Guidelines and Terms
- Seek information and learn about the beauty and meaning of traditional Jewish burial practices.
- Call your synagogue and Rabbi first to assist you and to guide the funeral arrangements you make. If you do not have a rabbi, Gutterman Bros. can assist you in engaging one.
- Interment should not be unnecessarily delayed.
- Ostentation should be avoided.
- The dress and behavior of family and friends should reflect the dignity and solemnity of the occasion.
- Visiting with and viewing of the remains (open casket) are contrary to Jewish law.
- Aron – (A-rone) the burial casket.
- Taharah – (Ta-ha-rah) the traditional washing and dressing of the deceased with dignity. Performed by trained members of the Chevra Kadisha (Sacred Society). In accordance with Jewish traditional law, men prepare men, while women prepare women. Embalming, cosmetics or any other artificial preparation of the remains is not permitted by Jewish law.
- Tachrichim – (Takh-ree-kheem) the burial shroud. A full set of traditional white clothing, preferably made of linen, includes: hat, shirt, pants, jacket, belt and wrapping sheet. This garment symbolizes equality and purity.
- Sheloshim – (sh’losh-sheem) the thirty days following burial (including shiva).
- Shmira – (Shmee-rah) the watching of remains. To show respect to the departed, the deceased is never left alone until after burial. The Shomer (Watcher) traditionally recites psalms.
- Shiva – (Shee-vah) the traditional seven-day mourning period immediately following burial, observed by the bereaved. Consult your rabbi for details on the customs and observances of shiva.
- Kaddish – (Ka-dish) the traditional prayer in praise of G-d, recited after burial.
- Keriah – (Kree-ah) the practice of rending or cutting a garment, or symbolically wearing a cut black ribbon over the heart, to indicate that one is in mourning. Those observing keriah are generally adult children, father/mother, brother/sister, or spouse of the deceased.
- Kvurah B’karka – (Kvoo-rah B’kar-kah) burial in the ground. Biblical mandate requires burial in the ground, filling the grave completely until a mound is formed. Participation in filling the grave is a religious privilege and duty and an expression of honor for the deceased. Above ground burial is an option you may discuss with the Gutterman Bros. staff.
Who will conduct the service? When and where will the service be? It is important to make these decisions jointly with the rabbi and the funeral director. Do not give friends and relatives the time and place of a funeral or memorial service until both the rabbi and the funeral director have confirmed the time and place.
If you are unaffiliated with a synagogue:
Call Gutterman Bros. Let us assist you in engaging a rabbi to officiate.