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For My Bashert: A Double Jewish Headstone

double jewish headstone

A headstone should be a lasting testament to an individual’s life. With a beautiful headstone inscription, a description of their relationships to others, plus symbols, there is a lot that a headstone can say about a person. Ultimately, a headstone is a permanent, enduring tribute to the legacy of a loved one.

One factor that speaks strongly, though, is the sharing of a headstone. In the Jewish faith, sharing a headstone with a loved one is a testament to their lives together. At Fox Monuments, we strive to give Jewish couples the final resting place they deserve with respectful headstones.


What does Bashert mean?

The word “bashert” has Yiddish origins – it translates to “destiny.” However, it most often describes a soulmate or spouse. Bashert is a description of a romantic destiny. Essentially, it’s someone who serves as the ideal companion in life and death.

A double headstone allows couples to continue their journey together. It represents the eternal union of marriage. By burying both individuals in the same plot, their souls can continue to comfort one another.

Occasionally, parents who suffer the tragedy of a child’s death also elect to use double headstones.

Burying loved ones together helps to comfort grieving family members. Basically, it’s an assurance that they’ll be forever surrounded by love.

double jewish headstone

Reasons to Choose a Double Jewish Headstone

Financial Reasons

Unfortunately, funeral arrangements can be quite a financial burden for many families. This is especially true when the monument is not pre-planned. Purchasing a double Jewish headstone will help offset these costs for a more affordable headstone.

In terms of the headstone, it’s much cheaper to purchase one double headstone than it is to purchase two single headstones. The cost of materials is much cheaper. Additionally, a two plot grave is more reasonably priced than two separate single grave sites. Therefore, purchasing a double Jewish monument for your loved one is both a sound financial and spiritual decision.

double jewish headstone

Convenient Visitation

Locating a Jewish monument within a large grave site can be confusing and time consuming. When families don’t visit a gravesite for a long period of time, it becomes even harder. This is especially true during the traditional Jewish stages of mourning.

Burying family members together with a double Jewish headstone eliminates the frustration and inconvenience of locating multiple burial plots. By taking this route, both family members can be buried in the same plot. This is preferable, as arranging for two single plots next to each other is nearly impossible. This means that, when your family is visiting deceased relatives, they don’t have to search long for the correct area. Then, relatives may leave their stones, flowers, and gifts in one location.

Double Monuments are Larger

Similar to the convenience of visitation, double monuments are also larger. Basically, this means that they’re easier to identify in a group. They’re also more visually appealing. This is great for families who appreciate fine details in a headstone. A larger headstone enables families to honor their deceased relatives.

Relatives Can Be Buried at Different Times

It’s uncommon for two family members sharing a family monument to pass away at the same time. Instead, the ordering process normally takes place after the first individual passes away. The other half of the headstone is typically left blank.

After the second individual passes away, our craftsmen can inscribe the memorial symbols for the latter, whether it’s a spouse, parent, child or other relation. They can do this without ever removing the headstone. In fact, our staff can add new inscriptions while the headstone’s still in the ground.



At Fox Monuments, our goal is to help you give your family the honored burial they deserve. We strive to make this process as seamless and comforting for you during your time of grief.

Jewish Practices Immediately Following Death

A yellow Maple Leaf is lying on gravestone with the star of David symbol. Jewish cemetery background

At Fox Monuments, we have years of experience as a leading provider of Jewish monuments for Long Island. Providing guidance and support for the Jewish community in times of hardship has always been our highest priority. As Long Island’s most trusted provider of Jewish monuments, we hold Jewish tradition in high esteem.

The Jewish faith has rich historical significance. There are thousands of customs, practices and rituals that govern Jewish culture. Their practices regarding death and mourning are no different. The Meal of Consolation , Chevra Kadisha, and Shiva are just a few of the notable Jewish traditions passed down through generations of Jewish families.

Most of the customs we’ve discussed in previous posts concern how the bereaved family proceeds during and after the burial. However, according to the Talmud and Kabbalah, the time directly after death is a crucial transition period. The belief is that directly after a death, the deceased experiences as much hardship as their family.

In this post, we’ll discuss the Jewish customs practiced in the period directly after a death. Read on for more information.


The Transition

Jewish texts describe the period right after death as a challenging transition. Naturally, the family is devastated and doing their best to cope with their loss. However, the Talmud and Kabbalah states that the soul of the deceased is experiencing its own challenges.

The Jewish belief system states that the souls of their dead do not leave the world until after the burial. Disconnected from its former life and body, the soul is in a vulnerable state. This is why burials occur as quickly as possible. It is also believed that the presence and prayers of loved ones at the funeral is an enormous comfort to the soul.

Many of the grieving family members find comfort in their belief that the soul remains conscious and aware. It provides a consolation for them to view their loved one as going through a period of transition.



Immediately following a passing, decisions must be made. This is not necessarily unique, as in all religions, the family must make arrangements.

Many common burial traditions violate Jewish custom, however. Jewish law forbids practices by modern morticians, as they are considered a violation of the body. They are viewed as disrespectful to the deceased.

The grieving families must take these restrictions into consideration when making decisions. In some cases, there are no official documents left by the departed with specific guidelines.



Within the immediate moments after a death, holy rituals are conducted. A few primary factors are taken into consideration. Maintaining the dignity of the deceased is first and foremost. The body must return to the earth from which it came. The soul must receive guidance and strength throughout its spiritual journey.

Directly following the moment of death, those present recite the “True Judge” blessing, “Baruch Dayan Ha’emet.” This translates to “blessed be the true judge.” The complete version of this prayer is said during the funeral service, along with the Kaddish.

The eyes and mouth are then closed by whoever is present. A sheet is draped over the body to cover it. Many elect a child or close relative to perform this task. The body of the deceased is then placed on the floor. If death occurs in a hospital, this is most likely not possible. However, all of the other customs should be observed.

Candles are then lit and placed around the head of the body. If the body is lowered to the floor, those lowering the body should ask forgiveness of the departed. Once the candles are lit, Psalms 23, 90 and 91 are recited.

Once these Psalms have been recited, the funeral home and rabbi should be contacted. It’s important to inform the funeral home that a Taharah will be needed. Plan your memorial service accordingly.


The Vigil

According to the Jewish faith, the human body is a sacred vessel. The privacy, dignity and virtue of the body is under holy protection in Jewish tradition. After the passing, this body remains equally as deserving of reverence. Those near the deceased are expected to conduct themselves with grace and dignity in order to demonstrate the proper respect for the dead.

A shemira (honor guard) remains with the body as often as possible, if not constantly. Anyone keeping vigil over the body recites prayers or psalms to comfort to the soul of the departed.


Restrictions & Ritual

Autopsies, embalming, displays and cremation are considered a violation of the body.

The burial happens as soon as possible. Since Jewish custom forbids posthumous medical practices to preserve the body’s sanctity, the funeral must take place immediately.



Judaism is a faith rich with stories and tradition. The specific rituals following death have deep significance to the faithful. Like many of the other Jewish death traditions, it helps to bring closure and consolation to the family in mourning.

Fox Monuments works with Long Island’s Jewish community, providing them with memorials that are a tribute to their faith. We understand the importance of religion in healing from loss.

Honoring Departed Loved Ones During Hanukkah

Two happy Jewish sisters looking at a beautiful menorah candelabra glowing on the eight day of Hanukkah Jewish holiday

Hanukkah is, without a doubt, one of the most profound milestones within the Jewish faith. In simplest terms, it is an eight-day-and-night celebration of the tenacity of the Jewish spirit. Without a doubt, considering its supreme importance in Judaism, Hanukkah is, like Shiva, a quintessential opportunity to remember and celebrate those we’ve lost.

At Fox Monuments, we’ve helped Long Island’s Jewish community honor and celebrate their faith for decades. Traditions and practices regarding the end of life and lost loved ones is an incredibly significant (and complex) aspect of the Jewish faith. Therefore, part of our mission is to provide the kind of compassion, guidance and unforgettable service that pays both respect to lost loved ones and the appropriate reverence to faith.

In this post, we’ll explore five ways you can honor departed loved ones as you observe Hanukkah this year.

1. Storytelling Around the Lights

Once the menorah is lit, many families observe the tradition of singing songs, reading specific passages and reciting prayers. Mostly, the songs and prayers vary by family, as each have their own specific selections that they find most meaningful or appropriate. However, this is also an excellent opportunity to honor the memories of your lost loved ones.

If you’ve lost someone recently, this will be an even more impactful and emotional practice. Take a few minutes to share everyone’s collective memories of your loved one, and perhaps have others tell their favorite story about them. Even the simple act of acknowledging them, discussing, or just speaking their name out loud can be enormously significant.

Going around the room, give everyone present the opportunity to express gratitude for the ways the departed impacted their life. Hanukkah is the perfect time of year to firmly acknowledge that their enduring memories and legacy remain alive, as long as they live on in you.

2. Put Photos On Display

Of course, we take (and keep) photos so that our memories, and those we love, can live on long after we take them. Therefore, Hanukkah is the perfect time to put these pictures on display – not just to honor those you’ve lost, but to fondly remember Hanukkahs of the past.

Hanukkah is a time to revisit our collective history, celebrate our triumphs and remember our past. While Hanukkah is technically about revisiting our history on a collective scale, for all Jews, that doesn’t mean you can’t also acknowledge your personal memories, as well. Put a picture of those you’ve lost on prominent display, perhaps near the menorah. As a result, this will likely inspire whoever’s present to share specific memories and stories about them.

3. Prayers Following the Lighting

The spiritual teachings of Judaism enforce the idea that the moment a menorah candle flickers is a favorable time for prayer. One of these prayers can be a personal, heartfelt expression of our enduring love for whoever we’ve lost.

Of course, it’s very likely that you won’t be able to complete your prayers without sadness, and probably some tears. But that’s perfectly fine – it’s okay, likely even advisable, for you to have the cry you deserve. Feelings of loss, grief and sorrow are perfectly normal emotions. Also, expressing them is a healthy, typical, and necessary part of the process. Let your family and friends support you during this overwhelming moment.

In fact, mental health and grief experts tell us that experiencing the pain, rather than consistently trying to evade it, actually gives us advanced coping skills. Also, it helps us to feel better in the long-term.

4. Prepare Their Favorite Foods

There are fewer more resolute ways to honor a loved one (present or departed) than by preparing their favorite meals. Much like other Jewish holidays throughout the year, Hanukkah is a time to actualize our faith and gratitude with a festive, splendid meal. The Meal of Consolation isn’t the only meal that we may eat in memory of our departed loved ones.

Were there any specific recipes that your loved one was especially fond of?Was there anything they would often prepare themselves? What was their all-time favorite food? Contributing their favorite, or their signature, dish is a fantastic way to honor them. Also, this will allow you to share their memory with the friends and family present.

Conclusion – Fox Monuments

From our family at Fox Monuments, we wish you and your family the very safest, healthiest and happiest of Hanukkahs! This has been an especially challenging year for us all, and you and your loved ones deserve an exceptional holiday season to finish this year with a bit of celebration.

Hanukkah is a day about hope, and to remind us of our historical ability to triumph over adversity. Therefore, it’s important to keep the spirit of Hanukkah in mind as we conclude a particularly difficult year.v

Happy holidays from Fox Monuments!

Jewish Mourning Tradition: Shiva

Jewish Headstone in cemetery

The Shiva is central to the Jewish burial traditions. Serving as the first of several stages of mourning, the Shiva helps family members to stand together while grieving. Long before unveiling the cemetery monument, the Shiva offers families an opportunity to gather and console each other. Read on to learn more about the Shiva service, and the customs surrounding it.

What is Shiva?

The Shiva is a very significant part of the grieving process for Jewish people. After a Jewish person passes away, the family is responsible for burying the individual as quickly as possible. Then, it’s traditional for extended family members, friends, and members of the community to gather and pay their respects during the shiva.

The shiva is generally held in the home of the deceased, or a family member. To demonstrate a state of mourning, those attending wear either torn clothing or a black ribbon to denote mourning status. They are also expected to bring food, as a way of providing sustenance for those in mourning. Like selecting Long Island Jewish Monuments, paying attention to the shiva process is critical.

Traditionally, there is an expectation for family in mourning to refrain from pleasurable activities. This includes watching television, listening to music, and other forms of entertainment.

As indicated by Jewish customs, the shiva should last seven days. In fact, shiva means seven in Hebrew. However, in modern times, some families shorten this period of mourning. Throughout each day, families and those attending say the Mourner’s Kaddish.


The Shiva Home

To prepare for the Shiva, the family will prepare the home in a certain way. Over time, Jewish people in different regions have developed varying practices. Generally, though, the underlying principles surrounding these practices has remained the same. Like the principles behind selecting a Long Island Jewish monument, Jewish people take great care in preparing a Shiva home.

In the Ashkenazi tradition, mourners must sit on low stools. This is notably different from the Sephardic practices, in which mourners sit on either the floor or pillows. Both of these practices symbolize that the mourners are in low spirits, due to their recent loss.

Additionally, mourners are likely to cover all mirrors in the home. The reason for this is twofold. First, covering mirrors discourages vanity, creating an environment that allows for introspection and reflection. Secondly, and more traditionally, covering mirrors prevents the spirit of the deceased from becoming trapped. Regardless of the interpretation, covering the mirrors is an important element of the shiva home.

As a way of allowing mourners to continue grieving undisturbed, the family typically leaves the doors unlocked.

A fairly recent tradition adopted from Christian customs, some families have a condolence book intended to give families the opportunity to thank mourners.

The family also generally lights a Yahrzeit Candle in the home. This creates the proper atmosphere for grieving, without using any electrical lighting.

Finally, mourners should remove their shoes, as a way of demonstrating grief.


The Origin of Shiva

The Torah mentions the idea behind a period of mourning several times.

During the early periods of Judaism, mourners noticed that feasting in joy was inappropriate during a time of grief. Instead, they viewed this time as an opportunity to express, process and overcome their grief.

Later on, Moses solidified this practice as a formal custom. The progression of this custom is fairly similar to that of the Long Island Jewish monuments. In the beginning, the unveiling tradition existed because it took time to create the monument. Now, this principle exists as a manner of tradition, deeply embedded within Jewish culture.


How Long Does the Shiva Last?

In accordance with these customs, the shiva lasts for seven days. However, this does not include the Shabbat, or major Jewish holidays. Beyond the grieving period, these seven days also establish the idea that mourning should be taken as seriously as feasting, which also lasts for seven days. In fact, the Shiva ends long before the unveiling of the Long Island Jewish monuments.

After this period ends, the family customarily leaves the home. This symbolizes “rising from the Shiva”, or moving on in the grieving process.

Following the Shiva, the next step in the grieving process is the Shloshim, in which the family re-enters the world. In some circles, though, family members are not permitted to engage in leisurely activities.


Long Island Jewish Monuments from Fox Monuments

At Fox Monuments, we understand the state of grief that mourners are in after the death of a loved one. Being familiar with Jewish customs, we do our best to accommodate all of our customers. To purchase well-crafted Long Island Jewish monuments that are right for your family members, contact us.

Matzeivah: The Jewish Headstone

jewish headstone with star of david

When someone in the Jewish community dies, it is important to mark their passing with a headstone. This is known as a Matzeivah in Hebrew. A Matzeivah can be simple or ornate, depending on the person’s life and death. At Fox Monuments, we specialize in creating Jewish headstones and etching inscriptions onto them. We provide monument inscription services all across New York.

double Jewish headstone

What is Matzeivah?

A Matzeivah is a Jewish headstone that marks the passing of a loved one. This stone is usually placed in a cemetery and can be simple or ornate, depending on the person’s life and death. Fox Monuments specializes in creating Jewish headstones and etching inscriptions onto them. Additionally, we provide monument inscription services to existing headstones all across the Tri-State Area.

What is the Origin of the Matzeivah?

The origins of the Matzeivah date back to biblical times. In the book of Genesis, we read about how Jacob erected a stone pillar at Bethel after he had a vision from God (Genesis 28:18). This stone pillar later became known as Jacob’s Pillar or the Stone of Vision.

“And Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. And Jacob erected a tombstone on Rachel’s grave” (Genesis 35:19-20)

Today, Jewish headstones are still made out of stone and they often have inscriptions with the person’s name, birth date, and death date. Sometimes there will also be a quote or bible verse etched onto the headstone.

Why is Matzeivah Important?

Matzeivahs are important because they help us remember our loved ones who have passed away. By having a physical headstone to visit, we can feel closer to them, even though they are no longer with us.

Whether you choose a monument that covers the grave, is a headstone, or a footstone, it serves 2 main purposes: to remember and to honor.

A monument is a physical embodiment of love that will last long after we are gone. It is a way for future generations to know who we were, what we did, and how much we loved them.

inscriptions on Jewish headstone created by Fox Monuments Long Island

Inscription and Style of the Matzeivah

When you etch the inscription on a Jewish headstone, it should be done with great care and thought. This is because the words on the stone will be there forever. Think about what you want to say and choose your words carefully. The inscription should be something that will bring comfort to those who visit the grave. Additionally, it can be helpful to talk to a rabbi about what to write on a headstone.

Here are some tips for writing a monument inscription:

– Keep it simple

– Use traditional Jewish symbols

– Write in Hebrew or English

– Include the person’s name, dates of birth and death, and any meaningful phrases or quotes.

Writing a monument inscription is a way to honor your loved one and keep their memory alive. Choose your words carefully and etch them into the stone with love.

When to Place the Matzeivah

While assumed that it must be placed 12 months after death, this isn’t true. In reality, it is usually placed immediately after shiva.

Fox Monuments will put the headstone in place. Then, the unveiling ceremony will be held after the Kaddish period. Typically, this is around a year following death.

The unveiling ceremony is a formal dedication of the Matzeivah. The rabbi will formally remove a veil, cloth, or handkerchief draped over the stone. The service has many elements, including the Kaddish. Additionally, the rabbi will suggest placing pebbles on the monument.



Matzeivah is the name that the Torah uses for a cemetery monument. It serves as an important symbol of honor. The headstone is placed as a reminder of the person’s life and their connection to the Jewish people. As such an important aspect of the mourning process, it is important to choose a Jewish monument company you can trust. Fox Monuments has decades of experience helping families create beautiful Matzeivahs. Give us a call today to get started.

Proper Attire at Jewish Funerals

Interestingly, a common question that many people ask about Jewish funeral services involves the best attire. Obviously, this is a question we ask ourselves on a daily basis – what should we wear? For most occasions, we have a pretty general idea of the best way to dress. However, when there’s been a profound loss and we want to pay our respects, we might question what is or isn’t appropriate. Last month, we discussed flowers and how they’re inappropriate for Jewish funerals.


What do I wear to a Jewish funeral?

In this post, we’ll break down the policies regarding attire for Jewish funeral services…

1. Colors & Clothing

Obviously, when it comes to wake or funerals, solemn and conservative clothing is your best option. Here in the U.S., we wear dark clothing throughout the stages of mourning. (Additionally, in many eastern cultures, they wear white to funerals, as black is unlucky to them.)

Since this is a time of grief and mourning, bright and lurid attire definitely is not acceptable. Obviously, anything you put on should be neat, clean and tidy. Men should stick with suits, slacks, ties and dress shirts. Women should wear dresses in the black, brown or grey shades. Additionally, women should keep in mind that while it’s a formal occasion, you may have to walk through unstable cemetery terrain. While you want to be respectful, you should also be comfortable.

2. Yarmulkes

One of the touchstones of the Jewish religion is the yarmulke. At any formal Jewish occasion, like weddings or funerals, people use them to cover their heads. Most people pronounce yarmulke as “yah-muh-kah.” The word is Slavic for “skullcap.”

Essentially, a yarmulke is a representation of one’s firm commitment to the Jewish faith. Usually, men wear yarmulkes at formal Jewish occasions, like when sitting Shiva. However, it’s not unheard of for some women or girls to wear them, as well. No matter your creed or faith, most men or women wear yarmulkes to formal Jewish occasions. Usually, the chapel or family will provide them for all mourners present to wear them out of respect. At many Jewish funerals, women choose to wear scarves or lace head coverings.

3. Dressing for the Weather

Usually, Jewish grave site burials take place any day, any time of the year, regardless of inclement weather. If the funeral is scheduled to take place throughout the summer months, you should still place a high priority on dressing appropriately. Obviously, you want to be comfortable but still keep it tasteful and respectful. There are ways to stay cool and comfortable but also remain formal!

If the burial takes place throughout the winter, naturally you’ll want to dress as warmly as possible. Remember gloves, hats, scarves, and umbrellas if it’s raining!



At Fox Memorials, creating Jewish monuments to honor those we’ve lost is our mission. For years, we’ve helped Long Island’s Jewish community create all kinds of exceptional memorials. By continuing to revere Jewish customs, we craft monuments that are as much a tribute to faith as to the lives of those we’ve lost.

We’ve celebrated and served Long Island’s Jewish community for decades. Each month, we examine and discuss the rich tapestry of tradition surrounding the Jewish faith. Judaism is among the world’s most ancient and revered religions. Therefore, it has a countless array of practices and customs when it comes to the end of life and funerals.

How to Avoid Emotional Overspending for Funeral Services

When a loved one dies, you may feel compelled to make a grand gesture, to show how much you loved them. This can lead to spending a lot of money on their Jewish funeral, depleting savings or even falling into debt. Elements like casket selection, flowers, or obituaries can all add up. As a result, it leads to a bill far beyond what your loved one would want you to pay. So, what exactly is emotional overspending, and how can you recognize and avoid it?


What is Emotional Overspending?

Emotional overspending is selecting services or merchandise due to the “need to have it” versus a necessary purchase. Your emotions may compel you to buy an ornate casket in the perfect style to compliment your mother’s outfit. Or, you may want to pay $1,000 in flowers, consolation gifts or even on an obituary (it happens). After suffering a terrible loss, it’s natural to want to prove that money is no object when saying goodbye.

Does this sound familiar? Many people experience this when planning for a wedding. You can be paying off a wedding dress for years, and it’s the same principle with a casket. Cars and vacations are another expense where emotional overspending is common. If you recognize some of these areas in your own life, it’s especially important to plan ahead. This will help you avoid overspending in moments of grief.

Woman and child standing by grave in mourning

Some Ways to Combat Overspending

There are several ways to combat emotion overspending, both for yourself, and for your family. The simplest thing to do is to plan ahead. We know that death is inevitable. So, begin by looking into life insurance or a pre-paid funeral contract. Either of these options will provide funds to take care of your funeral services. This means that your family will have the means to pay for it. It’s also important to discuss your wishes. Do you want to have a horse-drawn carriage carry your casket through the cemetery? Or maybe you want to ensure that a reception can be held afterwards at your favorite restaurant?

jewish headstone with raised base

By simply writing down your wishes, and discussing them, you can give your family peace of mind that they don’t need to spend an outrageous amount on you. This can ultimately help them through their grief. Spending time together and sharing love now will also reassure them that you know they love you, and when the time comes they may not feel that same sense of need to overspend. If you are the one making the funeral arrangements after a death has occurred, there are also ways to avoid emotional overspending in that moment.


Did you know?

In the same way you can pre-plan your funeral services, you can pre-plan your monument. Families may feel compelled to have a cemetery monument or headstone that is ornate and outside of the family budget. With so many etchings, lettering, epitaphs, and more to choose from, the cost can add up. A simple way to avoid this is to pre-plan your cemetery monument.


When Making Arrangements

You may feel overwhelmed in the moment of planning the funeral arrangements. Lots of different options are being thrown at you, and you will be under a tremendous amount of stress while being asked to make dozens of decisions. It is easy to get overwhelmed, or hyper-focused on a big ticket item. Remember that expensive casket? Six months after the funeral you won’t even remember what it looks like, but you’ll still be paying it off on your credit card.

  • Have a budget in mind going into the funeral arrangements. There will be some unavoidable costs, like the cremation fee, or the use of the hearse, but an overall sense of what you really have available to spend will help you in making your decisions.
  • Have a family member or close friend come to the arrangements to hold you accountable. You’ll be surprised how much this strength and support can help you stay on track.
  • Look to your family and friends for talents to use to personalize the service.  A poet who can write a special verse to read, or a musician who can sing or play an instrument can add value to the service. There are lots of creative, yet inexpensive ways to personalize a funeral service. This also serves to demonstrates your love for the deceased without stressing your budget.
jewish funeral

Remember, it is the experience itself that everyone will remember, but only you will be footing the bill.



At Fox Memorials, we’ve been guiding Long Island’s Jewish community through losses and grief for decades. By providing high-quality custom headstones and monuments, we help our clients say goodbye at fair and affordable rates. Jewish monuments are the most personal, enduring tributes to the lives and legacies of your lost loved one.

3 Common Mistakes of Memorial Planning

jewish mourning

Planning a funeral or memorial service is never easy, but after the loss of a loved one it is unavoidable. Naturally, during such a difficult time, making mistakes is a fairly common occurrence. In this post, we’ve come up with three common memorial planning mistakes you should avoid making. These apply whether you’re preplanning a service for yourself or after the loss of a loved one.

1. Not Exploring Funeral Providers

The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA)’s latest survey explores why this is a common mistake. Interestingly, the four primary reasons respondents selected a funeral home include experience at the home. Basically, they already knew the funeral director; the location; and its reputation.

Take the time to compare funeral providers in your area. It could save you money and help you locate “the best” funeral home, crematory or cemetery for your needs. Burial and cremation expenses can vary quite a bit depending on where you go. Often, you will receive the same products/services.

2. Not Asking Questions

Obviously, after the loss of a loved one, it’s hard to focus on anything other than your grief. Unfortunately, many people must plan the Jewish funeral or cremation service, which can involve making a lot of decisions. Of course, grieving can compel you to make quick decisions without exploring all of your options. Whether you’re planning a funeral in advance or after a loss, you should ask every question you have about the service.

Good funeral homes provide a wide range of resources to walk you through each step of planning a service for your loved one. In addition, they’ll answer all of your questions and never make you feel pressured as you make your arrangements, or steer you toward anything that you don’t want. Also, they’ll take the time to understand the type of service you need and explain the various product and service options available to help you arrange a meaningful, personalized service.

If you’re making arrangements after the loss of a Jewish loved one, it’s perfectly normal to ask someone you trust to attend the funeral arrangement meeting with you – especially if you think you’re not up to it alone, or want another opinion before you commit to something.

3. Not Telling Anyone

According to the NFDA, 62.5% of consumers feel that it’s important to share funeral wishes with family members, but only 21.4% did so in 2017. Maybe you’ve thought about your funeral in detail, right down to what you’d like to wear and which songs you’d like played. But if you don’t document and share your wishes, who will know?

Some people may just choose burial or cremation or casually mention their desires and think that’s all that’s needed. Grieving family members may not remember what you said you wanted or disagree about what they think you wanted. By documenting your plans with a funeral home – and letting your family know – you eliminate the confusion and take the burden off your family.

Conclusion – Fox Memorials

Of course, memorial planning can be an incredibly emotional and painful process. However, at Fox Memorials, we work hard to remove all of the stress and challenges of personalized Jewish family monument creation from the process. For decades, we’ve crafted Long Island’s Jewish community with stunning, one-of-a-kind monument creations that honor their lives and their faith.

10 Things You Should Know About Jewish Funerals

older woman with family member

In the Jewish tradition, there’s no honor more sacred than helping to bury someone, because it is a favor that cannot be returned. Also, it’s an honor people often avoid: death is frightening, graves are sad, and loss is painful. Of course, Jewish funeral etiquette is slightly different from secular or Christian American customs. In this post, we’ll explore ten things you should know about attending Jewish funerals. 

1. Don’t Stay Away

Obviously, it may be tempting to “have a prior commitment” when there’s a death that occurs within our circle of friends. However, it’s a positive thing to attend funerals, even when you have only a vague relationship with the deceased. Of course, the deceased won’t know you’re there, but to the mourners, it’s a comfort to be in the company of their community, especially their friends.

2. Your Presence is Important

Basically, you don’t need to say too much to mourners. In fact, the less said, the better. Obviously, nothing you say is going to heal their pain. What will help most is your presence at the funeral or at shiva. Sincerely express your condolences if you must, but in Jewish tradition, there’s no need to say anything at all unless the mourner initiates the conversation. Mostly, what will help is for you to let them know that they have supportive friends at their side. 

3. Wear Comfortable Shoes

Dress nicely, but wear sensible shoes if you’re going to the graveside. Cemetery grounds are often extremely plushy, often wet and muddy grass. If it will be difficult to walk in those shoes, they’ll be miserable in a cemetery. You don’t want to be trapped in the mud by very expensive (and ruined) stiletto heels.

4. Keep Behavior Respectful

If you find friends there, just remember that this is a funeral: speak quietly. Once the service begins, be quiet. Turn off your cell phone for the service.

5. Listening

There is very little required of the congregation at a funeral. Your job is simply to be present. There will be a few prayers, some psalms, a eulogy, and traditional prayers, El Maleh Rachamim and the Mourner’s Kaddish. Say “amen” along with the congregation, if you wish. The reward for listening is that you’ll learn things about this person that you didn’t know before. You may hear some wonderful stories.

6. Following Directions

The funeral director will give directions before and after the service. Do whatever he or she prompts you to do: park here, sit there, stand, don’t walk there.  Complying with directions is one way to support the mourners and give respect to the dead.

7. Graveside Etiquette

Some funerals move from a chapel to the cemetery, some are held at the monument’s graveside. And, if you don’t know the family well, it’s okay to attend the chapel service, and then skip the graveside service. It’s assumed to be more private. In addition, there will likely be chairs under an awning facing the open grave. Those chairs are for mourners; you do not want to sit in them unless you are a member of the family or disabled.

There will be a few prayers or readings, the casket will lower, and the officiant may assist the family in the ancient custom of shoveling earth into the grave. One or three shovelfuls is typical, and after the family, other attendees may assist. It’s a symbolic way of participating in caring for the body by putting it safely in the earth during burial. Again: follow directions; this is an extremely sensitive time for the family and you don’t want to disrupt the flow of the service.

8. Shiva Customs

There may be an announcement about shiva, the gathering at the home for (traditionally) seven days after the burial. If the family announces specific times, go only at those times. At the shiva house, remember that your presence is what matters. You cannot make their pain go away with words.

Mourners need time and space to mourn, and it is an act of kindness to give them the opportunity to do so. Usually, there’s a short service at the shiva house in the morning and evening. You can linger, but do not overstay: when people start leaving, go. Keep in mind that this is not a party, the mourners are not “entertaining.” Sending or bringing prepared food is a very nice thing to do; when in doubt, send kosher food.

9. Making Donations

Most families will designate a charity to which donations may be made in memory of the dead, and most non-profits are happy to send a card to the mourners telling them about your gift. Like consolation gifts, this is not required, but it is a very nice thing to do. Which brings us to:

10. You Won’t See These:

  • Flowers – instead, Jews give donations to a memorial fund. 
  • An open casket – We don’t look at a dead person unnecessarily, since they cannot look back at us.
  • A fancy casket – Traditionally, Jewish caskets are plain, unfinished wood.
  • Talk about the afterlife – Most Jews focus on doing good in this life. We don’t know for sure what happens after death, and we tend not to worry about it much. Some think there is an afterlife, some don’t.



Of course, there is much more to learn about Jewish funerals and mourning practice. And at Fox Memorials, helping Long Island’s Jewish community honor their loved ones with magnificent, enduring tributes to their loved ones with monuments is our daily mission. For more information on Fox Memorials or our services, contact us now. 

Journaling Through Grief: Five Ways It Can Help

White candle lit

Dealing with the loss of a loved one feels nearly impossible during difficult moments following their passing. As confusing as it is devastating, grieving can completely upend life as we know it. Therefore, you can never discover too many ways to navigate a loss or develop new coping skills. In fact, journaling is a simple, but effective, way to deal with these particular setbacks. 

Expressing your feelings, even on paper, can help you work through grief and even achieve a sense of balance and acceptance as much as your Jewish monument can. In this post, we’ll explore five exceptional benefits to journaling while grieving.

1. Process Your Grief

One of the main benefits of journaling after loss is that it helps you process your grief. The five stages of grief are difficult to understand while you’re experiencing them. However, a journal can help you navigate those stages instead of shoving away or denying your feelings. Journaling forces you to confront and acknowledge how you’re feeling regularly, giving you somewhere to direct and process those feelings. 

2. Have an Outlet

Sometimes, your emotions come out when you least expect them. Also, they tend to erupt during the most inconvenient or inopportune moments. Having a journal means that you can let these emotions out whenever they show up, which is something you can’t do if you’re suppressing how you feel. Not only that, but you can journal however much you want without the expense of mental health professionals. 

3. Record Your Memories

Another one of the major benefits of journaling after loss is the opportunity to record and commemorate your memories. It’s all too common to begin forgetting certain occasions that may be significant or comforting, and this can be problematic when it comes to advancing through that same grief. Journaling keeps track of the memories that you might lose otherwise. 

It also gives you a place to remember your loved ones instead of letting memories fade away with time. This is a more long-term benefit to grief journaling, but it’s something to keep in mind for the future.

4. Find Newfound Motivation

Motivation is an important factor in getting through grief, and a journal can give you that purpose to get through your days. It creates a schedule, and having a schedule is one of the most important things to keeping you on track while you’re living with grief.

5. Clarify Your Thoughts

When you’re dealing with grief, it can be difficult to think straight, which can make processing your emotions more difficult. Recording your day in a journal can be helpful to pull your thoughts together, helping you find strength and support, and to sort through your emotions and remain positive in difficult times.

What is Grief Journaling?

Grief journaling is the same thing as regular journaling, but with a focus on working through your grief little by little. The benefits of journaling at any stage of your life are amplified when you’re experiencing grief, so it can really help you work through difficult emotions more than a simple obituary.


At Fox Memorials, providing our clients with new ways to cope with loss and heal from grief is just as critical to us as the services we offer. For decades, guiding our community through difficult and traumatic periods has been a fundamental aspect of our mission. When dealing with a loss, we encourage you to try any means necessary to find peace and move forward while continuing to honor your loved ones. Therefore, journaling is an excellent way to process and cope with bereavement.