The accepted customs of dress and behavior in a funeral have changed over time, but courtesy never goes out of style. Here’s what we’d like you to know about funeral etiquette.
Making the Most of a Difficult Time
It’s important to know what religious, ethnic or personal considerations you need to take into account. And it’s also important to be respectful of the emotions of close family members.
Here are a few things expected of you:
- Offer an expression of sympathy.
Sometimes we are at a loss for words when encountering something as final as death. Simply saying "I'm sorry for your loss" is usually enough. Be respectful and listen attentively when spoken to, and offer your own words of condolence. The same goes for the shiva, but if you have more detailed questions about the shiva, the Rabbi is always the best authority.
- Give a donation
In the Jewish tradition, flowers are traditionally discouraged. It is customary to make a donation to honor the life of the deceased. Most of the time, the family will specify where they would like this donation to be made. Please click on the deceased obituary to see if they have made this designation.
- Sign the register book.
We provide the opportunity to sign the register book when you arrive at the funeral. That way, the family will be able to see who attend their loved ones funeral days and weeks after the service.
- Keep in touch.
It's sometimes awkward for you to do so, but for most people the grieving doesn't end with a funeral. Attending the shiva and helping to make a minyan are a few of the greatest mitzvahs you can do.
But, What Shouldn't You Do?
- Don't feel that you have to stay.
If you make a shiva call, there's no reason your stay has to be a lengthy one.
- Don't be afraid to laugh.
Remembering their loved one fondly can mean sharing a funny story or two. Just be mindful of the time and place; if others are sharing, then you may do so too. There is simply no good reason you shouldn't talk about the deceased in a happy, positive tone.
- Don't allow your children to be a disturbance.
If you feel they might be, then leave them with a sitter. But, if the deceased meant something to them, it's a good idea to invite them to share in the experience.
- Don't leave your cell phone on.
Switch it off before entering the funeral home, or better yet, leave it in the car. All too often, we see people checking their cell phones for messages during the services.
- Don't neglect to step into the receiving line.
Simply say how sorry you are for their loss, offer up your own name and how you knew the deceased.
- Don't be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake.
Everyone does, and you can be sure that an apology may be all that's needed to mend and soothe.
When it's all over, always remember to continue to offer support and love to the bereaved. The next few months are a time when grieving friends and relatives could need you most. Let them know that your support did not end with the funeral.
We are Here to Help
Perhaps you've got special concerns about an upcoming funeral or memorial service? We're here to provide the answers you're looking for. Call us at (612) 871-1234.