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The Jewish Funeral
The funeral should take place as soon as possible, preferably within 24 -48 hours of death.
The JCCP/CBT can provide members to remain in the home during the funeral for security. They can prepare the home for Shiva while the funeral is taking place.
It is considered a great mitzvah to attend a funeral service and to accompany the funeral procession to the cemetery.
The coffin is lowered into the grave and covered with earth until a mound is formed. This is the last act we can perform for the deceased. It should be done with great care and concern by and in the presence of relatives and friends.
There are many who are confused about this obligation or prefer for others to complete the burial service. But our tradition teaches that to walk away and to leave the burial for the cemetery gravediggers is to avoid our own responsibility. The burial Kaddish is recited by the mourners at the conclusion of the Service.
On leaving the graveside, those present at the cemetery stand in two parallel lines facing one another forming an aisle. The mourners pass through this aisle and those present recite the traditional words of comfort: “HaMakom y’nachem etchem B’toch shear avelei tziyon virushalayim, “May the Lord comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.” In this way we direct our sympathies and concern to the mourners.
After the funeral, those in attendance wash their hands. This is symbolic of the ancient custom of purification after contact with death. The washing is done upon returning from the cemetery, before entering the Shiva house.