Frequently Asked Questions
What if I belong to a "society"?
Call us first. We will coordinate all details with any burial society, landsmanschaft, organization or congregation of which you may be a member. We will secure all necessary permits and signatures, and make sure that you receive all benefits to which you are entitled
Who will conduct the service? When and where will the service be?
It is important to make these decisions jointly with the rabbi and the funeral director. Our staff handles all the details associated with the funeral whether the services are held in the chapel or at the grave site only. One phone call to our staff removes the burden of a family needing to make multiple detail-oriented calls. We coordinate with rabbis, Chevra Kadisha, cemeteries, burial societies or organizations, and all parties involved in preparing for a funeral.
When can I notify relatives and friends of the service time and location?
Details of the service should not be made public until both the rabbi and the funeral director confirm the time and place of the service.
When should the funeral take place?
By Jewish law and custom, the burial should take place as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours of death. When this is not feasible, Jewish law requires one to complete the arrangements as expeditiously as possible.
Where should the service take place?
Most funeral services used to take place in the chapel at the funeral home. It is a comfortable and proper locale to eulogize and memorialize your loved one. Plus a chapel service is not subject to the vagaries of the weather, or other outside distractions.
There are, however, times when an alternative location might be appropriate. If, for example, only a very few people will be attending, or because of geographical considerations, one might choose to hold the service at the grave site. If the deceased had been an active member of a synagogue, the service might take place there. Our staff and the rabbi will be able to advise you.
How do I prepare for the service?
You should plan to be at the funeral home approximately an hour before the scheduled start of the service (note that funeral services almost always start exactly on time!) in order to take care of any unfinished paperwork, make an identification of the deceased (if desired), and to be available to acknowledge friends and family coming to the service.
What should I wear?
There is no prescribed “funeral attire”, nor must the clothing be black. You should wear comfortable, yet dignified attire, appropriate to the occasion, a religious ceremony commemorating the life of your loved one.
How long does the service take?
The “average” funeral service at the chapel, with only the Rabbi speaking, usually takes 20-30 minutes. If others will be speaking, the length of the service obviously, then, depends on them. If there are multiple speakers, the service could take an hour. Please advise the Rabbi and our staff if there will be additional speakers.
Should I bring children?
Jewish tradition regards a funeral as a very important part of the life cycle, and an important educational opportunity. Children are naturally curious, and amazingly resilient. They will absorb as much as is appropriate for their age and level of maturity. They will ask questions; answers need not be complete, but should always be truthful. Most children are perfectly capable of dealing with such stressful situations, sometimes actually better than adults, and under normal circumstances their presence at both the funeral service and the burial is appropriate. Ultimately, however, you know your own children, and must make a decision based on what is best for them and for you.
What is the procedure at the cemetery?
The burial in the ground (k’vurah b’karka) is the most important part of the funeral. Therefore, everyone who is able should make every effort to “accompany the deceased” (levayah) to the cemetery. Upon arrival at the cemetery and filing the papers at the office, the procession will continue to the gravesite, where the casket is carried to the grave, accompanied by the family and friends. After lowering the casket, it is then appropriate for all present to participate in the actual burial by shoveling earth into the grave, as it is the primary responsibility of the family and the community. As different Rabbis have differing standards and procedures they follow, please take direction from the Rabbi. After the appropriate prayers have been recited, friends and family traditionally form two lines, facing each other, so the immediate mourners may walk between them to hear the first words of comfort after the burial, “ha-makom y’nachem etchem b’toch sh’ar aveilei tzion vi-rushalayim.”
How long does it take?
The service at the cemetery, depending upon which prayers need to be recited and how much of the grave is to be filled in, could take from 15-45 minutes.
Should children come to the cemetery?
As noted above, children usually deal quite well with the entire funeral experience. If it is age-appropriate and maturity-appropriate for your child, there is nothing wrong with bringing them.