Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hospice Team: Jewish Funeral Practices (Video 4:15 mins.)

Being aware of various cultural and religious traditions in our diverse society is especially important for hospice workers because we are often invited to attend rituals such as funerals of deceased patients. Families appreciate sensitivity and respect regarding practices they embrace. However, even within various cultures and religions, there are differences, so asking family members questions is far better than making assumptions or creating stereotypes about large groups of people.

The first time I attended a Jewish funeral, I was surprised by how different it was from Christian funerals I had experienced. The casket was closed; there were no flowers; the service was short and simple. I welcomed the new ritual and asked questions about procedures I didn’t understand. After I became a hospice volunteer, I benefited from the knowledge gained at that Jewish service and services of other groups.

These are some examples and explanations regarding Jewish funerals:

1) The casket is closed out of respect for the deceased.
2) Embalming and cremation are not allowed, so the body can deteriorate naturally.
3) Flowers are not killed to honor someone who has died.
4) Burial takes place soon out of respect for the deceased.

This video titled Jewish Funeral Practices 101 gives a detailed description of Jewish funeral practices.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
"Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes”
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your nice information. There are various cultural and religious traditions and information of Jewish Funerals.