Judaism has been shaped by thousands of years of study of the Law and traditions; and its practices can differ based on culture, location, and how strictly you adhere to these laws. The three major branches are Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform. Regardless of how you identify, we’ve compiled a list of preparations to take into consideration when planning for your Jewish funeral and burial.
Someone to sit with your body
From death until when the funeral takes place, you may choose to want someone to be with your body. If this interests you, think ahead about who you want to sit with you, and ask if they will do so when the time comes.
Body preparation prior to your burial
Traditionally you will not be embalmed, and your casket will be closed for any services you choose to have. However, you may want to be ritually washed and shrouded. If this is important to you, we strongly encourage you to put this into your plans.
The type of casket you will want to be buried in
Tradition will say it should be a plain wooden casket, with no metal present. This description can apply to many caskets that are available for purchase, so choosing your casket now will prevent possible emotional overspending in the future, and give your loved ones peace that they are following your wishes.
Know your cemetery options
In Judaism, graves must be marked with a simple headstone, or Matzava. Although it is not required to have an unveiling or dedication service, many families choose to have some sort of ceremony when the grave marker is put in place. Traditionally, the headstone can be put into place anytime after Shloshim, but most families choose a time close to the first Yahrzeit.
Cemeteries can have very specific rules and regulations on things ranging from the types of caskets allowed, depth of the grave, and the size and shape of monuments or headstones that they will permit. It’s best to inquire in advance for more details to meet specifics of Jewish burial requirements.
Reminder! If you choose a plot at a cemetery that is a combination funeral home, know that you do not have to plan your funeral services with the same company. Dallas Jewish Funerals and Houston Jewish Funerals have access to all cemeteries across Texas.
Note: Everything mentioned above generally follows traditional Jewish Funeral Customs. If you want to go a different route, such as having an open casket, we encourage you to speak about your wishes with your family, a rabbi if appropriate, and our professional staff at Jewish Funerals.
There’s no one, right way to plan a funeral service. We believe that each funeral should be as unique and memorable as the life it honors. Explore your options now, when it’s not an emergency, so that you don’t leave these decisions to surviving family members. There will be no need for arguments, guessing, or guilt over the way your funeral services go, because you will have told them exactly what you want.
One optional benefit to planning ahead is pre-paying for your services, which would lock in today’s prices for services you will need in the future.
Don’t leave your loved ones with tough, immediate decisions as they mourn your death. Speak with us today to learn more about planning ahead for your Jewish funeral and burial.