Jewish rituals around death sum up everything that is noble in our tradition. Once a person dies, their body is handled with utmost care and respect, as the dead person is in a state of utter vulnerability, they can do no more for us and we must now do everything for them. Every person is buried in the same simple plain wooden coffin, with the same set of simple linen shrouds.
The funeral itself is short. The eulogy is truthful, and should make the people present feel they can begin to mourn, because it sums up the essence of who that person was. There are no flowers or adornments, and the straightforward nature of the funeral itself brings the reality of their loss home; that person is truly gone.
Once home form the funeral, the mourners now enter a special sort of state, suspended from the ordinary world (hopefully) for 7 days of mourning. Family, friends and community come and keep them company, and prayers are held in the home. This stage is called shiva, which means ’seven’.
Nowadays, many people ‘sit’ shiva for only one or two days, but our Kehillah will support you to observe as many of the seven days as you wish.
The death is marked again at 30 days after the death, and then each year, on the anniversary, the yahrzeit, when their name is read out in synagogue and the community recites Kaddish.
We strongly encourage all of our members to join our Liberal Judaism funeral scheme, which covers all the costs of burial. Progressive Judaism also allows cremation. We have two cemeteries, at Edgewarebury and Cheshunt and cremations can take place anywhere.
Please do contact our administrator for details.