Interfaith Clergy Network
Jewish Lifecycle Services

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Funeral and Unveiling Services

The inevitable passing of loved ones, and the unique human feelings of deep sadness and irremediable loss, challenge us to seek the compassionate mitigation of our Jewish teachings and time honored rituals. The sincere embrace of family and friends, and the gentle, intuitive guidance of an experienced clergy will assist the bereaved in finding some strength and comfort at a most difficult time. Cantor Neil Berris is available to help you make the necessary decisions that provide a dignified and appropriate funeral service and interment, respecting our traditions while taking into account the preferences of the family and specific wishes expressed before death has occurred.  

There are many details that must be considered expediently, when planning a Jewish funeral service ("L'va'yah" in Hebrew). If time permits, Cantor Berris will meet with you personally, or at the very least consult with you by telephone or video call to discuss the following:

  • Establishing contact with a local Jewish funeral chapel, or if one is not available, talking with a non-sectarian funeral director about specific Jewish rituals.
  • Choosing either a chapel service followed by interment, or proceeding directly to the cemetery for a graveside service.
  • Selection of an appropriate casket, and the preparation of the deceased in accordance with Jewish law and family customs.
  • Contact with medical personnel and local officials to explain Jewish requirements should the need for autopsy preceed the funeral service.
  • Arranging for military honor guard or Jewish War Veterans (JWV) representation when the deceased had served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • The selection of readings, poetry, and eulogies preferred by the family, and the individuals who will speak at the service on their behalf.
  • Conducting a memorial service during the Shiva period at the home of the deceased or at another location to enable mourners to recite the Kaddish prayer.

When the family is ready to arrange for the permanent memorial monument or grave site marker, Cantor Berris will assist with the selection of the inscription, and provide the correct Hebrew name of the deceased to insure accuracy. If necessary, he will communicate directly with the monument producer, and complete any required forms.
 
A formal Unveiling Service to dedicate the memorial monument is usually held at least thirty days following a death, or traditionally at the close of the eleven month mourning period. This brief gathering of family and friends includes the recitation of Psalms, the "El Malay Rachamim" memorial prayer, and the Kaddish. Please contact Cantor Berris to discuss your personal needs for this ceremony, even if he did not officiate at your loved one's funeral service.