Mourning Rituals

Ask the Expert: Caring for Jewish Bodies

What's the appropriate post-mortem care for a Jewish person?

The Burial and the Image of God

Prompt burial of the deceased helps to preserve the dignity of the human being, who is made in the image of God, even in death.

Shiva Prohibitions Embody Depersonalization

The specific prohibitions on mourners during the shiva period reflect the mourner's sense of estrangement from the life force.

When a Jewish Child Dies

It may feel like walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

Sephardic Customs During Shiva

A number of Sephardic shiva customs involve individual and communal study.

The Mourner During Aninut

The earliest phase of mourning, aninut, which occurs between death and burial, applies to immediate family members.

Development and History of Kaddish

The Kaddish originated as an expression of praise to God following a learned discourse.

Kaddish Speaks to Mourners

The Kaddish responds to three questions: Is there a God? Why do people die? What is the meaning of life?

Filling the Grave

Shoveling dirt onto the coffin is the family's final ritual act of honoring the dead.

When Death Occurs

At death, several gestures indicate respect for the deceased as well as acceptance of the reality of death.

The Orphan’s Kaddish

Kaddish Yatom, an Aramaic prayer glorifying God, is recited by mourners.