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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.

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.

What’s the Significance of the Jewish Unveiling Ceremony?

jewish monument with stones on top

Some time has passed, your mind has had a bit of time to settle. You’re still grieving though. At Fox Monuments, we understand there is no time frame for grief. That’s why it’s important to us to help Long Islanders navigate every step of this process.

During the funeral and burial process, traditions are of the utmost importance in the Jewish faith. In this post, we’ll delve into the details of the Unveiling Ceremony, and the significance it holds for Jewish people.

When Does the Unveiling Ceremony Take Place?

The unveiling ceremony after the passing of a loved one traditionally occurs within the first year. Dictated by Jewish funeral traditions, the unveiling ceremony generally takes place at the end of the grieving process. According to Halacha (Jewish Law), the unveiling of the stone can occur between the end of Shiva and the Yahrzeit (year remembrance date). This time signifies final acceptance and being at peace with the passing of a loved one.

In modern times, it is also common for the unveiling ceremony to take place 30 days after the burial. With this timing, the unveiling ceremony takes place at the conclusion of the Shloshim, rather than the Yahrzeit. Work and/or school become priorities again after Shloshim. They are encouraged not to engage in leisurely activities.

The times are a little more flexible depending on your level of observation. Because the unveiling ceremony is more of a tradition, and less of a religious requirement, there is more flexibility than with other customs.

jewish headstone

Who is Invited to the Unveiling Ceremony?

The very nature of the ceremonious unveiling is intimate. However, as this is an ode to your loved one, you are free to choose the guests. Many times, the immediate, some extended family, and close friends are present. Comparatively to a funeral or Shiva call, there is no public announcement for an unveiling. A Rabbi can officiate the ceremony, but this is not necessary. Again, it all depends on the family’s level of observation.

How It Works

The beauty of Judaism is that there is room for interpretation. You can find a Rabbi and a congregation that celebrates and observes Judaism the way that suits you. Therefore, the order and actual events of the unveiling are up to you. Traditionally speaking though, the ceremony is usually short in time.

The immediate family of the deceased individual should arrive at the Jewish monument before anyone else. This allows them to greet others and thank them for attending. Before others arrive, though, it’s important for the immediate family to ensure that the cloth is adequately covering the gravestone.

Everyone gathers around the covered monument. The Rabbi in attendance will deliver selected readings from the book of Psalms, and lead those gathered in reciting prayers. Depending on the circumstances, the Rabbi or a family member will give a eulogy, commemorating the deceased. After the eulogy, those gathered will recite the traditional Memorial Prayer and the Kaddish. A Minyan (presence of 10 Jewish adults) is required to recite the Kaddish. This signifies the power of unity. If a Minyan is not present, the Kaddish will be skipped. Finally, the family will remove the monument covering. Additionally, if a Rabbi is not present, a member of the family can lead the ceremony.

What is the Significance of the Unveiling Ceremony?

jewish headstone with stones

The significance of the unveiling ceremony stems from a time when elaborate gravestones were uncommon. Before it became customary for families to assign this work to a professional, the families often built these headstones independently. These memorials ranged from stones with engraved names to more elaborate hand-decorated headstones. After working so hard to create a fitting monument, the unveiling ceremony displayed this commemorative stone to the world.

In the present day, Jewish families continue to carry out unveiling ceremonies in the same fashion.

Whether timely or unexpected, death can shake us all to our very core. The dedication of the stone that takes place at the unveiling serves a hefty purpose. By unveiling the head or footstone, we are marking and acknowledging the final resting place of our loved ones. When the grief begins to subside or we find ourselves overwhelmed, the final resting place can bring us peace.

Fox Monuments Can Help

At Fox Monuments, we understand the significance of funeral traditions. Our staff is committed to designing breathtaking monuments. These memorials will commemorate deceased individuals for a lifetime. Contact us for more information about how we can create a stunning monument for your loved one.

Why Do Jews Put Stones on Graves?

jewish monument with star of david

The Jewish faith is rich with ancient practices, customs and traditions. There are numerous Jewish rites surrounding each of life’s milestones, from births to weddings to deaths. Each distinctive tradition is a quintessential means of observing the event’s importance. At the same time, they honor one of the world’s foremost faiths.

In Judaism, there is one specific custom regarding death that has inspired generations of rampant speculation. Before leaving gravesites, mourners place a small stone on the monument. Of course, this is an indication that someone has visited the grave. This burial tradition is ancient, with unclear origins. Furthermore, there are countless theories surrounding the reason for this practice, from a myriad of interpretive sources.

Fox Monuments has been serving Long Island’s Jewish community for over 65 years. We understand what a loss feels like, and we also understand the importance of maintaining traditions during these difficult times. Below, we’ll discuss the several theories exploring the purpose for this distinct mourning ritual.


5 Common Explanations of Placing a Stone on a Headstone

1. A Warning to Kohanim (Jewish Priests)

During ancient times in Jerusalem, Jewish priests were not able to come within four feet of a corpse. They believed that this close proximity would somehow taint them, or make them impure. As a result, Jews began leaving piles of rocks on graves to warn the priests to keep their distance.

This warning is a biblical practice that may have influenced the modern tradition.


2. Stones Last Longer Than Flowers

Many consider stones to be a symbol of our departed loved ones’ enduring presences in our lives. In addition, this belief claims the stone represents their memory and legacy, and how they live on in us. Flowers may be pretty, but not for very long. They will eventually wilt and die.

Also, generally speaking, many Jewish families consider the presence of flowers at a funeral distasteful. A stone will not quickly expire, and can represent the infinite quality of a person’s legacy. This practice can help those dealing with the difficult stages of mourning. It can help a person feel a sense of eternal connection to their loved one.


3. Notes Left to Loved Ones

Throughout history, Jews have inserted handwritten notes into Jerusalem’s Western Wall. When they couldn’t find a place to put the note, they would weigh it down with a stone at the base of the wall.

Similarly, this tradition eventually became central to Jewish funeral etiquette, with mourners placing notes on graves weighed down by stones. As people have moved away from note-writing over the years, the stone has remained as a symbol of heartfelt communication with those we love.


4. Anchoring The Soul in This World

In the Talmud, it states that a person’s soul will dwell in the grave where they are buried. As a comfort to loved ones, they possibly began placing the stone on the grave to anchor their soul in this world. Loved ones inherently wish to feel close to their deceased family and friends. Therefore, it’s entirely likely that this practice is a result of that.

Similarly, another interpretation expresses that the stone will keep unworldly beings away from the cemetery. Many suggest that there was likely a historical belief in the stones’ ability to protect the lingering souls of the departed from contact with demons or golems.


5. Connection and Memory

When a person comes to a grave and sees stones upon a loved one’s headstone, they often find this comforting. These stones remind them that someone they care for was visited, mourned for, respected, supported and honored by the presence of others who’ve visited their memorial.

The Hebrew word for pebble is also a word that means “bond.” By placing a stone on the headstone, it bonds the deceased with the visitors. Some people take extra care in choosing the right stone. It’s possible that it may have special significance or that it came from a place that reminds them of their loved one.



Montefiore Cemetery


Throughout all the Jewish mourning customs, this one is the most difficult to trace to a specific origin.

However, regardless of the interpretation your family chooses, placing a stone on the monument you visit is simply a way to express love and respect. Each Jewish family (or individual) can decide what feels the most meaningful to them.

Traditions For A Jewish Burial

clean cemetery monuments

As one of the oldest religions in practice today, Judaism has very specific, ancient burial guidelines. These customs typically begin immediately following the death of a loved one. And they don’t end until the mourning period concludes, following the Unveiling Ceremony.

It’s important for people who are adhering to these guidelines, whether by family tradition or out of respect for the individual’s religious customs, to follow these traditions closely. Each tradition carries great spiritual significance, and while there is some degree of flexibility, most of these customs have remained the same for centuries.

Jewish Funerals

Unlike Christian funerals, in which family members grieve and then bury their loved ones, Jewish funerals take place before the grieving period.

Traditionally, Jewish families arrange a memorial immediately following a loved one’s death. While this decision is up to the judgement of the family and the rabbi, most families bury their loved ones within a day. This shows respect toward the deceased. These funeral ceremonies are extremely brief. In most cases, they consist only of a psalm, scripture readings and a eulogy, lasting approximately twenty minutes. During the time leading up to the burial, a shomer will always watch over the body, preventing anyone from disturbing it, and keeping the family at ease.

Jewish Burial Process

The most popular burial custom in Judaism is the earth burial. This describes the deceased’s burial in the simplest caskets. The significance of this custom is that the body can return to nature in the most organic way possible. Bodies are, however, occasionally entombed.

After those responsible lower the body into the earth, and fill the grave, the mourning family recites traditional prayers. In almost each case, they do not reveal the Jewish monument until one year following the passing.

jewish monument with star of david

Jewish Mourning Period

The structured grieving process in Judaism helps loved ones to overcome their loss. There are a few distinct phases of this mourning process, which ends with the reveal of the Jewish monument.

  • Shiva: Beginning immediately after the burial, shiva lasts for seven days. It is often held in the home of the deceased (or another family member), giving family and friends the opportunity to pay their respects.
  • Sholshim: Including the shiva, the shloshim is the 30 day period following the burial. During this time, mourners re-enter the world, resuming focus on work and school. They will still, however, not participate in fun or leisurely activities.
jewish monument with star of david


  • Headstone Unveiling: While Jewish customs do require a marked headstone, they do not require an unveiling. Many families do, however, choose to hold an unveiling because of the sentimental value. The family of the deceased hold a ceremony to unveil the headstone to close family and friends. This usually takes place around the time of the first Yahrzeit.
  • Yahrzeit: The first anniversary of one’s passing, the Yahrzeit is a time of remembrance for the family. The headstone is usually unveiled. The most prominent tradition is lighting a candle for 24 hours in honor of their memory. Many families also recite the Kaddish prayer.

Selecting Jewish Monuments

Before ordering a monument, it’s important to consider a few variables. If the deceased person was married, then their spouse might elect to order a double headstone. This ensures a pre-designated plot and headstone, and traditionally, symbolizes an eternal bond. However, this arrangement is not required by the Jewish traditions. Jewish monuments also typically have Hebrew prayers and Jewish symbols inscribed onto them.

With great respect and admiration for Jewish customs, our monument company understands how to help families honor Jewish burial traditions. We can guide you through this process in a respectful way.

5 Reasons to Pre-Plan Your Jewish Monument

elderly man with book

At Fox Monuments, providing Long Island’s Jewish community with unforgettable monuments that honor their lives and faith is a part of our central mission. We have years of experience guiding our clients through difficult times and ensuring a smooth and stress-free process. We understand that for many people, making arrangements toward the end of life can be uncomfortable and disheartening. Creating a will, selecting beneficiaries and downsizing to a smaller living space can be very challenging. However, making these arrangements, along with pre-planning a Jewish monument, is important for your peace of mind, and your family’s welfare.

In this post, we’ll discuss five reasons you should pre-plan a Jewish monument. For this reasons and more, pre-planning is significantly preferable to having your family make arrangements following your passing.


1. Decide How Your Legacy Will be Told

After the passing of a relative, it’s common for families to gather and discuss the details of the Jewish headstone. This isn’t a straightforward process, and there are several matters to consider.

  • How should you phrase the headstone inscription describing your relationships to family members?
  • Is there an epitaph that’s meaningful to your life? Epitaphs are often taken from scripture or memorial readings. However, literary quotes and song lyrics are also common options.
  • Is there a particular cemetery you have in mind for burial?
  • Should you include any headstone symbols like the Star of David or a Menorah?
  • Do you have a preference for the headstone material?

When you pre-plan your Jewish monument, you’re deciding all of this yourself. The way that you present this information can affect how people remember you when they visit your headstone. So, pre-planning your Jewish monument means that you can shape this experience.

This also removes an enormous burden from your family in a few ways. First, they avoid the timely and difficult process of discussing this information and arriving at a collective decision. Second, your family members will be confident in knowing that they didn’t make a mistake or violate your wishes. This is a priceless assurance, especially during such a stressful time.


2. Make Decisions With Your Spouse

In the Jewish tradition, it’s common for people to rest alongside their loved ones. Double Jewish headstones enable people to continue sharing their lifelong bond, even in the afterlife. Pre-planning a Jewish monument with your spouse will allow you to be unanimous in all these decisions.

Because both of you will have input in the inscriptions and layout, you’ll both maintain total confidence that the Jewish headstone will be a proper and fitting memorial.

elderly man and woman talking on couch


3. Spare Your Family A Burden

When a loved one passes away, it’s often the most stressful time for families. This is especially true following a loved one’s unexpected passing. They’ll have to contact other family members and friends, plan the memorial service, make arrangements with a funeral home, and possibly travel great distances.

On top of all of this stress, they have to order a Jewish monument. Therefore, pre-planning your monument eliminates this responsibility during an already-challenging time.


4. Cover the Expense

For many families, financing funeral expenses from the departed’s estate is common. This can become particularly difficult, especially when there are other expenses that this money must cover. If you have the necessary funds, it’s helpful to cover the cost beforehand. When you pre-plan your Jewish monument, you’ll find tremendous comfort in knowing that they can finance the other expenses, as well.

Over time, headstone prices can increase due to inflation, as well. Ordering a Jewish headstone in the present will ensure that you don’t fall victim to increased prices later on.

elderly man with family


5. Preparing the Monument

When families have to order a Jewish headstone, it’s generally not prepared by the time of the funeral. This is normal; to create high-quality headstones, most companies require time.

However, with a pre-planned monument, it will be fully prepared by the time of the funeral. While the Jewish headstone may still be obscured as part of the unveiling ceremony, knowing there’s a complete monument there will help your family.


Contact Us to Pre-Plan Your Monument

At Fox Monuments, we’re dedicated to helping families through this difficult time, and creating an enduring, unforgettable memorial. If you’re looking to spare your family the stress and expense of handling these arrangements, then contact our team.

Our team will provide the information you need to make these decisions, and the peace of mind in knowing that you’ve taken care of them. For more information, contact Fox Monuments today.

5 Jewish Traditions Towards the End of Life

Jewish family

In the Jewish tradition, caring for the elderly is of the highest priority. This means total respect, embracing their hard-won wisdom, and seeking knowledge when necessary. When the elderly are approaching the end of life, there are traditions that family members and close friends can participate in to provide a comforting presence and honor their legacies.

In this post, we’ll discuss the ways that Jewish traditions can comfort the elderly before death. Read on to find out more.


1. Reciting Healing Prayers

When the possibility of death approaches, your loved one or family member will likely be in distress or low spirits. Therefore, reciting or singing the Mi Sheberakh prayer will help provide both comfort and reinforce a sense of unity.

This traditional Jewish healing prayer is not just a way to encourage the healing process, but also to strengthen their spirits. Anyone can recite this prayer alone, or in the company of loved ones.

If you prefer spontaneous, organic prayers, then speaking directly to God may also help them feel at ease. Asking God to help your loved one feel at peace can be a powerful and cathartic experience.


2. Humming Traditional Jewish Music

In all cultures, listening to music is a powerful and healing experience. This is especially true in Judaism. Playing loved one’s favorite music can be a restorative and unique experience, especially during this distressing time.

Humming Niggunim, or Jewish melodies without lyrics, creates an atmosphere a lot like the time spent worshipping at temple. This can be important, especially for people with a heavy involvement in religion or religious ceremonies.

Other live music can also cultivate a positive, joyous atmosphere. If the setting allows for it, live musicians can create a soothing environment for your loved one. While this isn’t always a plausible option, you can still sing your loved one’s favorite songs to him or her.

Jewish music


3. Reading Psalms

While everyone tends to have different preferences, reading psalms may remind your loved ones of their values and ethics. Scripture can reinforce religious teachings, and prominent religious figures who may have influenced them. This reminder is especially important during such a difficult time.

Phrases from these psalms will help your loved ones to thank and praise God. In doing so, you can help give them the inspiration they need to persist and remain in good spirits. Many Jewish people have psalms such as this inscribed upon their loved one’s monument as an epitaph.

Specifically, psalm 121 is a fitting choice for anyone who’s suffering. In this psalm, the speaker acknowledges and thanks God for his protection through life. Reciting this (or a similar) psalm to your loved one will help them to find a source of protection in this troubled time. It’s common for these psalms to serve as epitaphs on a loved one’s grave.

Similarly, reciting the viddui prayer will give your loved one an opportunity to renounce his or her sins. Offering the consolation of repentance, as well as the idea that faith and trust, the deathbed-specific viddui prayer can have an important impact in these final days.


4. Discuss Funeral Arrangements

While this is a difficult topic to discuss with anyone, funeral arrangements are difficult, costly, and time-consuming to make. If you’ve been tasked with this responsibility, then bringing this up may be natural. However, it’s important to learn whether or not anybody has taken any steps toward making arrangements.

First, you should learn whether or not the individual has purchased a burial plot. These are expensive plots of land, and depending upon family, religious preferences, and military service, their preference might vary. You can then discuss the cleaning of the body, an important step in the Jewish faith. You should also find out if they ordered a Jewish monument. If your loved one would prefer cremation to a traditional burial, this is also important information.


5. Purchase a Jewish Monument

As we mentioned before, final death arrangements can be difficult and time-consuming to make. This is especially true with ordering a Jewish monument. If you find that your loved one wants to be involved, then request their input. While some may prefer not to focus on something so morbid, others may prefer to alleviate this stress from you.

There are several decisions that you (or your loved one) must make when ordering the Jewish monument. First, you must select the size and material for the headstone. Granite and bronze are popular choices, given their popularity and durability. Next, the epitaph should convey an important message to everyone who visits the grave. So, it should be carefully selected with the individual in mind. Jewish headstone symbols can also play a meaningful role in the monument’s layout. Finally, choosing whether to order a double monument (for a spouse that has not passed) is also an important choice to make.

older woman with family member

Making these choices carefully will help you to create a fitting monument, which will help you to reflect when visiting.


Jewish Monuments on Long Island

At Fox Monuments, we’re dedicated to helping families and friends overcome the death of a loved one. Our high-quality headstones are designed specifically for each individual. We’ll work to streamline this process for you, giving you the time you need to take care of other concerns. Most importantly, we’ll help to make a difficult time less stressful and painless for you and your family.

Visiting a Jewish Monument: 7 Things To Know

Stone on a black headstone for Jewish symbol

Within the traditions of the Jewish faith, there is a great deal of emphasis on family. Family presence during significant moments (Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, graduations, and so forth) is very important. When the time comes, raising a family is also a considerable honor. Unfortunately, sitting Shiva for a loved one is equally as important a tradition.

After a loved one has passed, visiting their grave can be a reminder of their life, their influence and your memories together. Read on to learn about when you should visit a Jewish monument as well as the proper etiquette when doing so.


1. Traditional Jewish Headstone Visitation Policies

Historically, religious leaders told the Jewish people to avoid visiting a loved one’s headstone too often. There were two primary reasons for this advice. First, rabbis preferred to keep cemeteries a solemn and peaceful setting for grieving families. In doing so, they would not disrupt a family’s ability to have a full grieving experience, and send their loved ones to the afterlife.

Secondly, they wanted people praying to them and not the dead. At the time, many people thought that encouraging frequent grave visits would result in less devout members.


2. When Should You Visit a Jewish Headstone

Generally, it’s best to visit a Jewish headstone on days that relate to the cycle of life. For example, visiting your loved one’s burial place on the final day of Shiva or Sheloshim is the natural conclusion to the stages of Jewish mourning.

The Yahrzeit, or anniversary of a family member’s death, is also ideal for visitation. In fact, this is generally when the headstone unveiling ceremony is held, and the family views the headstone for the very first time.

There are other days that are ideal for headstone visitation. Many consider Jewish fasting or holy days to be particularly appropriate. Modern customs regarding Jewish headstone visits do not dictate a specific number of visits per year. Rather, people generally prefer to visit moderately throughout the year.


3. When are Jewish Headstone Visitations Discouraged?

While the concept of grave visitations is not looked down upon, there are some days where it’s inappropriate. For example, the middle days of Passover and Sukkot are, essentially, holidays meant to be spent joyfully.

Purim should also be spent in a joyful state. Therefore, visiting the dead would compromise one’s ability to be joyous.


4. Leaving Stones on a Jewish Headstone

What began as a cautionary practice in ancient times of Judaism has become a grieving tradition. To mark Jewish graves, mourners would leave piles of stones on graves (before the creation of headstones and monuments) as a warning to priests. Priests believed that being too close to a corpse would taint them somehow, and make them impure.

This practice also stems from a principle described in the Talmud, which details Rabbinic Law, regarding the soul. According to tradition, the soul remains in the grave, with the Jewish Headstone. So, families began putting stones on the headstone, in order to keep the soul close. Other interpretations of this principle involve keeping demonic entities away from the grave, and the soul.

And, some people believe that stones are a more permanent symbol of resolution and endurance than flowers. While flowers will eventually blow away or wither, stones will remain intact.

Finally, placing stones on a Jewish headstone is also a way to comfort a mourning family. Finding a headstone with many stones adorning it is a welcome sight, in that it signifies others have recently visited and paid their respects as well.


5. Blessing the Deceased

Upon entering the cemetery, those who haven’t visited a cemetery in thirty days must offer a blessing. Often called the Jewish Cemetery Blessing, this etiquette is a sign of respect for the deceased.

Rather than praying directly next to the headstone of your loved one, this prayer should be said inside the cemetery in general.


6. While Next to the Jewish Headstone and Grave Site

After reaching the grave site, there are a few common traditions to take note of. First, Jews who have become knowledgeable in ancient laws and traditions should study the Mishnah. This ancient text is the original collection of Jewish oral traditions. So examining and pondering this text while visiting your loved one is significant.

Next, it’s also common to recite chapters from the Book of Psalms. Psalm 119, which has alphabetized verses, often serves as a great starting point. It’s common to select a verse based on the letters of the name. Often, people place their hands on the headstone while reading the psalm.

Praying to God while next to your loved one’s Jewish headstone is a critical aspect of visiting a grave. However, it’s important to remember that this prayer should be directed toward God, and not your loved one. In some schools of thought, this is blasphemy.


7 Memorial Prayer

Finally, the Kel Maleh Rachamim is an extremely important memorial prayer. While its exact origin is unknown, it’s become a standard prayer for all memorial-related events — especially grave visitations.


Jewish Headstones from Fox Monuments of Long Island

When you’re saying goodbye to a loved one, the Jewish memorial purchasing process should not be difficult or stressful. At Fox Monuments, we strive to help each family through their grief by making this process as smooth, stress-free and simple as possible. We will create a beautiful monument to honor your loved one’s life, and an excellent tribute for you to remember them by.

The Jewish Stages of Mourning

man and woman grieving

Fox Monuments has served Long Island’s Jewish community for decades. We’ve provided guidance and support throughout difficult times of grieving. Naturally, we’ve done our best to honor the many Jewish customs and traditions surrounding death and burial.

In the Jewish faith, there are specific guidelines surrounding the appropriate response to a death in the family. Some of these traditions concern the burial process. Others concern the unveiling of the Jewish headstone with beautifully inscribed symbols. However, Jewish people also have a structured mourning process. These phases exist in part because of tradition. They’re also a natural way to ease the transition. In this post, we’ll outline the five stages of the grieving process.


Aninut: The First Stage

The Aninut stage takes place from the moment that the deceased family member passes away until the end of the funeral. During this time, the grieving individual has not fully processed his or her own grief. Some people may be particularly shaken by the death. Especially if was abrupt or unexpected. Historically, mourners throughout this phase prepared the dead for burial. Funeral homes have eliminated this necessity.

Having worked with many families throughout the years, at Fox Monuments understand how to guide people through this difficult time. Our staff lends support by offering our thorough knowledge of Jewish custom. Most importantly, we lend our compassion in this difficult time.

woman consoling daughter


Shiva: The Second Stage

Lasting for seven days after burial, the Shiva is the second stage in the mourning process. During this time, the immediate family of the dead sits Shiva in their home. They may also sit Shiva in the home of the deceased. Friends and family members visit to offer their condolences. This is called “sitting Shiva”.

Family members are excused from chores, as well as the routines of daily life. They’re forbidden from working or listening to music, and often light memorial candles. In some circles of worship, people are also forbidden from bathing, grooming, or other practices that are viewed as vanity. The purpose of this is to reinforce the importance and profound meaning of life.


Shloshim: The Third Stage

Shloshim is an extension of the Shiva, and lasts for thirty days after the burial. The immediate family of the deceased continues to engage in some of the practices that are central to the Shiva.

While mourners can return to work and school, there are still restrictions regarding pleasure. Forbidden endeavors are entertainment, listening to music, going to parties, and other recreational activities.

elderly woman crying while man comforts her


Yahrzeit: The Fourth Stage

While not technically a stage, the Yahrzeit marks the end of the initial grieving process. Mourners commemorate the death of their loved ones by lighting a candle, symbolizing eternal love and remembrance. The Yahrzeit candle is one of the most important parts of paying tribute to a loved one.

In addition to lighting the Yahrzeit candle, the Yahrzeit carries more significance. Family members recite the Mourner’s Kaddish. Finally, the Jewish headstone receives an inscription.

Shneim Asar Chodesh

For Jewish people who have lost a parent and wish to adhere to tradition, the Shloshim practices may last longer. Those who follow the Shneim Asar Chodesh continue to refrain from fun activities.

What is Avelut?

Avelut is not a stage of mourning, but rather describes the process as a whole. Avelut encompasses the various phases of mourning, including Shiva, Shloshim, and for some, the year of mourning.



At Fox Monuments, our primary goal has always been to provide as much comfort to mourning families as we can. We make every effort to remain respectful to and considerate of the grieving process as you order your Jewish headstone.

We take great pride in helping families through difficult times, and with minimal stress. Contact us to learn more about how we can craft a beautiful monument for your loved one.

How to Plan a Jewish Memorial Service

jewish headstone with stone on top

The death of a family member or close friend is always a difficult thing to accept. At Fox Monuments, we’ve spent years helping Long Island families through very trying and difficult times. We understand the grief that mourners feel. And we make every effort to provide the necessary support during this process. We serve our community by crafting beautiful Jewish monuments that honor the faith and the lives of loved ones.

Customs of the Jewish faith outline specific steps that families should take to overcome their sorrow. Arranging a Jewish memorial service, or memorial service of any kind, is not simple. And it requires a lot of communication and coordination. There are many Jewish practices immediately following death, and many that dictate the memorial service.

This post has been updated as of October 2019, from its original publication date of January 15th, 2015. It has been edited for consistency and updated information on our services.


Step 1: Contact Your Rabbi

Rabbis are the spiritual leaders of the Jewish community. Before ordering a Jewish monument, you should contact your local Rabbi. They can help you to organize the service. And they can help make the necessary connections.

Speaking with a rabbi can also help you to understand and accept your loss. They are the keepers of the Jewish faith. And they can provide the guidance and wisdom that can help you through.

Rabbis will also contact local funeral homes and cemeteries on your behalf. They can assist you in making contact with the necessary organizations. By helping you to make preparations, they can ease the burden.

The rabbi will also assist you in deciding who will sit with the body of the deceased until the time of the service. And this is one of the most critical traditions of the Jewish faith.

rabbi reading in library

Step 2: Memorial Considerations

Memorial traditions can differ slightly, depending on family tradition and the sect of Judaism. One common tradition across these sects is for the family of the deceased to tear their clothing. This is a significant action that symbolizes their profound loss. It’s usually done at the beginning of the service. And with Jewish memorial services, there is a specific etiquette to follow.

The eulogy is another very important aspect of the memorial service. And usually, the eulogy is critical to memorial services of any faith. Before the service, the family should meet and discuss who will be giving the eulogy. Boasting or exaggerating the details of their life is not permitted. But it’s important to deliver a heartfelt and thoughtful eulogy. The best practice when composing a eulogy is to focus on their admirable qualities and contributions.

While deciding on who will deliver the eulogy, figure out who will be reading the psalms. And more often than not, close friends or family members are selected as the best options.

Step 3: Burial

Once the ceremony has come to a close, the bereaved will proceed from the temple to the cemetery. And many families prefer to limit the burial ceremony attendance to family only. However, it’s considered an honor when many attend a burial to pay their respects. Many people choose burial alongside their loved ones with family monuments.

There are several burial customs of the Jewish faith. The headstone is usually already in place at the time of the burial ceremony. But because of Jewish tradition, it is veiled. This tradition began a very long time ago, when it used to take weeks for headstones to be finished.

The headstone unveiling ceremony usually takes place one year after the burial.

jewish headstone with star of david



At Fox Monuments, our primary goal has always been to provide as much comfort to mourning families as we can. A fitting Jewish monument is a central part of arranging a Jewish memorial service.

We take great pride in helping families through difficult times, and with minimal stress. Contact us to learn more about how we can craft a beautiful monument for your loved one.