Jewish Traditions

Through its rich traditions, Judaism guides a family from before the time of death through death and burial and eventually back to society.

Burial and mourning practices- Many questions regarding burial and mourning practices can easily be answered from a brochure from the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly- Michigan Region. Click here to view it.

The Mourner's Kaddish- To see this prayer in Hebrew (with English pronunciation and translation), click here.

Common Hebrew Terms- Here are a list of some common hebrew terms associated with burials you might hear.

Chevra Kaddisha
A holy society which takes charge of a body to clean and bathe and dress the body for burial
Taharah
A ritual pouring of water over the deceased
Tachrichim
A plain white shroud the body is dressed in
K'vod hamet
Honoring the dead
Shemira and Shomer
From the moment of death, the body is not left alone until after burial. This practice, called guarding/watching (shemira), and is done by a shomer.
Vidui
Final confession
Keriah
Tearing of an outer garment, or more commonly now, the black ribbon
Tzidduk hadin
"Justification of judgement" is usually chanted
El malei rachamim
The memorial prayer (Compassionate God)
Shiva
Means seven and is the traditional number of days for mourning where the family does not leave the house
Kaddish
Memorial prayers
Shloshim
Means 30 and is the traditional number of days the mourners say memorial prayers at synagogue
Yahrzeit
Anniversary of the death
Yizkor
Memorial prayers said on Yom Kippur

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