Understanding The Process

Hebrew Memorial subscribes to the time honored tradition of emphasizing the sacredness of man. A human being is similar to a Torah Scroll that can no longer be used – it is always revered for the holy function it once filled. Care is taken to handle the deceased in the way we would respect someone who is alive.


It would be disrespectful to allow a deceased to be alone until the time of burial. Therefore, a Shomer – a watchman is employed to be with the deceased. He says psalms and prays for the soul of the departed.

Prior to burial, a body is prepared for this last journey. Ecclesiastes says “As he came so shall he go.” Just as a newborn is immediately washed and enters this world clean and pure, so he who departs this world must be cleansed and made pure through the religious ritual called Taharah – purification.

This is performed by our Chevra Kaddisha – men (for males) and women (for females) who comprise a respected group of individuals especially instructed on this most vital aspect of a Jewish funeral. Everyone buried through Hebrew Memorial is afforded this beautiful tradition. He or she is lovingly washed and dressed in white shrouds (tachrichim) according to tradition. These white clothes are appropriate for one who is shortly to stand in judgment before G-d Almighty. They are simple, handmade and perfectly clean. Shrouds have no pockets, symbolizing that man’s possessions are unimportant and cannot be taken with him – just the soul is eternal.

The sacredness of man dictates that no autopsy be made. Only in a limited number of cases, such as accidents, suicide, questionable deaths and non-natural deaths, is the medical examiner required to do an autopsy. Doctors and hospitals will sometimes ask a family if they want an autopsy done for the sake of research and a better knowledge of what their loved one died from. Jewish tradition rejects autopsies for teaching reasons, due to the fact that it violates the higher principle of the prohibition against mutilating the body of the deceased. Man was created in the image of G-d, and never should be demeaned, even in death.  The deceased deserves to be laid to rest tenderly and lovingly and not like an object of some experiment. The holiness of the human being demands that we not tamper with his body. There are instances where autopsies are permitted and a highly competent Rabbi should be consulted. Tradition tells that even in those cases, any organ or limb should be buried properly.

Embalming was instituted historically to preserve the remains of the deceased. There is no law in the United States that requires embalming except in certain instances for long distance travel. Embalming runs counter to Jewish tradition. One should be laid to rest naturally with no desecration of the body.

Although cremation is never permitted according to Jewish law, many people are not aware of this. Hebrew Memorial chooses to assist families financially and psychologically in order to uphold the traditional Jewish burial.

The casket should be constructed out of wood. Hebrew Memorial will never pressure a family in any way to purchase an expensive casket. We show dignified caskets in our showroom ranging from inlaid mahogany to the simplest of plain pine. We do not offer metal caskets, since this is contrary to Jewish tradition.

Following the honor of the deceased, kavod hamet, there is a profound significance in escorting the deceased to the cemetery. This is an extremely important symbol of respect. Proper conduct at the cemetery is important. Dignified clothing should be worn. Stepping on or sitting on gravestones should be avoided.

We are unique in that we believe in providing total traditional respect for your loved one and at the same time,   combining these age old traditions with the most modern of technology and ideas to comfort you, the mourners.    
We do this because WE UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR LOVED ONE..........LIVED!!!