Our condolences on your loss.  We are here to help.  Please contact our office at 607-723-7461 for information and to reach our rabbi.

Preparing for the funeral:

Our rabbi can be contacted any time: 607-723-7461

We are able to work with all funeral homes.  Please have them contact us.

Our Chevra Kaddisha volunteers will prepare your loved one’s body according to the traditions of tahara, cleansing with water and saying prayers.

Our Mitzvah Corps stands ready to help synagogue members and their families with a meal of condolence following the interment.  This is traditionally a modest meal of bagels, cheese and eggs for 20, prepared in the mourner’s home.  To connect with our mitzvah corp volunteers, please speak with the rabbi.  This volunteers service is supported by individual donations.  A suggested donation of $100 enables our miztvah corp to continue to provide meals for families in our community.

Saying Kaddish:

Temple Israel holds evening services every Tuesday and Friday at 5:30pm and on Saturdays and Jewish holidays at 9:30am.  Additional weekday evening services will be scheduled upon request.  All are welcome.

For video of Mourner’s Kaddish, click on

Information for those in mourning:


Shiva—the seven-day period following the funeral
Shiva is a time set aside for Judaism for people to mourn the loss of a loved one.  The emphasis is on the community making your lives easier and you should not worry about any lists of things “to do”.  Do whatever feels comfortable for you at this difficult time.  However, if you are interested in traditional rituals the lists below may be helpful to you.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the rabbi at any time.

Mourners  traditionally “sit shiva” for seven days, sometimes three days is appropriate.

The seven-day shiva candle provided by the funeral home is lit upon returning home from the funeral.  No blessing is needed.

Immediately following the funeral it is traditional for friends to go to the family home for the “meal of condolence.”   There are no requirements, rather the ritual is to provide the family a chance to eat.

A pitcher and basin for ritual hand washing are provided outside the door of the home.

This is the period of most intense mourning.  Mourners are to focus on the work of grief.  Traditionally mourners do not concern themselves with physical adornment or personal comfort.  Mirrors are covered.   Men do not shave and women do not wear makeup or jewelry or have their hair done.  Bathing is done for cleanliness only.

Mourners do not go to work, engage in social activities, or even do everyday tasks such as paying bills and cleaning the house.  The community cares for mourners during this time.

The day of the funeral counts as the first day of shiva. A minyan is provided in our community in the house of mourning if requested so that mourners can say Kaddish daily during this period without leaving home.

Visiting a house of mourning is an important mitzvah. Traditionally mourners do not rise to greet visitors or thank them for coming.  Visitors should follow the lead of mourners to see whether they wish conversation or silence.   Sharing fond memories of the deceased is an appropriate topic of conversation.

On Shabbat, mourners go to synagogue and say Kaddish there. Shabbat counts as a full day of shiva, but public mourning is not observed in keeping with the commandments to celebrate the joy of ShabbatAvelim (mourners) do not take an aliyah during shiva.

On the morning of the seventh day, the shiva period ends.  The mourner may go outside for a walk as a way of symbolically rejoining the world after the period of intense mourning.  In our community some people observe shiva for a shorter period.

Shloshim—the 30-day period of less intense mourning:

Mourners return to work and normal responsibilities during this period.

Mourners continue to say Kaddish.

Mourners do not usually visit me cemetery during this time.

Frivolity is still avoided, for example, not going to parties, concerts, or sporting events.

Graveside visitation may be used to mark the end of shloshim.


Shanah—a year’s time:

Only children (who have attained bar/bat mitzvah age) continue to recite Kaddish during the rest of the first year (normally eleven months, but according to local custom).

Mourners may continue to avoid purely social events, according to how they feel.

Positive commandments for the year of mourning include prayer, study, and tzedakah.

Yizkor, the memorial prayer, occurs during services four times during every year—at Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Pesach, andShavuotYahrzeit candles may be kindled on the evening before yizkor.

American Jews often practice a ceremony of unveiling the headstone within the month before the first anniversary of a death. Jewish gravestones are typically simple.

Yahrzeit (year’s time) is observed on the anniversary of the death of a loved one. Traditionally the date in the Hebrew calendar is used, but the secular date may be used, instead. A memorial candle is lit at home which burns for 24 hours. The public yahrzeit observance consists of reciting the mourner’s Kaddish with a minyan.

Tzedakah—righteous giving, is traditional on the anniversary of the death of a loved one.

Traditionally, at the end of the first year, the family erects a monument over the grave. The timing is flexible and some choose to put up a headstone in a shorten or longer time period, often taking into account the weather and family availability. The unveiling is a short service that consists of a few psalms and prayers and memories and stories from family and friends.  Contact our rabbi if you would like to set a time for the unveiling. For help in purchasing the monument, please contact our Temple Israel office. 
There are many monuments companies that will be happy to help you in creating a headstone for your loved one.

Temple Israel Mitzvah Corps and  Yartzeit Plaque:

After the first 30 days, it is appropriate to make donations in your loved one’s honor.   Often families make a donation to the rabbi’s discretionary fund and to the mitzvah corps who make the meal of condolence after the funeral.  An additional way to honor the memory of your loved one is with a yartzeit (memorial) plaque in our sanctuary.  A light will be lit next to this memorial every year on the yartzeit and your loved one’s memory will be a part of our synagogue in perpetuity.  Please contact the synagogue office if you would like to participate in this mitzvah.

Aditional Resources:

Books on Grieving:

Prayers by Rabbi Naomi Levy for Grief, from her book  “Talking to God”.  Click here.

Rabbi Naomi Levy, To Begin Again; the Journey toward Comfort, Strength, and Faith in difficult times.

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