What Should We Expect on the Day of the Funeral?

This page describes the funeral ceremony as conducted by the Haifa Hevra Kadisha. Before and during the ceremony, the Hevra Kadisha team (identifiable by a Hevra Kadisha tag) is at your service for explanations, help, and requests.

 if you want to clarify the registration process and technical arrangements before the funeral.

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Getting to the Cemetery

At the cemetery, go to the gate or hall from which the funeral procession leaves about 10 minutes before the scheduled time for the funeral.

Upon arriving there, the head of the funeral team or the cantor conducting the ceremony will approach you. The Hevra Kadisha employees can be identified by the tag on their shirt.

Before the Funeral

Some of the cemeteries have a private room in which mourners can spend a few moments alone with the deceased and say farewell to him. If you wish to be alone, you can ask the Hevra Kadisha personnel to leave the room. The face of the deceased is usually unveiled only to the family member asked to identify the deceased and verify that the right person is being buried. This relative then signs a deceased identification form.

The cantor will ask you for the names of the first-degree relatives in order to include their names in the Kel Malei Rachamim prayer, and the names of those giving eulogies if you want them to deliver a eulogy.

The Funeral Ceremony

The deceased is brought by the funeral team to the courtyard or hall for eulogies.

Before the eulogies are begun, the deceased's close relatives (parents, husband or wife, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters) will be asked to approach the place where the deceased's bed has been placed, so that for performing the kriah (rending of clothing) ceremony can be performed.

The kriah is usually performed by a Hevra Kadisha member (if possible, a man performs the ceremony for men and a woman performs it for women), although one of the relatives or a friend can also do it. The kriah is performed on the upper garment (shirt) above the chest. For those mourning a parent, the rending is done on the left side (where the heart is located), and on the right side for other mourners. The tear must be substantial – approximately 8.5 centimeters (one tefach – four fingers – 3.5 inches). The Hevra Kadisha member usually only begins the tear, which is then enlarged by the mourner pulling down on the lapel of the torn garment. If possible, the mourner stands during kriah, and then recites the blessing justifying the judgment:

"Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, the True Judge."

After kriah, if the family wishes it, eulogies are spoken in the order set by the family in cooperation with the person conducting the funeral.

When the eulogies are concluded, the funeral procession begins moving in the direction of the burial plot.

The Burial

When the funeral procession reaches the burial plot, it is important for the sons or those saying Kaddish to be next to the cantor.

The cantor recites psalms while the deceased is buried and the grave is covered.

When the burial is finished, the family members recite Kaddish and the cantor recites Kel Malei Rachamim.

Following the ceremony, it is customary to put a stone on the place of the burial.

 for detailed Halachic information about burial and mourning.

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