Jewish bereavement
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Jewish Bereavement

After shiva is over and the house is empty, many mourners find themselves feeling empty and sad. Jewish tradition provides guidance about time’s passage, activities of the mourner and the community, and the language of condolence. Judaism gives specific and practical details about the process of mourning, from the moment of death, through burial, stages of mourning and yearly anniversaries of death. Below are a websites designed to explore Jewish mourning rituals and traditions.

My Jewish Learning
A transdenominational website of Jewish information and education geared towards learners of all religious and educational backgrounds. A comprehensive resource featuring articles, essays and guided learning on attitudes, themes and sources on traditional, practical and contemporary issues of death and mourning.

National Center for Jewish Healing
The NCJH helps communities better meet the spiritual needs of Jews living with illness, loss and other significant life challenges. They offer resource materials and publications.

Ritual Well
A source for innovative, contemporary Jewish ritual, with resources that address each aspect of the process of navigating death and mourning; from the moment of death, to the burial of the body, the tearing of clothes, the weeklong practice of shiva, and the recitation of kaddish.

Jewish Death and Mourning Customs
An example of one Conservative congregation’s guide to its customs and traditions.

Life, Death and Mourning
A basic description, from an Orthodox viewpoint, on what Judaism says about life, death, and mourning.

"In the face of death, we are confronted by powerful emotions and questions to which we have no answers. That is often when ritual shows its greatest strength. Judaism presents us with a highly structured series of procedures and steps than can help us through our grief and ease us back into the rhythm of life. Jewish tradition recognizes our confused emotions and shows us how to act on them in clearly demarcated stages of mourning."* Often, however, our grief is too strong or complicated, and we need help from outside our immediate family or community.

Included are pages of support and educational groups, counselors and resources to help you, or someone you care for, find a way through the journey of mourning.

*Adapted from The Jewish Mourners Handbook, 1992, Rabbi William Cutter, Chairman, Editorial Committee, Behrman House.

© 2006 The Jewish Bereavement Project. Designed by Karin Mueller. Supported by the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion.