The Jewish Funeral

Riverside Memorial Chapel is the only member firm of the Jewish Funeral Directors of America in Manhattan. Jewish law and tradition have endowed the funeral with profound religious significance. Riverside Memorial Chapel is prepared to meet all requirements of Jewish law. The following guide lists the basic requirements of a traditional Jewish funeral:

  1. Jewish Funeral Arrangements Away From Home
  2. Jewish Funeral Mourning Customs
  3. Jewish Funeral Tradition and Law
  4. After a Death in a Jewish Family
  5. Honoring the Dead
  6. BURIAL IN ISRAEL

Jewish Funeral Arrangements Away From Home

When a death occurs away from home call RIVERSIDE MEMORIAL CHAPEL first at (212) 362-6600 or 800-262-6609 anytime day or night. There is no need to contact a funeral home in the area where the death occurred as RIVERSIDE will handle these details for you, passing along financial benefits from in their global and national networking relationships.

We take charge from then on and make all the arrangements for the transfer of the deceased to the local funeral home affiliate for preparation for return to New York. You only need contact us with some basic information and call us to set a time for an arrangement conference. For us to assume the costs the death must have occurred in one of the forty-eight contiguous states and you must call us direct so we can engage our representatives at the place of death. 

Jewish Funeral Mourning Customs

Riverside Memorial Chapel is committed to the dignity and sanctity of a dignified ceremony. Two overriding principles govern the Jewish approach to death and mourning.

First is Kavod Ha-Met (Honoring the Dead). It is of the utmost importance to treat the body with respect and care from the time of death until the burial is completed.

Second is the view that death is a Natural Process: Death is considered a natural part of the life cycle, and the body must be returned to the earth whence it came. Hence, everything associated with the body must remain, facilitating its proper return, “From ashes to ashes, dust to dust”.

Jewish Funeral Tradition and Law

Jewish law and tradition have endowed the funeral with profound religious significance. The following Guide lists the basic requirements of a traditional Jewish funeral:

K’REEAH/TEARING OF GARMENTS
The rending of the mourners’ outer garments, a symbol of their anguish and grief.

K’VURAH/BURIAL
The actual burial in the ground; filling in the grave with earth until a mound is formed. To participate in filling the grave is a religious privilege and duty.

TRADITIONAL WASHING
The Chevra Kadisha or burial society prepares the deceased for internment by performing a prescribed bath known among Ashkenazic Jews as the Taharah (purification) and by Sephardic Jews as the Rehisa (bathing).

Doing kind deeds for someone who has just died is done with the knowledge that your kindness cannot be repaid by that person and thus has long been regarded as the ultimate act of kindness and unselfishness. Such bathing ceremonies are performed for men by men and for women by women. Ecclesiastes stated, "As he came, so shall he go." Just as a newborn child is immediately washed and enters this world clean and pure, so shall a person who departs this world be cleansed and made pure.

SHMEERAH/WATCHING
The watching over the deceased by a pious Jewish person. The deceased should not be left unattended until interment is completed.

TACHRICHIM/BURIAL GARMENTS
The traditional white burial shrouds symbolizing that all are equal before their Creator.

ARON/CASKET
The wooden casket, in keeping with the Rabbinical teaching, “dust thou art and to dust thou shalt return.”

After a Death in a Jewish Family

The first thing that most people do after a death in the family has occurs is to contact a funeral provider in order to transfer the remains, supply the name of the cemetery, and schedule the time of the funeral.

Honoring the Dead

Riverside will provide members of a Chevra Kadisha or Jewish burial society, or accommodate those of a synagogue, who prepare the deceased for interment by performing the traditional purification known as Taharah. Doing acts of kindness for someone who has just died is done with the knowledge that that kindness cannot be repaid by the deceased, and thus, has long been regarded as the ultimate act of selflessness. This time honored tradition is performed for men by men and for women by women. Ecclesiastes states: “As he came so shall he go”. Just as a newborn child is immediately washed and enters this world clean and pure, so shall a person who departs this world be cleansed and made pure.

BURIAL IN ISRAEL

Riverside Memorial Chapel will provide all arrangements for burial in Israel.
Riverside Memorial Chapel Licensed Funeral Directors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

PHONE 212-362-6600 & 800-262-6609
EMAIL: moreinfo@riversidememorialchapel.com
RIVERSIDE MEMORIAL CHAPEL
180 WEST 76TH STREET
NEW YORK NEW YORK 10023