Bereavement

If you have a question about bereavement in general or a specific need, please email us or call us at (301) 340-6818. If you have an immediate need and the synagogue office is closed, please call our emergency number, (301) 332-3566.  While we are here to help in any way we can, please note that our clergy can only officiate at the funeral of a current member of the congregation or a relative of a current member for whom s/he would sit shiva.

Nachamu Ami – Comfort My People

The death of a loved one forces us to confront many issues which 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, starting with 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 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
Download the Memorial Plaque order form

What to Do

Traditions and Customs