The Process of a Jewish Funeral
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Are you uncertain about what to do at a funeral? Have you wondered what options are available if you can’t attend a funeral? This section teaches you everything you need to know to help you do the right thing before, during and after the service.
Offering comforting words to the family is usually the easiest thing you can do. It's also something the family will appreciate and remember. If you're attending the service, offer your condolences in person or share a story or special memory about the deceased. If you can't be there, send a card or share your message using the Book of Memories online memorial tribute page.
When you sign the register at the funeral home, be sure to list your name and your relationship to the deceased. The register is something the family will have forever, and they will appreciate knowing who you are and how you knew their loved one in years to come.
Appropriate gifts include flowers, a donation to a charity (oftentimes the family will have a preferred charity), food or a service. You can send your gift to the family's home or the funeral home. Please ensure you include a signed card with your gift so the family knows who sent it.
Depending on your relationship with the family, you may choose to stay in touch in person, by telephone or online. The grieving process can be long and difficult. You will serve the family well by letting them know you're there for them.
Historically, people wore black to a funeral and this still may be appropriate for some funerals. However, today it's acceptable to dress in a wider range of colors and clothing styles. Dressing in acceptable funeral attire have become much more relaxed than the fairly formal requirements of years ago. When you are determining how to dress, consider where and when the service will be held. Every funeral service is unique and the type of clothing you wear should be determined by that. A good rule of thumb is to ask someone close to the deceased’s family or the funeral director handling the service about appropriate attire for the event, or even special requests in honor of the deceased.
Traditionally, appropriate attire for men attending a funeral has been a black, gray or dark blue suit with a collared shirt and tie. These days, however, it is quite acceptable to wear slacks and a blazer or sport coat instead of a suit, to omit the tie, or to opt for a collared golf shirt in place of a dress shirt or button-down. Colors are still usually subdued, but are no longer limited to black, gray and navy. When in doubt, it’s probably safe to choose more conservative options if you are concerned about being underdressed.
Acceptable women’s funeral attire has changed through the years as well. Traditional attire for women called for a black suit, conservative dress or skirt and blouse. These days, appropriate options are much more varied. While the clothing should still be respectful and not distracting from the service, it is acceptable to wear bright or light colors, and business casual separates as opposed to a suit. Dresses are common, with color replacing the traditional solid black.