FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Judaism has many laws and traditions when burying a loved one. These laws are all there to comfort the family as well as to respect the dead. Neshama JFS upholds the laws and traditions. This includes the way the body is handled from death until burial, and the actual funeral service. A traditional Jewish burial has a shomer who will remain with the body from when we're notified of the death until burial. Before the service, the Chevra Kadisha, Jewish Burial Society will perform a taharah, dress the body in tachrichim and place it in a casket. The funeral service can be held in our chapel or at the graveside.
The Shomer, or one who guards, will sit with your loved one and say prayers for the soul. Jewish law states that the deceased should not be left alone since the soul lingers near the body until burial. The shomer stays to comfort the soul.
Tahara, or purification, is a requirement of Jewish law. It says in Ecclesiastes 5:14, "As we come forth, so we shall return." Just as a newborn child is immediately washed and enters this world clean and pure, so to he who departs this world must be cleaned and made pure by a ritual bath. The Tahara is performed by the Chevra Kadisha (Jewish Burial Society), who are members of the community trained for this holy work.
Tachrichim are white linen shrouds that the deceased is dressed in for burial. Jewish tradition recognizes the democracy of death, and therefore dictates that all Jews be buried in the same type of garment. Nineteen hundred years ago, Rabbi Gamliel instituted this practice so that the poor would not be shamed and the wealthy would not compete with each other to display the fanciest burial clothing. The Tachrichim are made to reflect this concept and should be simple, handmade, clean, and white. They symbolize purity, simplicity, and dignity.
It says in Genesis 3:19 "For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return". This is the guiding principle when choosing a casket. The casket must be made from material that will disintegrate in the ground, allowing the body to return to the earth. Jewish tradition requires that the person be buried in a coffin made completely of wood. It should be plain and modest. It is customary to use a plain pine casket keeping with the precept that expense is not a barometer in honoring the deceased.
Cremation goes against Jewish law and although other funeral homes do offer it, Neshama JFS will not offer something that conflicts with Jewish tradition. Our funeral home is based on the Jewish laws for burial without compromising on price or service. Everything we do shows respect to the body and offers comfort to the family while keeping the Jewish tradition in tact. There are many reasons why cremation is not within the boundaries of Jewish law. One such reason is that Man's soul comes from above and when it is finished its mission on earth, it rises back up to God. The body, on the other hand, comes from the earth and shall return to the earth. Cremation destroys much of the body and thus violates the commandments of burial in the ground. Also, the body belongs to the creator. While living, it is on loan to us and we try to take care of it as best as possible so it can be returned, in its entirety to God. To read more about this, please go to Resources.
The very act of embalming, as well as the reasons for performing such a procedure are all contrary to Jewish law and custom. Embalming should not be performed unless required by law. For example certain countries require remains to be embalmed if the burial is to take place there. In all cases a Rabbi should be consulted.
Embalming is not allowed by Jewish law unless mandated by the government. In order to ship the body to some countries, they need it to be embalmed. In that case, Neshama JFS will have the body embalmed. Other than that, no state within the US has such a law so there is no reason for it. reasons... To read more about this, please go to Resources.
The practice of placing earth in the coffin has its source in Haggahot Maimuniyyot, Hil Melakhim (5:4) he cites Ketubot 12:4, 35b (Talmid Yerushalmi?) Rabbi Eliezer said to Rabbi Bar Karia, when they came to the Land of Israel they would take a clod of earth and place it in their coffin, as it is said "His land will atone for their people" (Deut 32:43). Haggahot Maimuniyyot writes that from this we see support for the practice of placing earth from the Land of Israel on the dead. (Check Rav Shrira Gaon?)
It says in Deuteronomy 21:23 " His body shall not remain all night. Thou shall surely bury him the same day." The underlying theme throughout the burial and mourning process is respect to the deceased. Man in made in the image of God and should be treated with honor and dignity even in death. There are times that it is appropriate to postpone the funeral, only if the reason is to honor the deceased. If there are family members coming from far who's presence would honor the deceased, or if the Rabbi cannot make it at that time. One should also postpone the burial for legal matters.
While flowers are a beautiful thing to the living, they have no meaning to the dead. The body, like a flower, blossoms and then fades away, but the soul, like a solid stone, lives on forever. All the materialistic things we do in this world, money, vacations, are like flowers, they die with us. The good deeds, the love and light we bring into this world all last forever. Instead, one can give that money to a charity in memory of the deceased. When visiting the grave, it is a Jewish tradition to put a stone on the monument to show the impact they had in this world is not forgotten.
Opening and closing fees can include up to and beyond 50 separate services provided by the cemetery. Typically, the opening and closing fee include administration and permanent record keeping (determining ownership, obtaining permission and the completion of other documentation which may be required, entering the interment particulars in the interment register, maintaining all legal files); opening and closing the grave (locating the grave and laying out the boundaries, excavating and filling the interment space); installation and removal of the lowering device; placement and removal of artificial grass dressing and coco-matting at the grave site, leveling, tamping, re-grading and sodding the grave site and leveling and re-sodding the grave if the earth settles.
Funerals are labor intensive and require a lot of work from a lot of people. The cost of a funeral goes beyond merchandise such as caskets, it includes the services of a funeral director in making the necessary arrangements, filling out forms, and dealing with all the other people involved in the death (doctors, lawyers, insurance companies). Funeral directors work an average of 40 hours per funeral. The cost of operating a funeral home is factored into the cost as well. Neshama JFS is a 24 hour operation, with extensive facilities that need to be maintained and secured.
It is highly recommended to have an obituary notice that’s either placed in a local newspaper, or placed online. An obituary lets the public know that a death has occurred, and gives them information about the service. Obituaries generally include the deceased’s full name, age, city and date of birth and the city they were living in when they died. It also includes the name of the deceased’s spouse, along with the names of anyone else significant in their lives, such as parents, children or grandchildren. Space may be limited in a newspaper obituary, but you may include a little blurb on the life and legacy of the deceased. An online obituary or memorial website offers you the chance to add a lot more about the deceased.
Funeral directors are in charge of all the logistics following a death. They complete all the necessary paperwork, make arrangements for the transportation of the body, and put into action the choices made by the family in regards to the funeral service and the final resting place of the body. Beyond the logistics, funeral directors are there to provide moral support and guidance for someone coping with the death of a loved one.
Neshama JFS will have someone on call 24/7 and will be able to make arrangements whatever time of day.
Arrangements can be made to have the body transported anywhere. Neshama JFS will assume responsibility and make the proper arrangements to have the body return to the community.
Grave liners are concrete liners that go into the grave and are required by most cemeteries in South Florida due to the high water table.
When a cemetery runs out of land, it will continue to operate and serve the community. The cemeteries will continue to care for land and the graves.
We think of cemetery lands as being in perpetuity. There are cemeteries throughout the world that have been in existence for hundreds of years.
All staff members at Neshama JFS are qualified to make pre-arrangements. Just call and we'll help you get started.
Neshama JFS will offer webcasting for friends and family who are not able to join in person. Contact us for more details.
One who is not satisfied with the way a funeral was handled can call The Neshama Foundation who can act as a liaison between them and the funeral home. They can be reached at (954) 520-7414 or online at theneshamafoundation.org. If that does not solve your issues, Funeral Services in the United States is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, and they can be reached by telephone at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) or you can fill out a form online at www.ftc.gov.