Burial Services

Neshama JFS prides itself on only offering burial packages that conform to Jewish law. Traditionally, a shomer will remain with the body from removal 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 family can choose between a chapel service or graveside, and what to put on the monument or marker.

At Neshama JFS, we make the process easier by offering complete and comprehensive packages to our clients. Please contact us for more information on our packages.

To learn more about Jewish law in death, please contact us so we can point you in the right direction.

Burial FAQ

What is a shomer?
The shomer, or one who guards, will sit near the body and say Psalms for the soul. Jewish law states that the body should not be left alone since it is said that the soul lingers near the body until burial. Neshama JFS offers the first shift free.

What is a Taharah?
Before the body is buried, it is washed in a ritual act of purification called tahara. Just as a baby is washed and enters the world clean and pure, so do we leave the world cleansed by the religious act of tahara. The tahara is done by the Chevra kadisha or Jewish Burial Society. Strict procedures are followed, which include the recitation of prayers and psalms. Men handle male bodies and women prepare female bodies; modesty is preserved even in death.They are all trained by Rabbi Elchonon Zohn.

What are Tachrichim?
Tachrichim are white linen shrouds that the Chevra Kadisha put on the body after the tahara process. One reason behind this is that all Jews, wealthy or poor, greet God in the same external wear. A man is also buried in his Tallit (can be provided by Neshama JFS). 

Why is a plain pine casket preferred?
"For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Genesis 3:19) is the guiding principle when choosing a casket. By using an ornate caskte pays honor to the family's wealth instead of focusing on the deceased's good deeds. Jewish tradition requires that the person be buried in a plain, modest, casket. The casket must be made from material that will disintegrate in the ground, allowing the body to return to the earth as quickly as possible, and enabling the soul to attain true and final peace.

Cremation is not an option at Neshama JFS. Why?
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 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.

Is embalming allowed by Jewish law?
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.


Burial Services

Traditionally, a burial service involves a visitation, followed by a funeral service in a church, or other place of worship.  The casket is typically present at both these events, and it is your decision on whether to have the casket open or not.  You have the option of having the remains interred (earth burial), or it may be entombed in a crypt inside a mausoleum (above ground burial).  Family or religious traditions are often a factor for choosing burial.  Decisions need to be made on whether the body needs to be embalmed, what kind of casket to use, what cemetery to use and what to put on the gravestone.

Cemetery Types

Monumental cemetery: A monumental cemetery is the traditional style of cemetery where headstones or other monuments made of marble or granite rise vertically above the ground.  There are countless different types of designs for headstones, ranging from very simple to large and complex.

Lawn cemetery: A lawn cemetery is where each grave is marked with a small commemorative plaque that is placed horizontally at the head of the grave at ground-level.  Families can still be involved in the design and the information contained on the plaque, however in most cases the plaques are a standard design. 

Natural cemeteries: Natural cemeteries, also known as eco-cemeteries or green cemeteries is a new style of cemetery set aside for natural burials.  Natural burials are motivated by the desire to be environmentally conscience, although natural burials can be performed at any type of cemetery, they are usually done in a natural woodland area.  Conventional markings such as headstones are generally replaced with a tree or a bush or a placement of a natural rock. 

Burial FAQ

What is opening and closing and why is it so expensive?
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. 

Can we dig our own grave to avoid the charge for opening and closing?
The actual opening and closing of the grave is just one component of the opening and closing fee.  Due to safety issues which arise around the use of machinery on cemetery property and the protection of other gravesites, the actual opening and closing of the grave is conducted by cemetery grounds personnel only.

Why is having a place to visit so important?
To remember and to be remembered are natural human needs.  A permanent memorial in a cemetery provides a focal point for remembrance and memorializing the deceased.  Throughout human history, memorialization of the dead has been a key component of almost every culture.  Psychologists say that remembrance practices, from the funeral or memorial service to permanent memorialization, serve an important emotional function for survivors by helping them bring closure and allowing the healing process to begin.  Providing a permanent resting place for the deceased is a dignified treatment for a loved one’s mortal remains, which fulfills the natural human desire for memorialization.

What happens when a cemetery runs out of land?
When a cemetery runs out of land, it will continue to operate and serve the community.

In a hundred years will this cemetery still be there?
We think of cemetery lands as being in perpetuity.  There are cemeteries throughout the world that have been in existence for hundreds of years.

How soon after or how long after a death must an individual be buried?
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.  

Must I purchase a grave liner?
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. 

To learn more about Jewish law in death, please contact us so we can point you in the right direction.