Community You Can Believe In
Death & Mourning
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no harm, for You are with me. (23rd Psalm)
A synagogue is a place where we often share the great moments of our lives in the context of tradition. At no time is this more important than when one of our Beth El family experiences a death. Dedicated congregational members and staff are ready to help you as you grieve your loved one’s passing. In so doing, we hope that you, too, might someday identify with the journey of the Psalmist who was able to say, “You (G-d) turned my mourning into dancing. You changed my sack cloth into robes of joy.” (Psalm 30)
When Your Family Experiences a Death
When death occurs, despite the shock, you will be asked to make a number of immediate decisions. Rabbi Rosen, Rabbi Garber and our Executive Director Rabbi Howard Sowalsky (860-233-9696) are available to answer your questions, to guide you, and to help you make the appropriate decisions. Your first contacts should be with a funeral home and the rabbi. A family member or close friend can make the contacts for you. The Beth El office can help you with names of Jewish funeral homes in the area.
According to Jewish tradition, the burial takes place as soon as possible after death. The family will want to meet with the funeral director to select a plot (if not pre-arranged), an Aron (a casket) and to make any other necessary arrangements. Our rabbis will determine with you the time of the funeral in consultation with the funeral director. Funeral services are not held on Shabbat or major Jewish holidays.
The rabbi will visit with the family prior to the service to provide support, answer questions regarding Jewish Law, and provide any needed advice. Also at this time, the rabbi will gather information about the deceased from family members for the eulogy and help make preparations for Shiva (the seven-day period of mourning following burial).
If you plan for the burial to be in the Beth El Cemetery and have not already purchased a cemetery plot please contact Rabbi Sowalsky.
We can also help you with some of the ritual aspects of mourning, including covering mirrors and arranging your Shiva house. Please let the rabbis know if you would like to connect with our volunteer helpers.
Many in our community have found comfort after the death of a loved one by reciting Kaddish during morning or evening minyan. By Jewish tradition, we say Kaddish for a parent for 11 months after a death and for a sibling, child or spouse, for one month. Whether you are familiar with the prayer or are new to minyan or even to Hebrew, you will find a welcoming group ready to greet and help you.