Jewish Funeral Etiquette
Your relationship with other people shouldn’t be limited to those that follow your beliefs and practice the traditions that you do. For you to be able to grow as a person and explore the world in different ways, you have to spread your wings and build a relationship with people who connect with you in a much different level. The biggest example there is when you build a relationship with a person who practices another religion. You’re Roman Catholic and the other one is Jew. There shouldn’t be any friction just because you have different religions. Instead the difference should allow you to respect more the individualism of others.
Jewish people have a lot of customs and traditions. If, unfortunately a Jew friend of yours lost a loved one, you must observe Jewish funeral etiquette during the funeral and mourning period. You don’t necessary have to believe in what they do or accept it as your practice. You just have to respect that Jewish people have their own way of burying their departed loved ones and proper way of mourning.
Follow these simple advices to properly steer yourself in the solemn yet complex traditions of Jewish funeral.
1. In Jewish law and tradition, they family of the deceased bury their beloved the soonest possible time; sometimes within 24 hours after death. So if you want to attend the service, make sure that you know the details to avoid delay of time. Furthermore, verify if the deceased and his/her family is a practicing Orthodox Jewish or Reform Jewish. Both kinds have their own sets of traditions so you may want to know which one to observe.
2. Dress appropriately. This is a no-brainer but with Jewish funeral, you have to make an extra effort to “cover up”. Women who are attending Jewish funeral must wear a black dress that has a length below the knee and the shoulders completely unexposed. For me, a three-piece suit is the best funeral outfit. But if you don’t have one, make sure that you use black pants and black dress shirt/jacket.
3. Because you’re not Jewish, it’s wiser to not draw attention to yourself. Just follow their leads. But if you don’t want to do what they’re doing or practicing, don’t embarrass yourself and the mourners by disrespecting the practice. Instead, try to be quiet as you can and let the ceremony/service finish.
These are just three reminders that you need to follow when you attend a Jewish funeral. You don’t have to follow all the rules just for you to attend, you just need compassion, understanding and respect.
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