Month by month, we discuss the rich and complex Jewish traditions surrounding death and mourning. 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.
The rich tapestry of Jewish tradition presents several opportunities for discussion. In our previous post, we discussed a guide to shiva for non-Jews. This post will cover the role flowers play in Jewish funerals, and why they’re inappropriate.
Why Aren’t Flowers Appropriate at Jewish Funerals?
First, for most of us, the notion of sending flowers to a funeral is almost a given. Therefore, the idea of not being able to send them feels counterintuitive. It’s our way of letting bereaved friends know we’re thinking of them.
However, Jewish families generally view them as a celebratory gesture. (Naturally, this is understandable.) Jewish funerals are not meant to have bright, colorful decorations. Basically, Jewish funerals are solemn affairs. Therefore, flowers disrupt the mourning process. The family will view the arrival of flowers as an act of celebration and not grief. The time will come to celebrate their life. However, the funeral is not that time.
In addition, the process of Jewish mourning differs from other cultures. Essentially, the Jewish funeral takes place much more quickly than most other cultures. Sometimes, exceptions are made to delay the funeral in order to permit certain mourners to travel and arrive on time.
The Chevra Kadisha wash the body according to tradition and make sure it’s protected. Usually, burial is in a simple wooden casket, without embalming. Then, the family sits shiva, an intense period of mourning. Essentially, these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Jewish burial and mourning. There are several more practices and customs, none of which warrant the presence of flowers.
Ultimately, the presence of flowers during the funeral, shiva or the Unveiling Ceremony would be seen as a nuisance or disruption.
What You Can Do
If you’d like to express sympathy for Jewish friends in mourning, flowers aren’t your only option. Basically, you can contribute in many other ways. First, you can provide them with meals. This can help to ease their burden and know someone is thinking of them. Additionally, you can visit during shiva, send a sympathy card or donate a gift to charity in their name.
At Fox Monuments, the creation of extraordinary Jewish monuments to honor loved ones is our mission. For years, we’ve collaborated with Long Island’s Jewish community to create exceptional memorials to those we’ve lost. 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.
At Fox Monuments, providing guidance and support during times of adversity has always been our top priority. Through the creation of Jewish double monuments and headstones, we help bereaved families to honor the lives of their loved ones.