Preparing for Death

Death & Mourning 101

Much attention is paid to treating the dead with respect and to comforting mourners.


Jewish tradition invites us to think about our mortality long before our own deaths.

Preparing for Death

Some hasidic rebbes taught their disciples not only how to live, but also how to die.

Ethical Wills

On the Jewish custom of leaving a written spiritual legacy for one's children.

Viddui (Confession)

Traditional and liberal possibilities for this little-known practice.


Practical Aspects

From planning, to funeral, to shiva and the year that follows.

Funeral FAQs

Addressing common questions about Jewish funeral customs.

Graveside Service

Mourners, friends, and relatives accompany the deceased to the grave and help with the burial.

Stones on Graves

What do the stones symbolize? Where does the custom come from?

Planning a Funeral

A practical guide to preparations for Jewish burial and mourning.


Bereavement Phases

Jewish mourning customs reflect the natural course of grief and recovery following the death of a loved one.


Shiva is observed in the home as an intensive mourning period for close relatives.

Shiva Customs

The entire physical environment of the mourner acknowledges the immediacy of death.

How To Be the World's Best Shiva Guest

Visiting a shiva requires total sensitivity to the needs of the mourner.

Ending Shiva

Getting up and walking around the block marks the end of a week of mourning.


Death Teaches About Life

Death does not contradict life; it teaches us about the meaning of human existence.


Mourner's Kaddish is recited on a daily or weekly basis after the death of a close relative.


Customs to observe on the anniversary of a death.

Year of Mourning

Showing respect to one's parents, even after they die.

Jewish Tombstone Customs

All are equal in death.

How to Say the Mourner's Kaddish (Video)

Audio, Hebrew, transliteration and translation of the Aramaic prayer.


Alternative Yizkor Prayers To Say For Abusive Parents

The Shroud

The Phases of Jewish Bereavement

When a Jewish Child Dies

The Mourner During Aninut

Special Issues in Mourning

Yizkor, the Memorial Service

The Funeral, or Levaya

The Basics of Kriah, or Tearing a Piece of Clothing

The Tombstone, the Unveiling and Visiting the Grave

When Death Occurs

Questions and Answers About Jewish Funerals

The Graveside Service

Eulogy, or Hesped

Kaddish, a Memorial Prayer in Praise of God

The Casket, or Aron

Tahara, Preparing the Body for Burial

Yahrzeit: Remembering on the Anniversary of a Death

Why Parents Are the Only Loved Ones Traditionally Mourned a Full Year

Sheloshim, the First 30 Days of Mourning

Shiva, the First Seven Days of Mourning

Writing a Will

How to Plan a Jewish Funeral

How To Form A New Chevra Kadisha

Jewish Funerals: What to Expect When You Go

Who Mourns for Whom?

Social Action Aspects of Death and Mourning

Helping Children of Different Ages Cope with a Death

Stillbirth and Neonatal Death

Suicide in Jewish Tradition and Literature

Death and Special Issues of the Body

Mourning Non-Jewish Loved Ones: A Reform Perspective

A Jewish Chaplain

Viddui: The Deathbed Confession

The Deaths Of Two Hasidic Masters

On Being with Those Who are Dying

Writing and Reading Ethical Wills

Preparing for Death

The Death Penalty in Jewish Tradition

Death and Mourning: Sources from the Babylonian Talmud

Themes in Death and Mourning

Burial and Mourning: A Liberal Approach

The Ethics of Burial and Mourning

Jewish Attitudes Toward Death