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
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