When a Loved One Dies

When a Loved One Dies

You are Not Alone- Your Shul is There for You…

Because we love, when a loved one dies, we feel sorrow and grief. We can also feel confused and wonder what to do next. This guide sheet has been prepared for you by Rabbi Rudin and Cantor Lois as a resource for your at this difficult time.

  • Adath Shalom’s Phone Number – (973) 539-8549
  • Rabbi Rudin’s Cell – (973) 220-1677
  • Cantor Lois Kittner’s Cell – (201) 637-9575

What to do when a death occurs:

  1. Call a Jewish Funeral Director (see below) to arrange for proper and respectful care of the deceased.
    1. If the death occurs in a hospital, they can make the call for you; although it is recommended to call directly yourself.
    2. If the death occurs out of town, the local Jewish Funeral Director can make arrangements for transportation and coordination.
  2. Next, call Rabbi Rudin or Cantor Lois to assist you and help arrange the funeral. If funeral pre-arrangements have not been made, you can ease the strain of planning the funeral by having someone, perhaps a close friend or family member, help you make decisions and plan.

Local Funeral Directors and Services

Funeral Directors can also arrange for the sale of funeral plots. See below for a list of local Jewish cemeteries.

The Jewish Way in Death and Grief

In the presence of death, when grief is so powerful as to threaten to topple us, understanding and drawing nurturance from our tradition can give us strength and elevate us to the tasks of love and faith that lie ahead.

Here are some resources:

Before the Funeral:

  • Arrange the time, date and place of the funeral with Rabbi Rudin or Cantor Lois and the funeral home.
  • Telephone immediate family, close friends, employer or business colleagues.
  • Meet with the Rabbi or Cantor to discuss the service and hesped (eulogy).
  • Discuss with the Rabbi/Cantor your shiva plans including where minyanim will take place and at what time and during which hours you would like visitors.
  • The synagogue would like to provide a Se’udat Havra’ah, a Meal of Consolation for your family at your convenience as well as Siddurim (prayer books) and low chairs.
  • You may wish to consider arranging a house sitter during the funeral to keep an eye out and help prepare.


Shiva is an essential and powerful way to show love, express grief and allow for catharsis and to fully experience and process loss. It is a spiritual gift that your loved one gives to you- a time for your community to embrace, support and care for you. It is not an open house and you are not obligated in any way to entertain or host. Rather it is a venue for you to allow yourself to fully grieve, surrounded by the safety, love and security of those who love and care for you. While the custom has become to shorten Shiva (which means “seven”) to the minimum of three days, it is recommended to observe Shiva for the full seven days of grief. Shiva is suspended on Shabbat, but Shabbat counts as one of the days of Shiva as does the day of the funeral. Shiva ends one hour after dawn of the seventh day. When death occurs on or near a holiday or during Chol HaMo’ed, a Rabbi should be consulted.

Your Adath Shalom family is happy to provide Shiva leaders for your services.  In addition to Rabbi Rudin and Cantor Lois, we have other congregants who are there for you.  Adath Shalom, as an egalitarian and inclusive synagogue, provides both men and women as Shiva leaders and recognizes the participation of both genders to form a minyan.

Preparing a Hesped (Eulogy)

We grieve because we love. We love because of the one we love’s virtues, uniqueness, passion, caring, foibles, laughter, tears… what they gave us and taught us, what they leave behind as a legacy, what they shared with us, the roots and nurturance, the challenges and the good times, the hard times and the strength. Sharing memories might be difficult or painful, but in a sense we are allowing our loved one space within ourselves to live and love. Whether you create your own eulogy or speak with the Rabbi or Cantor, open your heart, share some details about your loved one’s roots and early life, service, family, loves and interests, favorite teachings, songs, jokes or stories. What were they about? What would they want to be remembered for? What did they value and what do you value in them? Of all creatures on earth, we are the only ones who seek not just to live and to thrive, but also meaning. You have the power to give your loved one’s life meaning by actualizing their legacy, by sharing their story, by showing how much they meant and will always mean to you. By sharing, you are enabling them to continue to be a source of blessing. Be courageous and loving- remember and share memory.

Preparing an Obituary

Items to consider might be age, place of birth, occupation, attainments, service to country and community. List members of the immediate family and give the time and place of the funeral.

Many funeral homes will arrange this for the family. However, if this is not the case you may contact:

Memorial Contributions

You are an integral part of our community. Should you decide to direct contributions in memory of your loved one to the synagogue, we will be sure to track these donations and notify you.

Dealing with Grief

Every person has different reactions to loss and grief. It is not unusual for a mourner to feel depressed one day and happy another, or for periods of deep sorry to come and go for a long period of time after the loss. These are part of grief. You are more than welcome to reach out to the Rabbi, Cantor or Synagogue Social Worker at any time to share your feelings. Adath Shalom also provides a monthly, private grief support group. Contact the clergy or social worker for meeting days and times.

Adath Shalom’s Grieving Practices

We are here for you – this is the time to allow your synagogue community to give you the love, support and closeness that can help make a difference at this time of grief and loss.. Here are some practices that you can draw strength from.

Please come to shul as often as you can during Shiva, Shloshim (the month period following the passing) and the Shana (the year of mourning for parents). We are encouraged to say Mourner’s Kaddish at every service for the first 11 months following the passing. Our services are held Friday nights at 7:15 PM, Shabbat mornings at 9:00 AM, Sunday mornings (during the school year) at 9:00 AM and Wednesday mornings at 6:45 AM.

Upon returning from the cemetery, it is a tradition to set out a pitcher, towel and basin and to pour a bit of water on each hand to spiritually cleanse ourselves from the intense grief of the ordeal of interment. It is traditional for those helping to serve the mourner a meal of consolation, beginning with an egg: a symbol of renewal, the cycle of life and nurturance.  Our synagogue is there to provide you with a meal of consolation for your family.   If you are accepting food from friends and family, or are bringing food to a Shiva, please do not serve food that is overtly forbidden by Jewish practice, such as pork products, shellfish or cheese and meat together.

During Shiva, please come to services on Friday night. On Shabbat, those sitting Shiva do not take an Aliyah and should not sit in their accustomed seats in honor of their loved one. On Friday night, when joyful songs are sung at the beginning of Kabbalat Shabbat, it is traditional for those sitting Shiva to be seated outside the sanctuary. You will be warmly welcomed in at the end of L’cha Dodi.

During Shiva, we are instructed to not engage in work or to leave home. At the end of Shiva, it is a tradition to take a short walk to let folks know that you are returning to society. It is traditional to keep a candle burning throughout Shiva.

During Shloshim, we are to refrain from attending celebrations and live musical events and performances. If our livelihood is affected by this prohibition, it is waived.

During the Shana, the year of mourning following the death of a parent, the practices of Shloshim continue throughout the year.

It is a tradition to kindle a Yahrzeit candle in memory of a parent, spouse, sibling or child on Yom Kippur eve, the evening of Shemini Atzeret the last day of Pesach and the second day of Shavuot (for both of the latter, kindle the flame from an existing flame). Some do not do this until the first anniversary of the death has passed.

Following the first anniversary of the passing, attend synagogue Yizkor services on the same days that Yahrtzeit candles are lit.

Finally, it is a sign of love and respect to dedicate a memorial plaque in memory of your loved one. Call Shari Hoffman in the synagogue office for information. We gather at Selichot services the week before Rosh HaShana to dedicate our plaques together.

Local Jewish Cemeteries

Beth Abraham
617 Cranberry Road, East Brunswick, NJ 732-257-7460
P.O. Box 6905, East Brunswick, NJ 08816

Beth David (Kenilworth, NJ)
Located off the Garden State Parkway, exit # 138 908-245-7100
Administered by Sanford B. Epstein, Inc., 731 Boulevard, Kenilworth, NJ 07033

Bnai Abraham Memorial Park
2600 Route 22 East, Union, NJ 07083 908-688-3054
Owned by Temple Bnai Abraham, Livingston, NJ

Bnai Jacob
Passaic Avenue, Lodi, NJ (near Home Place) 201-939-8170
Contact: Sabetay Behar, 200 Murray Hill Parkway, East Rutherford, NJ 07073

Cedar Park
Forest Avenue, Paramus, NJ 201-262-1100
P.O. Box 329, Westwood, NJ 07675
One section of the same cemetery is Beth El (Westwood).

Congregation Bnai Israel-Ahavas Joseph
Midland Ave, Saddle Brook, NJ 973-278-5366
Contact Mrs. Ida Ezorsky, 35 E 40th St, Paterson, NJ 07544

Dover Mt. Sinai
Chrystal Street, Randolph, NJ 973-539-4440
Mail address: Dover Mt. Sinai Cemetery, c/o Adath Shalom Synagogue, 841 Mountain Way, Morris
Plains, NJ 07950

The synagogue is not affiliated with the cemetery. It simply serves as a place for receipt of mail and messages.

East Ridgelawn Founded 1905
255 Main Avenue, Clifton, NJ 07014 973-777-1920

King Solomon Memorial Park
Dwas Line Avenue & Allwood Road, Clifton, NJ 973-473-5646
P.O. Box 1041, Clifton, NJ 07014

Menorah Cemetery
600 Passaic Avenue, Clifton, NJ 07014 973-777-1920
Jewish section of East Ridgelawn Cemetery.

Mt. Freedom Hebrew Cemetery
Dover Chester Road, Randolph, NJ
Charlie Pollack (crpollack@gmail.com) or Steve Gelb (sgelb@s2c2inc.com or 908-625-3192).

Mt. Moriah Founded c. 1910
685 Fairview Avenue, Fairview, NJ 07022 201-943-6163

Mt. Nebo
742 Rutherford Avenue, Lyndhurst, NJ 201-438-1612
P.O. Box 53, Rutherford, NJ 07070

North Arlington Jewish Cemetery
Belleville Turnpike, North Arlington, NJ 908-245-7100
Sanford B. Epstein, Inc., 731 Boulevard, Kenilworth, NJ 07033

Oheb Sholom Cemetery
1321 N. Broad Street, Hillside, NJ 07205 908-352-0552
Managed by the Oheb Sholom Cemetery Association.

Riverside (Saddle Brook)
12 Market Street, P.O. Box 930, Saddle Brook, NJ 07662 201-843-7600

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