Death of a Loved One

Funeral and Mourning Practices

Some of the most intense living occurs while a loved one is dying. Often people dealing with impending or recent loss have many questions about arranging a funeral or how Jewish mourning rituals and practices can be supportive.

The following material is based on a publication (Saying Goodbye: A Guide to Dealing with the Passing of a Loved One) prepared by The Jewish Center to help a family manage the challenge. The material reviews The Jewish Center’s resources and policies.  While it also outlines Jewish law and customs regarding death and mourning, it is not all-inclusive.  We urge you to seek more information and guidance either from the clergy and professional staff of the synagogue or from the sources listed in the short bibliography at the end of this material. A full copy of the publication is available for download.

Some people consider Jewish law to be a strict guide of observance.  Others use it as a model for fashioning rituals to express their personal spirituality.  The Jewish Center clergy is always available to you to offer guidance in the tradition as well as in adapting the laws of burial and mourning to your specific needs, within the bounds of Conservative practice.

Please keep in mind that Jewish tradition insists that the laws and customs of death and mourning described in this material apply to every Jewish person and to a non-Jewish member of a Jewish family.  If you have questions about this or any other aspect of death and mourning, please be in touch with us.  We want to do what we can to help – including in advance of the death of a family member.  It is our whole community’s loss if we cannot support our members when they are preparing for or dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Continue to one of these sections for more helpful information: