Yis’ga’dal v’yis’kadash sh’may ra’bbo, b’olmo dee’vro chir’usay v’yamlich malchu’say, b’chayaychon uv’yomay’chon uv’chayay d’chol bais Yisroel, ba’agolo u’viz’man koriv; v’imru Omein.
Y’hay shmay rabbo m’vorach l’olam ul’olmay olmayo.
Yisborach v’yishtabach v’yispoar v’yisromam v’yismasay, v’yishador v’yis’aleh v’yisalal, shmay d’kudsho, brich hu, l’aylo min kl birchoso v’sheeroso, tush’bechoso v’nechemoso, da,ameeran b’olmo; vimru Omein.
Y’hay shlomo rabbo min sh’mayo, v’chayim alaynu v’al kol Yisroel; v’imru Omein.
Oseh sholom bimromov, hu ya’aseh sholom olaynu, v’al kol yisroel; vimru Omein.
May the great Name of God be exalted and sanctified, throughout the world, which he has created according to his will. May his Kingship be established in your lifetime and in your days, and in the lifetime of the entire household of Israel, swiftly and in the near future; and say, Amen.May his great name be blessed, forever and ever.
Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled, honored elevated and lauded be the Name of the holy one, Blessed is he- above and beyond any blessings and hymns, Praises and consolations which are uttered in the world; and say Amen. May there be abundant peace from Heaven, and life, upon us and upon all Israel; and say, Amen.
He who makes peace in his high holy places, may he bring peace upon us, and upon all Israel; and say Amen.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
The psalm is loved by Jews and Christians alike, speaking as it does of God’s protection and care. Both traditions use the psalm as a hymn. For the Jews, Psalm 23 is used as a focus for the third meal in the Shabbat, (the Sabbath rest) and on other religious occasions such as in the Yizkor (prayers of remembrance).
The Christian church has two or three popular melodies that set the psalm to music. The most popular is set to the “Crimond” tune, another being the melody also used in John Newton’s “Amazing Grace”.
The psalm is often used at funerals, speaking as it does of God’s protection in the face of death.
El Moley Rachamin
Grant proper rest on the wings of the Divine Presence –
In the lofty levels of the holy and the pure ones,
Who shine like the glow of the firmament –
For the soul of (…….) who has gone on to his world,
Because, without making a vow,
I will contribute to charity in remembrance of his soul.
May his resting place be in the Garden of Eden –
Therefore may the Master of Mercy
Shelter him in the shelter of His wings for Eternity,
And may He bind his soul in the Bond of Life.
The Lord is his heritage,
And may he repose in peace on his resting place.
After A Death
A mourner in Judaism is one who is defined as being Kaddish related, which means they are obligated to observe the rites of mourning for the deceased. Those who are considered mourners are the spouse, parent, sibling or child of the deceased. It’s important to realize that other family members, although not technically considered mourners, may choose to observe many of the rites of mourning because of the close relationship they had with the deceased. From the time of death until the burial, the mourner is considered an Onen and is relieved of many of the normal obligations incumbent upon an individual. The main obligation of an Onen is to arrange for the proper Jewish burial of the deceased.
Besides your personal Dallas or Houston Jewish Funerals funeral director, the first person to be called should be your rabbi or the deceased’s rabbi. A time is not set for the funeral until the rabbi has been contacted. The rabbi will do whatever is necessary to change his or her schedule to accommodate the family’s wishes, but there are times when that is not possible. We will coordinate a time for the service that allows for the family’s needs, as well as the time constraints of the rabbi and cemetery.
Depending upon a congregation’s policy, a service may be held in the temple or synagogue. Many people today are opting for services at the cemetery only. It is difficult to predict how many people will attend a funeral, but if the deceased is young or leaves a large family, or is active in business or social activities, it is likely that a large number of people will want the opportunity to pay their respects by coming to the funeral. Because we specialize in graveside services, we are prepared for and can accommodate any size service.
The Traditional Jewish Funeral
Viewing the deceased is not a Jewish custom, and tradition teaches us that it is disrespectful to look at a person who cannot look back. Therefore, a Traditional funeral would be one in which the casket is kept closed and there is no viewing, except for purposes of identification by the family, if they so desire. Unless local laws require, embalming – a chemical process of sanitation and temporary preservation – should be avoided. Your funeral director will advise you if any laws apply that would make embalming necessary.
If the family wishes, we will contact the Chevra Kadisha. The Chevra Kadisha, the sacred society, is a group of pious men and women who have taken on the obligation of ritually preparing the deceased. They perform the Taharah, which means purification. These people ritually bathe the deceased and then dress the person in Tachrichim, shrouds, the Traditional burial garments. (Male members of the Chevra Kadisha prepare a male deceased and female members of the Chevra Kadisha prepare a female deceased.) Usually made of white, pure linen, the Tachrichim symbolize that we are all equal in death. The simple white garment without pockets is physical proof that we take nothing with us when we leave this world, and that God judges us on our merits and deeds, not the material wealth we may have accumulated.
Tradition calls for a simple wooden casket, made without metal parts. Dallas and Houston Jewish Funerals have traditional caskets ranging from an unfinished pine to a solid plank walnut. Again, this is something the family will decide upon privately, and any casket they select will be the appropriate and correct one.
Most traditional funerals do not have flowers as this is considered an unnecessary and frivolous adornment. Many Reform and Conservative Jews choose to have some flowers present for the service, and as long as the rabbi has no objections, it is permissible. Most rabbis do not object to the family’s wish to have a small floral tribute on the casket, but don’t want Jewish funerals to resemble the funeral customs of non-Jews in having the casket surrounded by flowers.
Funerals usually last about twenty minutes and consist of the recitation of Psalms, Scripture readings and a eulogy. Prior to or after the services, the mourners perform the ritual of K’riah, the rending of the garment. This ancient custom is symbolic of the tear that’s in the mourner’s heart. Traditionally the clothing is torn, but many people today use a black ribbon that is attached to the outside of the clothing. When people see the ribbon, or the tear in the clothing, it is a sign that that person is a mourner.
The ribbon is worn, or the clothing cut, on the left side of the person if they are mourning the death of a parent. For all other Kaddish relatives, the ribbon or clothing is cut on the person’s right side. This is to acknowledge that the relationship with a parent is different, and, therefore we observe the difference by performing the K’riah, on the side closest to the heart. When we see a person wearing the ribbon or torn clothes, we should offer our condolences to the mourner, even if we don’t know the mourner or whom they are mourning. Mourners are already uncomfortable and when we see them, if we avoid talking to them or ignore the fact that they are mourners, it adds to their feelings of loneliness and isolation.
A special prayer is said when the clothing or ribbon is cut. …’Dayan Ha’emet,’ …”Blessed is the Judge of Truth.” This is said because as mortals, we cannot understand God’s decrees and judgments. Rather, all we can do is accept those judgments, and to acknowledge that God is in control of all life. The ribbon, or torn clothing is worn traditionally for seven days, except on Shabbat. When mourning the death of a parent, the ribbon or torn clothing is traditionally worn for thirty days.
As with Shiva, some festivals and holidays affect the observance and practice of the K’riah, and it is suggested you speak with your rabbi for the interpretations as they affect an individual set of circumstances.
The Chesed Shel Emet, the ultimate act of love and kindness, is shown to the deceased when the mourners and friends participate in the actual burial. Many people symbolically participate by placing a few shovels of earth onto the casket or vault. Because this is something the deceased cannot do for himself; because the deceased cannot ask the mourners to do it for her; and since the deceased cannot repay–or even simply thank–the mourners for seeing to his or her proper Jewish burial, this becomes the ultimate, unselfish act of love and kindness. Although extremely difficult and emotionally painful, the actual burial of our dead has been proven to be more psychologically beneficial than if the casket were left on top of the grave and the mourners walked away. Participating and witnessing in the burial gives closure to the relationship and affords the mourners an opportunity to do something physical for their loved one a final time. It also helps to minimize any illusions that the death might not have been real.
After the burial, upon leaving the grave, it is Traditional for those in attendance who are not mourners to form a Shura, a double line facing each other, forming a pathway through which the mourners pass to receive words of comfort. Since Tradition teaches us that we don’t offer words of consolation to mourners until after the burial, this provides the first opportunity to express the Traditional words of comfort, “May you be comforted among all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.” Any kind words of sympathy may be said to the mourners as they pass through the double line. There is an expression in Hebrew that translates, “Words from the heart go directly to the heart,” and any kind expression that is honest and meaningful is, more than likely, appropriate at this time.
Following The Burial
There are many customs and traditions – many based on superstition – that surround the returning from the cemetery. Because many of these are customs, it is best to discuss these with your rabbi. Some of the customs many Jewish people observe are covering the mirrors in the house of mourning, having a pitcher of water outside the house for mourners to wash their hands, or using a different route home from the cemetery, among many others. Your rabbi will be best able to guide you in which of these customs (and the reasons behind them) will be meaningful for you and your family.
One of the oldest, most important, and meaningful traditions the Jewish people have is that upon returning to the house of mourning following the burial, the community provides the first meal. Eggs or bagels are traditionally served to symbolize the continuity of life. This meal of condolence, called the Seudat Hawra’ah, was begun in recognition that if left to the mourners’ own wills, they may not eat and would then become ill. Today, we know that when we are grieving our resistance is lower, and we are more susceptible to sickness. Another reason for the community to provide the first meal is to set the tone for the period of Shiva. The mourners are not to be “hosting” a party, nor are they to be concerned with taking care of other people’s needs. Rather, the community is there to take care of the mourners.
Shiva, The First Period Of Mourning
During Shiva, mourners remain at home and the Jewish community comes and offers comfort to them. The only time a mourner is supposed to leave the home is on Shabbat to attend services in the synagogue. During the Shiva period, the community comes into the mourner’s home, and it is there that the three daily (morning, afternoon and evening) services are held. The Kaddish prayer is recited during these services, and it is interesting to note how much comfort is derived from the recitation of the Kaddish prayer.
The atmosphere in the house of mourning should be one of dignity, and one should avoid creating a party atmosphere during Shiva. Talk should be centered around the deceased, as it certainly is permissible to talk about the deceased. Shiva should be a time to remember with fondness many of the events of which the deceased was a part. Often we think that talking about the deceased and remembering events and happenings will be upsetting to the mourners. Out of our discomfort, we avoid talking about the memories we have of the deceased. In fact, the contrary is true. Mourners find comfort in hearing stories about their loved one, and although they may seem overwhelmed and upset, they would much prefer people talking about their loved one rather than thinking that people have forgotten the person.
It is understandable that we are nervous and uncomfortable when we are in the presence of mourners or anyone in emotional pain. We need to learn how to become more at ease when tragedy strikes those around us. Part of our uneasiness comes from not knowing what to say to a person in grief. More often than not, it’s not anything we might say that brings solace to our grieving friends, it is simply our presence that lets them know we care and are concerned for their welfare.
Shloshim, The Next Period Of Mourning
At the conclusion of Shiva, Shloshim serves as a period of re-entry into the world of the living for the mourner. This is the time when the mourner returns to work or school and begins to start living without their loved one. During Shloshim, the mourner traditionally avoids music, gaiety and other forms of celebrations. Your rabbi will help you with specific questions that may arise.
Yahrzeit calendar for your loved one
Unveiling / Dedication Of The Marker
A Matzava, or headstone, can be as elaborate or as simple as the family wishes, so long as it conforms to the rules and regulations of the cemetery. Most often, the person’s Hebrew name is inscribed along with the dates of birth and death. Your rabbi will be helpful in having the deceased’s Hebrew name correctly inscribed in the monument, as well as helping you prepare an unveiling ceremony if you choose not to have a rabbi officiate. The Houston/Dallas Jewish Funerals staff can help you select an appropriate memorial for the grave.
Visiting The Grave
It is traditional that when one attends a burial, visiting the graves of others who are buried there is not done. Not visiting other graves is out of respect to the person who is being buried, as well as to the person previously interred. Exceptions to this rule would be if the people have come from a far distance or if to make another trip cause undue hardship.
Selection Of A Cemetery
Qualifications to receive the Social Security Lump Sum Death Benefit were changed in 1981. In order for Social Security to pay the Lump Sum Death benefit, three qualifications must be met. First, the deceased must have paid into Social Security for the minimum number of quarters. This is regardless of whether or not the deceased was receiving Social Security benefits during his or her life. Second, there must be either a surviving spouse or dependent child to make the claim. And, finally, the surviving spouse, dependent child, or their representative must file an application with the Social Security Administration. The Lump Sum Death Benefit is not an automatic benefit; it must be applied for. The Lump Sum Death Benefit is in addition to any other Social Security benefits to which the surviving spouse or dependent child may be entitled. This benefit no longer can be assigned to the funeral home as payment towards the outstanding funeral bill.
Veterans’ benefits are slightly more complicated, but again, the Houston/Dallas Jewish Funerals staff will help you understand each of the benefits as they may apply to your situation. Where and under what circumstances the death occurs will determine the amount of the benefit payable by the Veterans Administration.
To qualify, the deceased veteran must have an honorable discharge and had to have served during certain periods as determined by the Veterans Administration. These benefits are paid as a reimbursement to the person who paid the funeral bill. Once again, we will help you file for these benefits.
Qualified deceased veterans, or their spouse or eligible children, can be buried in a cemetery maintained by the V.A. In the event the family chooses not to have burial in a national cemetery, there may be a small reimbursement available toward the cemetery expenses. A flag is provided by the government that can be placed on the casket of an eligible veteran. The family can choose to have the flag draped on the casket or folded and then placed on the casket. The third benefit available to an eligible deceased veteran is a government grave marker or monument. There are a number of markers available and depending upon the cemetery requirements; at least one of the monuments available will be acceptable.
Some people have life insurance or other benefits through their employment or union that are payable upon death. We will assist you in contacting the issuing company and can advise you as to how to go about applying for any benefits that may be available. A note of caution, however: even though a family has an insurance policy, it doesn’t mean that the policy is still in force at the time of death. Sometimes the policy was allowed to lapse, the policy was cashed in, or if there were a provision for borrowing against it, the owner of the policy may have used that option. In any event, the insurance company will advise you at the time of application as to the status of the policy.
Preparing For The Future
By pre-arranging a funeral through Houston/Dallas Jewish Funerals, you can be assured that your wishes will be carried out as you specifically expressed. In addition, we are able to guarantee that the price you pay now will provide the services you select, no matter when they need to be provided. We have flexible payment programs and any of our qualified funeral directors can explain in detail how this plan can fit into your financial planning.
In today’s ever-changing economic environment, there are times when asset management becomes critically important. Many people need to use the services of nursing homes and sometimes need to apply for various forms of public assistance. In each of these instances, a pre-paid, guaranteed funeral trust or an insurance policy from Houston/Dallas Jewish Funerals can be used to meet the financial restrictions that some of these benefits impose.