Upon the death of a loved one, the first calls are to the Temple – (301) 340-6818 and the funeral provider. The clergy will assist you taking the next steps. The funeral provider will assure that the death certificate is obtained and provided to you. The provider will also arrange for removal of the body. A listing of local funeral directors is provided here for your convenience.
Arrangements may vary depending on where the death occurs.
If the decedent died at home, it may be necessary to call the police or 911 to report the death and arrange for removal of the body.
In a hospital setting, the death certificate will be prepared by the attending physician and the body will be held until arrangements can be made with the funeral home.
In a hospice setting, the hospice doctor should be notified. The doctor will sign the necessary documents and hospice will help make the necessary arrangements.
If you want Temple clergy to officiate at the funeral, it is important to coordinate with Temple staff before any arrangements are finalized. Even if Temple staff will not be involved in the funeral service, the congregation will provide support to the bereaved family.
If the family knows death is imminent, it is better to discuss and resolve some of these issues and procedures concerning the funeral and burial beforehand.
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) 641-8326. 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 they would sit shiva.
When a death occurs, the immediate mourners enter a period known as aninut, the period of time between death and burial. Mourners are freed from social and ritual obligations. During this period, only family and close friends should visit with the mourners so that they can express their initial grief and feelings in private. The shiva period does not begin until after the funeral and burial.
The loss of a loved one to suicide is among the most painful to endure. While suicide is commonly stigmatized and misunderstood, death by suicide is often a result of disease (mental illness) rather than of personal choice. Jewish tradition understands the importance of approaching the tragedy of suicide with compassion, and we are here for you with open hearts. Please contact the clergy staff in the case of a suicide so that we might provide you with additional support.
Stillbirth and Neonatal Death
The pain of suffering a stillbirth and neonatal death is almost unfathomable. The traditional laws of Jewish mourning, written so long ago, do not require a funeral service, the recitation of Kaddish, or sitting shiva; however, many find they need a Jewish way to mourn this devastating loss. If your family is navigating such a loss, please reach out to our clergy. We are here to support you and offer comfort and guidance through Jewish ritual.