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.
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.
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.