Death is a part of life. True were the words of Psalmist when he exclaimed, “What man can live and not see death?” (Psalms 89:49) But though death is a part of the life cycle, it is a most difficult and sad event, leaving those who face it with a myriad of emotions and responsibilities.
When faced with death, we need people to help us and resources to guide us. With such knowledge, we insure that the experience of death is met with the wisdom, comfort, and insight of the Jewish faith
– Rabbi Arthur D. Weiner, Jewish Community Center of Paramus/Congregation Beth Tikvah
Judaism teaches the equality of all people before God, the sanctity of human life, the dignity of the human personality, and the sanctity of the human body. Jewish law pertaining to death, the funeral service, and the mourning reflects the human and humane character of our faith and our people.
Our religion demands respect for and consideration of a human being in life and in death, and thus even a person’s earthly remains are accorded the highest degree of respect and dignity.
Judaism asks us to show understanding, sympathy, and thoughtfulness toward the bereaved. Offering solace and consolation are Godly acts.
Our tradition also teaches that in caring for our dead we be guided by dignity and simplicity. In this way we express love, respect, and kindness for the deceased and concern, love and understanding for the living.
One who has lost a member of his or her immediate family is called in Hebrew Onen. These include father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, and spouse. For all these dear, one is obligated to observe the laws of mourning.
The term Onen applies to the bereaved persons from the moment they learn of the death of their dear one until the conclusion of the burial service. The first and only responsibility of an Onen is to care for the deceased, and to make the necessary arrangement for the funeral and the burial. These obligations supersede all other mitzvot and responsibilities.
When a death occurs, please call Rabbi Weiner and /or the JCCP/CBT office immediately. Following that, a Jewish funeral director should be called. Rabbi Weiner can provide a list for local funeral chapels. If the family would like Rabbi Weiner to officiate at the funeral services, the funeral should not be scheduled without consulting the Rabbi first. Call 201-262-7691.