A Look at Jewish Funeral Traditions


The death of a loved one is an undeniably emotional time. Saying goodbye to a friend or family member at a funeral service is a way to honor his or her memory. It is also a step toward acceptance for mourners. Different cultures have different customs, so if you are planning on attending a Jewish funeral, it helps to know what to expect.

  • Holding the Funeral As Soon As Possible

Following the death of a Jewish person, it is traditional that the funeral be held as soon as possible. This is to show the utmost respect for the deceased and inter the body without delay. Of course, the family may make the decision to wait for out-of-town mourners to arrive before holding services. Open-casket services are not a part of Jewish tradition—it is considered disrespectful to look upon the deceased since they cannot look back. Often, embalming and other chemical procedures will be eschewed unless state law requires it.

  • Performing Traditional Burial Rites

Many Jewish funerals are held at temple or synagogue. Flowers are normally not present at a traditional Jewish funeral , as they are held to be frivolous and unnecessary. Tradition also calls for a simple wooden casket without metal parts. After the recitation of the Psalsm, reading of Scripture, and a eulogy, the mourners participate in the ritual of K’riah , the rending of the garment. This age-old tradition involves mourners tearing their clothes to show their grief. Today, many attendees now use a black ribbon attached to their clothes. Tradition holds that the day of the funeral is the first day of seven days of mourning.

Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory in Tacoma, Washington, provides a beautiful, serene setting for funeral services for all cultures. For more information, give us a call at (253) 584-0252.

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