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Judaism offers a comprehensive, compassionate approach to the end of life, and B’nai Torah offers many resources to support those passing over “the final bridge” and their loved ones.

Contact

If a loss has occurred, or is imminent, please contact Rabbi Heller at
rabbi@bnaitorah.org. Congregation B'nai Torah offers support throughout each step of the journey.

Funeral Resources

The Vidui prayer, recited by or on behalf of someone at the end of life, provides an opportunity to seek wholeness and peace at the end of life. Our rabbis offer spiritual guidance to families approaching a loss.

Our Jewish tradition suggests that the funeral and burial take place as quickly as possible after death, both out of respect for the deceased and to avoid excessive time for mourners. We have a relationship with 
Dressler's Jewish Funeral Care, Atlanta’s locally-owned Jewish funeral home, and a sensitive partner to navigate a complex time. 

Our synagogue has a 
hevra kaddisha, which works with the funeral home to ensure that the deceased is prepared for burial according to sacred tradition. 

B’nai Torah maintains a burial section at Arlington Memorial Park in Sandy Springs, GA. Our rabbis will officiate a burial at any cemetery.


Shiva

The funeral is followed by shiva, a period of seven days where the community gathers to support the mourner, our rabbis, and lay leaders will organize a “minyan” service at the shiva home each evening as desired.

Common practices during shiva:

  • A candle is lit in the home where shiva is observed, and it burns throughout shiva
  • A meal of consolation, including symbolic foods like hard boiled eggs, is eaten as soon as one returns from the burial. Our Kesher Committee will provide this first meal or another meal.
  • Mourners avoid wearing leather shoes, bathing, using lotions and engaging in marital relations.
  • Mourners sit on a lower chair.
  • Mirrors in the house are covered.

Shiva is suspended by Shabbat, resumes Saturday night after dark, then concludes the morning of the 7th day after burial. At the end of shiva, it is customary to go for a walk, leaving the shiva home as a symbolic end to the first stage of the mourning process.

It is customary to honor the memory of deceased in several ways:

  • By reciting Kaddish each day during the first 11 months after the loss, and on the anniversary each year, as part of a minyan of ten Jews. B’nai Torah offers a twice daily minyan service which is a supportive environment for mourners.
  • By reciting the Yizkor prayer on Yom Kippur, and on Shemini Atzeret, Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot.
  • By offering a gift of tzedakah in memory of the deceased. One may do so by donating a yahrzeit plaque, which commemorates a loved one’s name in lights on the wall of our sanctuary or by donating to have their name listed in our Yizkor book.


Unveiling

It is customary to mark the grave with a gravestone during the first a year of the loss. An “unveiling” ceremony is an opportunity for family and friends to gather and dedicate the marker. You may ask one of our rabbis to officiate, or we can provide you with a pamphlet that would enable to conduct the ceremony yourself.

Sun, September 22 2019 22 Elul 5779