabbi. The service includes prayers, readings, and eulogies, and is conducted entirely in Hebrew.
  • The Shiva - After the funeral, a period of mourning known as Shiva begins. This is typically a seven-day period during which family members and close friends gather to offer condolences and support. During Shiva, the family may sit on low chairs, cover mirrors, and refrain from any work or other activities.
  • Kaddish - Kaddish is a prayer that is recited during the funeral service, as well as during Shiva and other Jewish mourning rituals. It is a prayer of mourning, but also of praise and gratitude for God.
  • Burial - After the funeral service, the casket is transported to the burial site, which is typically located in a Jewish cemetery. At the graveside, mourners may recite additional prayers and participate in the ritual of shoveling dirt onto the casket.
  • Shloshim - Shloshim is a thirty-day period of mourning that follows shiva. During this time, mourners may continue to recite Kaddish and refrain from certain activities.
  • Yahrzeit - Yahrzeit is the anniversary of the death, which is observed by lighting a special candle and reciting Kaddish.

Some Things To Note

It is important to note that the specific customs and traditions of Jewish funerals may vary depending on the denomination and location. Additionally, some Jewish families may choose to incorporate elements of their own cultural or personal traditions into the funeral service.

By understanding what to expect during the funeral, you can approach it with respect and sensitivity, and offer comfort and support to the grieving family.

For more information about what to expect during the funeral, call Sholom Chapel at (310) 659-3055/(818) 899-5215. To email us please contact Sholom Chapel, and our funeral experts will revert soon to discuss your requirements. 

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