The Process of a Jewish Funeral
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What do you know about Jewish funeral etiquette? We can tell you this much. As Emily Post wrote, "If ever there were a place for decorum to be maintained, it is at a funeral, memorial, or graveside service". This is especially true when attending a Jewish funeral.
"Grounded as it is in timeless principles, etiquette enables us to face whatever the future may bring with strength of character and integrity." So began Emily Post, in the classic book Emily Post's Etiquette, originally published in 1922; now in its 18th Edition. "Civility and courtesy," she continued,"the outward expression of human decency, are the proverbial glue that holds society together–qualities that are more important than ever in today's complex and changing world."
In other words, whether you are invited a wedding, working in a congested office, or attending a funeral–knowing the right things to do or say–in other words, knowing proper etiquette–will certainly make the situation easier.
Many people believe that today's hectic lifestyle and technology have combined to make us rude. Certainly, there has been a shift in social etiquette since 1922, when Emily Post first published her widely-popular book, Emily Post's Etiquette. (Now it its 18th printing, the book is over 700 pages long.) What is the fundamental essence of social etiquette? Conscious awareness of the importance of your actions. It's about knowing how to respond in ways that are courteous, respectful, and above all, kind.
That means when you attend any funeral, it's important to be on your best behavior. Be aware of how your actions affect others, which means thinking twice before doing or saying anything. Other tips to guide you when attending a Jewish funeral include these:
We know how nerve-wracking it can be to feel out-of-place; to be concerned about offending someone without knowing it. If you need to attend a Jewish funeral and would like some additional recommendations about funeral etiquette, simply call us at (718) 377-7300. We would be delighted to assist you.
Post, Peggy, et al, Emily Post's Etiquette, 18th Edition, 2011.
Emily Post Institute, "Funeral Etiquette: At the Service," 2013.
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, "Guide to Jewish Funeral Practice," 2013.