Jewish Funeral Traditions and Etiquette

By: Jacklyn Hutchens
Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Saying goodbye and laying a loved one to rest is never easy, but there is beauty in the act of honoring Jewish religious rituals. If you are preparing or attending a Jewish burial, you should be mindful of Jewish memorial service etiquette and respect Jewish funeral traditions.

Here's what you need to know about Jewish funeral traditions to help you fully understand bereavement in Judaism. However, please note that some customs and traditions may vary by community or culture.

What Is a Jewish Funeral?

A Jewish funeral typically takes place within 24 hours after the death. However, there is allowance and acceptance to delay the burial for mourners to travel and make appropriate arrangements. 

The Funeral Service

Some of the readings will be Hebrew at a funeral, and some will be English for traditional Jewish services. The rabbi will typically offer a brief explanation of the Hebrew portions of the service. Please note that a rabbi is not required to perform a funeral ceremony; any Jewish person can do so.

Dress Attire Etiquette

Men typically wear a tie and suit with a kippah (a traditional skullcap). In contrast, women often wear conservative apparel, a skirt or a dress of somber colors. To make sure you’re following Jewish funeral etiquette, please avoid wearing anything flashy and stick with more muted colors like black, gray, and brown.

What To Bring to a Jewish Funeral

To help the mourners and family members prepare for shiva, bring a fruit basket, kosher food, or refreshments. Playing music and offering flowers are typically prohibited.

An Inclusive Funeral Home

At Direct Cremation Services of Virginia, we believe that being aware of burial traditions gives you a better understanding of the religion's customs and provides insight into different ways of grieving. We understand that the differences in customs and beliefs come with specific preferences when dealing with the final disposition of the dead. So, we offer both burial and cremation services. We encourage you to explore our funeral planning options that suit your needs. For additional information, reach out to us at your convenience.

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