Remembrance Customs

Death, Mourning, Remembrance at Congregation Kol Ami

Shiva, Home Preparation, and Shloshim

A volunteer from the Chesed Committee is available to assist you in preparing your home for shiva. Please inform Jess Lorden if you would like assistance from the Chesed Committee.

Jewish mourning periods serve as a framework to help mourners confront and work through grief. Shiva begins after the funeral and lasts for seven days; sheloshim continues after shiva and lasts for 30 days from the date of burial. We do not sit shiva on Shabbat and on certain holidays although these days do count toward the prescribed seven-day period. Many Jews restrict their activities according to Jewish law through shloshim.

Throughout shiva, mourners (parents, spouse, siblings, and children) receive visits of comfort from friends and family. Our clergy and lay leaders are available to lead the evening service each night of shiva in the mourner’s home (or other designated place.) All mourner’s recite the Mourner’s Kaddish during shiva and sheloshim. Children continue to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish daily for their parents for approximately a year following burial. See below for the Mourner’s Kaddish.

Traditionally, a water pitcher, basin, and towel are placed outside for visitors to wash their hands upon arriving from the cemetery. It is also customary to light a large shiva memorial candle, provided by the funeral home, that burns for seven days. In many homes, mirrors are covered to discourage vanity.

Keep in mind that mourners are not responsible for feeding visitors. However, food is typically available during shiva. The Chesed Committee can coordinate with you or your designated family representative and local caterers as requested.

Saying Kaddish
As a congregation, Kol Ami recites the Mourner’s Kaddish on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. The name of the deceased is announced during Shloshim, the four Fridays and Saturdays following the burial and on the yahrzeit (anniversary of the death) every year during services. Children continue to say the Mourner’s Kaddish for their parents for approximately a full year. Temple Israel in White Plains invites mourners for its morning and evening daily minyon. Contact Temple Israel for more details.

Unveiling the Headstone
Approximately a year after the burial, it is customary to gather for a graveside ceremony in which the headstone is “unveiled.” There are no formal requirements for this service; however, traditional Hebrew readings and a final Kaddish are often recited. Upon request, the clergy will help families plan a meaningful service for the unveiling. 

Observing Yahrzeits
It is customary to commemorate the anniversary of the death of a loved one by lighting a yahrzeit candle (available in most grocery stores). Kol Ami invites and encourages you to share the name and yahrzeit of those who have passed. We will honor the memory of your loved one by announcing their name at all temple services during the week of their yahrzeit on the secular or Hebrew calendar, however you choose. Yahrzeit candles are traditionally lit for loved ones four other times each year: Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Pesach and Shavuot. On these same four days, Kol Ami services include the Neila (memorial) service.

Virtual Cemetery
It is a mitzvah to visit the graves of loved ones during the High Holidays.This may not always be possible as circumstances may prevent such a trip. Kol Ami maintains a database of interred Kol Ami congregants on the FindaGrave website where you can “visit” your loved ones virtually.

Available To Purchase At Kol Ami

Kol Ami offers memorial options that honor the memory of your loved one. 

  • High Holiday Prayer Book Label: $18   (See photo)
  • Metal Tree of Life Leaf: $180 (See photo)
  • Glass-Engraved Yahrzeit Plaques: $750 (See photo) A plastic copy of the plaque is placed on the nearby stand during your loved one’s yahrzeit. Stones are available to place on the stand as traditionally done in a cemetery.

Mourner’s Kaddish

Transliteration

Yit-ga-dal v’yit-ka-dash sh’mei ra-ba, b’al-ma di-v’ra chi-ru-tei, v’yam-lich mal-chu-tei b’chai-yei-chon uv’yo-mei-chon uv’chai-yei d’chol-beit Yis-ra-eil, ba-a-ga-la u-viz-man ka-riv, v’im’ru: Amen. Y’hei sh’mei ra-ba m’va-rach l’a-lam ul’al-mei al-ma-ya. Yit-ba-rach v’yish-ta-bach, v’yit-pa-ar v’yit-ro-mam v’yit-na-sei, v’yit-ha-dar v’yit-a-leh v’yit-ha-lal, sh’mei d’ku-d’sha, b’rich hu, l’ei-la min kol bir-cha-ta v’shi-ra-ta, tush-b’cha-ta v’ne-che-ma-ta, da-a-mi-ran b’al-ma, v’im’ru: Amen. Y’hei sh’la-ma ra-ba min sh’ma-ya, v’cha-yim, a-lei-nu v’al kol-Yis-ra-eil, v’im’ru: Amen.. O-seh sha-lom bim-ro-mav, hu ya-a-seh sha-lom a-lei-nu v’al kol-Yis-ra-eil, v’im’ru: Amen.

English Version

Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will. May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen. May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity. Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen. May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen. He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen. May they rest in peace and may their memory ever be for a blessing… At this moment, I pause for thought in memory of my beloved.

Additional Prayers

I give thanks for the blessing of life, of companionship and of memory. I am grateful for the strength and faith that sustained me in the hour of my bereavement. Though sorrow lingers, I have learned that love is stronger than death. Though my loved one is beyond my sight, I do not despair for I sense my beloved in my heart as a living presence. sustained by words of faith, comforted by precious memories, we kindle the light in remembrance. “The human spirit is the light of Adonai” (Proverbs 20:27). As this light is pure and clear, so may the blessed memory of the goodness and nobility of character of our dear_____________illumine our souls.
May they rest in peace and may their memory ever be for a blessing. At this moment, I pause for thought in memory of my beloved_________________I give thanks for the blessing of life, of companionship and of memory. I am grateful for the strength and faith that sustained me in the hour of my bereavement. Though sorrow lingers, I have learned that love is stronger than death. Though my loved one is beyond my sight, I do not despair for I sense my beloved in my heart as a living presence. sustained by words of faith, comforted by precious memories, we kindle the light in remembrance. “The human spirit is the light of Adonai” (Proverbs 20:27). As this light is pure and clear, so may the blessed memory of the goodness and nobility of character of our dear_____________illumine our souls.

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