Mourning Rituals

Mourning Rituals

Why Do Jews Put Stones on Graves?

Learn the reasons for this distinctive mourning practice.

Mourn

The Basics of Kriah, or Tearing a Piece of Clothing

The ancient practice of tearing clothes is a tangible expression of grief and anger in the face of death.

Kaddish, a Memorial Prayer in Praise of God

The Kaddish is recited in a prayer service, on a daily or weekly basis, after the death of a close relative.

Jewish Death and Mourning 101

What you need to know about Judaism's death, mourning and burial practices

Yizkor, the Jewish Memorial Service

Yizkor is the memorial service recited four times a year by the congregation during Jewish holiday services.

Death and Mourning Quiz

What are the history and practical aspects of Jewish bereavement?

Chevra Kadisha, or Jewish Burial Society

The chevra kadisha is a group of committed Jews who prepare the body for burial.

Yahrzeit: Remembering on the Anniversary of a Death

Lighting candles and saying Kaddish each year in memory of a loved one.

How to Make a Shiva Call

Because a shiva call requires total sensitivity to the needs of the mourner, the tradition mandates appropriate behaviors for the visitor.

The Graveside Service

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

The Casket, or Aron

The rabbis mandated a simple wooden coffin to equalize people in death and to enable the return to dust.

Tahara, Preparing the Body for Burial

A Jewish ritual cleansing of the deceased fulfills the verse from Ecclesiastes 5:14, "As we come forth, so we shall return."

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

Rites for mothers and fathers are more demanding than those for other relatives, even siblings, spouses and children.

Alternative Yizkor Prayers To Say For Abusive Parents

Two moving renditions of Yizkor to recite in addition to, or in place of the traditional Yizkor prayer.