If you have recently suffered a loss, we offer our condolences.
Please let the office know. The Chevrah Kadisha (Holy Burial Society) of Temple Beth Israel is available to assist all Jews, whether or not they are members, in dealing with the aftermath of a death. They can help make arrangements with the funeral home and/or cemetery, set up meals of condolences and shiva minyanim (gatherings and services for comfort in the home).
You have many options, whether you are planning your own end of life rituals, or deciding how to memorialize a loved one. For more details, download a copy of Treasure Each Day, our guide to Jewish end-of-life decision making. You may also contact the office for a hard copy of the guide.
What does a Jewish funeral involve?
It depends on your preference. Some people choose to have a Memorial service, with eulogies and songs, at the synagogue or at a funeral home, immediately before heading to the cemetery for burial. Some prefer to do a condensed, graveside funeral. Both are traditional Jewish options.
Why have a TBI rabbi officiate?
If you are making plans for your own memorial, the rabbi will meet with you to go over your preferences. If you are planning a memorial for a loved one, the rabbi will meet with you to craft a service according to what makes sense and feels right for your family and friends. Whether or not you would like the rabbi to do a eulogy, the rabbi will organize and facilitate a meeting with as many family members and close friends as you would like to share stories about the person’s life, in advance of the funeral. The rabbi will also make every effort to be available to lead at least one of the minyanim in your home should you choose to hold shiva gatherings.
What is shiva and how flexible is it?
Shiva is the Hebrew word for “seven,” referring to the traditional seven days, beginning with the day of the funeral, when mourners do not leave the house, and the community gathers to feed, comfort and pray with them. Shiva is suspended on Shabbat, when mourners are invited to join the community in prayer at the synagogue. Our rabbis highly recommend that if you have suffered a loss, you let the community take care of you in this way. In our fast-paced society, many people opt to observe only a few days of the shiva. Our rabbis and Chevrah Kaddisha will assist you by organizing as many days of the shiva as you are moved to observe.
Can I be cremated?
Though our rabbis recommend against cremation, our Chevrah Kaddisha will still assist with plans in the event that you choose that option. Rabbi Ruhi Sophia does officiate at memorial services and shiva minyanim for someone who will be cremated, but will not participate in the burying of the cremains. Rabbi Yitz does not officiate in the event of cremation. There are qualified lay leaders who will officiate the entire process, if that is your preference.
Temple Member*: None
Temple Member*: None
*The term “Temple Member” includes members and their parents and children.