This page of our website is intended to provide general information about Jewish rituals for bereavement. If you are a TBA member and need immediate clergy support for the death of a loved one, please call Debbie Ezrin at (301) 340-6818. If you are calling after the office is closed, follow the prompts to the emergency line.

If you need a rabbi for a funeral and are not a member of TBA, please ask the funeral home to connect you with a rabbi who can support you during this difficult time.

Nachamu Ami – Comfort My People

The death of a loved one forces us to confront many issues that are stressful and confusing. Nachamu Ami offers guidance on ritual observances and practical concerns as an aid to Temple members and their families. It defines and explains the most common Jewish practices associated with death, burial, and mourning. Practical considerations are also addressed. Throughout, the dominant values of our tradition are stressed — respect for the deceased and comfort for the survivors.

By providing an overview of Jewish customs and belief, Nachamu Ami can serve as a manual for bereaved families. It is organized in chronological sequence:

  • Part 1: the initial steps and special considerations relating to the death, followed by funeral and burial practices, and the various stages of mourning (shiva, sheloshim, avelut).
  • Part 2 includes annual memorial practices as well as special sections with references relating to meditations, helping children cope with death, and further details about Jewish practices and rituals, a list of the area Funeral Providers, and a detachable SUMMARY to help the bereaved.
  • Terms discussed in the text that are in ITALICS are defined in the glossary.

Where a variation in custom or ritual exists, Nachamu Ami highlights those of Reform Judaism especially as practiced at Temple Beth Ami. Be aware that customs may vary from place-to-place, so consult the clergy in the community where the funeral service is to take place. It is our hope that a review of these practices and options will provide some guidance to the bereaved family and their family and friends. Please do not hesitate to contact the Temple clergy and staff for further clarification or any discussion of special issues not covered here.

Download the Nachamu Ami Bereavement Guide

What to Do

Traditions and Customs