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3 Ways to Offer Socially Distanced Condolences in the Time of COVID-19

Headstone in a Jewish cemetery with Star of David and memory stones

There are so many unprecedented measures currently in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures are having a dramatic effect on several families losing loved ones during this very uncertain time. As we’re unable to gather or assemble in large groups, it can be doubly painful for mourners. Common Jewish traditions around the end of life, like Shiva, have been completely disrupted.

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 express condolences to those who have suffered a loss?

In this post, we’ll explore how to express condolences safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.


1. Find a Digital Way to Engage

Nowadays, physical presence is often not an option when it comes to expressing condolences. Therefore, we must redefine how we support our grieving friends and family. In some cases, families will visit monuments, hold a burial or shiva but restrict the number of visitors. However, most families are not holding gatherings of any kind in order to eliminate the risk of COVID-19.

While you can’t physically be with the mourning family, you can still send support in other ways. Technology has provided us with means of adapting to social distancing guidelines. Many businesses are utilizing Zoom, FaceTime and other video technology to operate safely. You can contact any friends or family who have suffered a loss the same way to express your condolences without being in the same room.


3. Prepare Meals For the Family or Have Food Delivered

In the Jewish faith, it’s common to prepare meals of consolation for grieving families. The meal of consolation, also known as the meal of condolence, is one of the many ways in which we can help friends through their grief. To ease the stress of the mourning family, the community often provides them a a meal. So, both the presence of the food and the warm gesture contribute to the impact of the meal of condolence.

In addition, this can be a safe way to express your sympathy to a grieving family. You can send the meal to them without any physical interaction. Therefore, during this uncertain age of COVID-19, it’s an optimal way to send your condolences and pay your respects.


3. Plant a Tree In Their Memory

Planting a memorial tree for an individual is a safe and appropriate way to pay tribute to someone you’ve lost. This is a highly respected Jewish tradition for several life events and more specifically, it’s a way to honor the life and legacy of friends, family and those no longer present. Together with the planting of the tree, a memorial certificate will be created and sent to the family to honor their loved one and also express condolences.



While there will never be a substitute for human interaction, these can safely help you to show your support for grieving friends and family. Right now, we all have to make adjustments that feel counterintuitive. However, it’s of paramount importance to keep each other safe until COVID-19 is behind us entirely. At Fox Monuments, we’re still here to provide you with stunning and enduring custom Jewish headstones to honor your loved ones.