Complete Guide to Jewish Funeral Traditions – Saying goodbye to loved ones is considered one of the most challenging phases in life. There are several religions worldwide that follow different traditions for funeral services. Jewish funeral services involve several centuries-old rituals, laws, and customs based on the Torah and Jewish faith. In this detailed exploration, we will offer you a complete guide to Jewish funeral traditions, ensuring that Jewish individual funerals must adhere to Jewish traditions.

God created human beings in his image (Genesis 1:26). A Jewish funeral is a sacred ceremony that should be completed with dignity and simplicity, according to Jewish traditions. There are four types of Judaism: Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Reform. Each community has its own different funeral traditions. In this blog, we will discuss some of the essential traditions followed at the Jewish funeral.

Complete Guide to Jewish Funeral Traditions

Below is a complete Guide to Jewish Funeral Traditions:

Recitation of Blessing

In Judaism, many blessings are recited on a particular occasion or purpose. Upon hearing the news of death, there is a blessing.

“Baruch Ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melech HaOlam, Dayan HaEmet”.

Which means “Blessed are you, God, King of the Universe, the True Judge”. Sometimes, this blessing is also recited at the funeral. After the death, the family must inform the Rabbi as soon as possible.

Purification of the body

Judaism teaches that the Jewish body should be honored with respect and dignity after death. The body should be washed and dressed in simple garments called tachrichim. If the family wants, they can get help from the Sacred Burial Society, a group known as Hevra kaddish, who are well versed in Jewish funeral customs and perform the ritual purification of the deceased, which is called Tahara. God loves this last act of kindness and care towards the deceased. During this tradition, men cover their shoulders with a prayer shawl, “Tallit”.

Casket and Burial

Jewish funerals can take place in various places. Some are at the graveside, while others are at the funeral home and then proceed to the cemetery. Jewish law states that the deceased should be buried on a clean surface. To keep the late body, a simple wooden casket is used without metal or nails. According to Judaism, honoring the person who has died is one of the greatest commandments ( mitzvot).

Complete Guide to Jewish Funeral Traditions
Timing of Burial

At Jewish funeral, it is an obligatory custom to bury the late person as soon as possible to offer comfort for their soul and smoothen the deceased’s journey to the God world. The deceased should be buried within 24 hours after the moment of death. Sometimes, it is impossible to bury the deceased within 24 hours because sometimes their blood relatives or spouses live outside the country.

In that case, waiting for one or two days is essential until all the mourners get together and give a last farewell to their loved ones. Remember, Jewish funerals cannot occur on Shabbat or Jewish holidays.


Shiva means “Seven” in Hebrew. It is the week of mourning following the funeral. The immediate relative of the dead person observes this seven-day mourning period. During this period, friends and family come to offer condolences and provide comfort and support to the mourners for their unbearable loss.

As per the Jewish tradition, a mourner is the deceased’s mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, or partner. From death to burial (Aninut), each of these members is considered with accountabilities only to attend to the practical requirements of arranging funeral practices.


Kaddish, also known as “Qaddish or Qadish,” is a prayer in honor of the dead Jewish person. It is often recited during funeral practices, at the graveside, and during the seven-day mourning period (Shiva).


Yahrzeit is the yearly death anniversary of a loved one. Traditionally, it is followed by the customary 24-hour Yahrzeit candle lighting in memory of the passed soul. During this time, mourners also recite the prayer “kaddish”. Some families also visit the deceased’s graveyard to bring peace and comfort to their souls. Some mourners also choose to give Tzedakah (charity) in memory of their loved ones.

Winding Up!

So that was a wrap of the complete guide to Jewish Funeral Traditions. Jewish funeral practices are followed by several ancient Jewish traditions, including reciting the blessing on hearing the death news, preparing the body (Tahara), and burying the deceased within 24 hours. However, these funeral services can also vary depending on the type of Judaism.

People May Also Ask For a Complete Guide to Jewish Funeral Traditions

Q1: Do you provide Jewish funeral services?

Ans: Yes, we also offer carefully planned Jewish funeral services that comfortably align with family requirements and Jewish traditions. If you are looking for spiritual support and guidance on grief events like funerals, call Rabbi Ronald Broden at (917) 210-5807 or email us at

Q2: Why do Jews cover mirrors in Shiva?

Ans: During these seven days, Shiva, it is an obligatory custom for a mourner to ignore their physical beauty. Mirrors are covered in Shiva to remind the mourner that these seven days reflect loneliness, not social acceptance.

Q3: What colors of clothes are avoided at Jewish funeral services?

Ans: At the Jewish funeral, consider wearing decent clothes with mute colors like black, grey, and brown. Avoid wearing clothes in flashy colors.

Q4: Which is the most essential part of the Jewish funeral?

Ans: Well, all the rituals play a significant role and must be followed carefully and traditionally at the Jewish funeral. However, k’vurah b’karka (The burial in the ground) is considered the most essential part of the Jewish funeral.

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