Some General Guidelines to Follow
- Seek information and learn about the beauty and meaning of traditional Jewish burial practices.
- Call your synagogue and rabbi first to assist you and to guide the funeral arrangements you make. If you do not have a rabbi, Gutterman’s can assist you in engaging one.
- Interment should not be unnecessarily delayed.
- Ostentation should be avoided.
- The dress and behavior of family and friends should reflect the dignity and solemnity of the occasion.
- Visiting with and viewing of the remains (open casket) are contrary to Jewish law.
- Flowers and music have no place at the Jewish funeral service.
- Cremation is a service we offer. Speak to your Gutterman’s professional for more information.
Arranging The Funeral & Communicating With Clergy
If you are affiliated with a synagogue
- Call the synagogue first. Speak with your rabbi and inform him or her of your loss. The rabbi can assist in making funeral arrangements, provide grief counseling and answer questions on Jewish customs and practice.
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. Do not give friends and relatives the time and place of a funeral or memorial service until both the rabbi and the funeral director have confirmed the time and place.
If you are unaffiliated
- Call Gutterman’s. Let us assist you in arranging the funeral, the interment, and engaging a rabbi to officiate.
Glossary of Jewish Funeral Terms and Practices
- The burial casket. Jewish burial requires a wooden casket in keeping with the Biblical teaching “For dust art thou and to the dust thou shalt return” (Genesis 3:19)
- The traditional washing and dressing of the deceased with dignity. Performed by trained members of the Chevra Kadisha (Sacred Society). In accordance with Jewish traditional law, men prepare men, while women prepare women. Embalming, cosmetizing or any other artificial preparation of the remains is not permitted by Jewish law.
- The burial shroud. A full set of traditional white clothing, preferably made of linen, includes: hat, shirt, pants, jacket, belt and wrapping sheet. This garment symbolizes equality and purity.
- The thirty days following burial (including shiva).
- The watching of remains. To show respect to the departed, the deceased is never left alone until after burial. The Schomer (Watcher) traditionally recites psalms.
- The traditional seven-day mourning period immediately following burial, observed by the bereaved. Consult your rabbi for details on the customs and observances of shiva.
- The traditional prayer in praise of G-d, recited after burial.
- The practice of rending or cutting a garment, or symbolically wearing a cut black ribbon over the heart, to indicate that one is in mourning. Those observing keriah are generally adult children, father/mother, brother/sister, or spouse of the deceased.
- Kvurah B’karka
- (Kvoo-rah B’kar-kah)
- Burial in the ground. Biblical mandate requires burial in the ground, filling the grave completely until a mound is formed. Participation in filling the grave is a religious privilege and duty and an expression of honor for the deceased. Above ground burial is an option you may discuss with the Gutterman’s staff.
Some Questions You May Be Asked
- Name of deceased
- Hebrew name of deceased
- Hebrew name of parents of the deceased
- Social Security number
- Birth date
- Father’s name, Mother’s Name and Mother’s maiden name
- Veteran’s discharge papers
- Marital status
- Residence of the deceased
- Cemetery deed/location and ownership information