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Memorial Funeral And Mourning Rituals

By Richard Brody

Every religion has its own ways of paying respect to and mourning the dead. Rites, rituals, mourning periods, etc. differ from religion to religion. The Jewish religious thus uses specific rites. In Judaism, death is

considered part of God's overall plan - - a part of the life cycle.

Initially after death, a Jew's eyes are closed, and body covered. The covering of the body is both a sign of respect and for modesty reasons. Traditionally, the body is laid on the floor in this fashion, with candles lit for respect. The body must never be left alone, between the time of death and burial. People who stay with the body during this people, to "guard" the body are known as "shomerim." One is prohibited from eating, drinking, or engaging in any other activity that might in any way be considered mocking the dead, because obviously a dead individual cannot do those activities.

Since traditional and observant Jews considered being near a dead body to be an "unclean" activity, Jews who belong to Israeli Tribe known as Cohan's (considered traditionally to be the holy priests) are prohibited from being near the dead, or even going to a cemetery.

Cremation is absolutely prohibited by Jewish law. Organ removal is only permitted in cases of organ donation, and autopsy is prohibited except in cases of suspected foul play. Open casket burials are also strictly forbidden, again because of both modesty and respect reasons. Buried individuals traditionally are buried in simple linen shrouds, so that wealth or lack of wealth is not considered in the burial rites.

Since Jewish tradition prohibits embalming, Jewish funerals are scheduled as soon as possible. Mourners traditionally have some fabric of clothing torn or cut by the Rabbi presiding over the service, as a way of further respecting the deceased. In recent time, this has been ceremonially replaced by mourners wearing a cut black ribbon during the entire mourning period.

After the funeral and burial, which can either be performed at a funeral home (or elsewhere) and a cemetery, or simply graveside, the mourners begin a period of Shiva. Unlike other religions who have "wakes"

before the burial, the "shiva" is a period of comforting the mourners, remembering the positive aspects of the deceased, etc. Mourners traditionally sit on low, hard benches, so that they are showing proper respect to the dead. Mirrors are covered in the shiva house out of respect, to indicate modesty. Traditionally, men do not shave during this period.

The shiva period traditionally lasts one week, where people visit the mourners to pay respects, comfort them, and to be part of the "minyan" (or prayer group), reciting the required Mourners Kaddish blessings. Since Jewish tradition called for ten to be considered a minyan, it is usually announced in advance when the minyan will be held.

Obviously, since there are several Jewish movements, some do not strictly adhere to all these traditions. The traditional Jew, however, remains in a period of mourning for one year, out of respect for the deceased. That means during that year, the mourner avoids celebrations, most music, and says Kaddish for the dead at least twice a day. Of course, not all Jews follow all the traditions, but it is important to understand them, and the reason for the traditions.

Richard Brody has over 30 years consultative sales, marketing, training, managerial, and operations experience. He has trained sales and marketing people in numerous industries, given hundreds of seminars, appeared as a company spokesperson on over 200 radio and television programs, and regularly blogs on real estate, politics, economics, management, leadership, negotiations, conferences and conventions, etc. Richard has negotiated, arranged and/ or organized hundreds of conferences and conventions. Richard is a Senior Consultant with RGB Consultation Services, an Ecobroker, a Licensed Buyers Agent (LBA) and Licensed Salesperson in NYS, in real estate.
Richard Brody has owned businesses, been a Chief Operating Officer, a Chief Executive Officer, and a Director of Development, as well as a consultant. Richard has a Consulting Website http://tinyurl.com/rgbcons; a blog http://tinyurl.com/rgbstake; and can be followed on Twitter.


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