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5 Things to Know About Jewish Loss

Jewish cemetery monument

The ways in which a Jew observes and celebrates Judaism are many. There is a variety of observation levels on Long Island.

At Fox Monuments, we can assist you with every detail. Whether you are Orthodox, Conservative, or Reformed, we have the perfect monument for your loved one. The sages once said that to be a Jew is to be Jewish enough. No matter how you observe, let us help you.

What You Need To Know

Whether you are Jewish or not, having lost a loved one or wanting to support those in mourning is a noble act. Surprisingly, it can be tricky if you’re unfamiliar with certain traditions or procedures.

1) Important Terms and Phrases

  • Alav Hashalom– “Peace be Upon Him/Her” Also written as A”H. This is the Jewish version of saying rest in peace.
  • Aninut- “Deep Sorrow”. This refers to a time period. It is the time in which the loved one learned of the death to the burial.
  • Baruch Dayan HaEmet- “ Blessed is the True Judge”. Words offered to the grieving immediate relative. These words are expressed traditionally as the relative tears the black piece of fabric they will wear on their clothes during Shiva.
  • Keriah “Tearing”. The immediate family performs this custom.  It is a small garment worn for 30 days after the burial. Siblings and spouses wear the Kriah on the right side whereas children wear it on the left.
  • Nihum Avelim- “Comfort the Living”. This is the act of consoling the mourners. This is one of the noblest acts a person can perform. Those who nihum avelim are amongst the those who possess chesed (grace, benevolence, kindness).
  • Zikhrono Livrahka– “May Their Memory Be a Blessing” – Also written as z”l. These words are meant to provide comfort. They reassure that the deceased will not be forgotten. The responsibility of carrying on the memory and stories of the one passed loved one now lies on the family and friends. Offered to bring comfort.


2) Ways to Honor the Deceased

  1. One of the most impactful ways to honor a deceased Jew is to ensure they receive a proper Jewish burial.
  2. Ensure that a Minyan is present at the burial services.
  3. Give tzedakah in honor of the deceased. Undoubtedly is a continuation of honor towards them.
  4. Visit the gravesite. Place a stone or pebble on the grave marker. Thus this shows loved ones that someone was there to honor the deceased.
  5. Upkeep of the gravesite. Make sure that the burial plot doesn’t become overrun with weeds.
  6. Name a new baby in honor of the deceased. The baby’s name can start with the first letter of the deceased’s name. The Hebrew name given to the baby may also reflect the deceased.


3) Differences in Ritual

There are three different observation levels in Judaism. There is reform, conservative and orthodox. Depending on where you are in the country or the world, there are different sects of Judaism within those denominations as well. Jewish people are free to observe in a way that serves them. There are a variety of different congregations, each honoring traditions and Halacha (Jewish Law) in their own ways.

Reform Judaism is the most recent denomination to come about. Their practices and observation will show this. They are less observant of Halacha than other sects. Orthodox Judaism observes Halacha strictly. Comparatively, conservative Jews are in between.

4) The Casket

Known as the Aron in Hebrew. There are no fancy caskets or casket shopping in Judaism. A traditional Jewish casket must meet certain criteria per Halacha. Pure pine wood is used to make the box. The casket has no metal on it. Some caskets may even have holes drilled in the bottom. This is to help aid in decomposition and allow the body to return to the earth.  Reformed Jews may not follow Halacha strictly. This doesn’t mean that the cemetery doesn’t have certain requirements for the Aron.

5) Covering Mirrors During Shiva

If you’ve ever paid a Shiva call, there may have been things in the home that wasn’t very familiar to you. There were no flowers. Instead, there were massive amounts of food and sweets being delivered. Lastly, all of the mirrors were covered. Death represents the literal juxtaposition between man and God. Humans are not invincible. Along with humanly traits comes ego. When looking in a mirror, the ego is very present. In order to take all the focus off of self, the mirrors are covered. In this way, the mourner is able to be present at the moment. All the focus is on the deceased.

We Can Help Navigate the Unknown

At Fox, we take the time to aid you in every decision. If you’re looking for the best place to get your Jewish monument on Long Island, look no further. From start to finish, our staff is with you to lend a listening ear and a compassionate suggestion. Whether picking the Hebrew inscription or setting the stone, let Fox monuments help you.