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3 Ideas for Funerals & Memorials When You Can’t Be Together

Sad boy in medical mask near Headstone

The COVID-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on our ability to gather, mourn and grieve together. Families are losing loved ones at alarming rates, but are unable to assemble in large groups for Shiva or funerals. This can be doubly painful for anyone already suffering the loss of a loved one. Wakes and funerals have always been a critical means of expressing grief and mourning together. But when we can’t assemble, what do we do?

Usually, when a Jewish individual passes, their family receives a lot of emotional and physical support from friends, family and community. This kind of support is integral to the Jewish faith. However, in the age of COVID-19, how do we conduct funerals or memorials when we must socially distance and can’t gather?

In this post, we’ll discuss three ideas for funerals and memorials when we can’t gather.

1. Have a Burial Now & In-Person Event Later

Remember: you don’t have to rush to have a memorial service. Even in the most normal of circumstances, a lot of families say they wish they’d taken more time before having a memorial or funeral service. There’s no reason you need to do the entire event immediately.

Also, you can do something small or virtual now, and then something in person with friends and family later. It can be when we’re able to assemble again, or you could plan it for your loved one’s birthday, a holiday or another significant date.

2. Stream the Service

This suggestion is probably the most obvious. If friends and family can’t be with you, you can deliver the service to them online. Some funeral home or temples already provide this option.

Even if you’re a Zoom or FaceTime expert, arranging this to ensure that everyone at home can see, hear or participate requires a lot of planning and coordination. Therefore, make sure you’ve worked out all the details in advance.

3. Request Photos For a Virtual Slideshow

One of the more enjoyable aspects of a wake, Shiva or funeral is the occasional collection of photos. Since we’re now in an era when most of our photos are already digital, many of these slideshows would be electronic even if in a funeral home, temple or church.

Therefore, you should reach out to friends and family and ask them to provide any photos they may have of your loved one. With these pictures, you can put together a digital slideshow that you can play during the service. If you use the Zoom webinar feature, you can share the screen of the computer playing the slideshow. Then, anyone present during the digital service can see all the photos directly on their screen.

Conclusion – Fox Monuments

This may seem an insurmountable time for many, but there are still plenty of ways to adapt to these circumstances and give your loved ones a proper send-off. At Fox Monuments, we’ve provided Long Island’s Jewish community with stunning, one-of-a-kind custom monuments for years. And we’ll continue to do so throughout this pandemic and long afterwards.