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.
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.