Jewish tradition provides us with specific ways to allow us to ease back into society after the loss of a loved one.
- Caring for the deceased is a part of the mourner’s responsibility, this period is know as aninut - making certain that the body is respectfully prepared for burial
- Shiva is the first stage of the mourning process and is observed for 7 days
- Shloshim refers to the 30 days after burial
- Avelut is the final stage and is only observed for a parent
Unveiling of the Tombstone
Unveiling or “Hakamat Mateivah – raising of the stone” can take place anytime after shiva ends and up to one year after the death of a loved one. Close family members and friends are invited to the gravesite and a cloth that covers the stone is removed. The short ceremony includes Psalms and even a few people will share their thoughts about the deceased. A stone is a symbol of eternity. The Hebrew word “Tzur” or stone is sometimes referred to for God, reminding people that God is our rock, strength or support during our times of sadness.
Visiting the Gravesite
After the unveiling anyone can visit the grave at any time, but there are certain days where one should visit:
- After ending the restrictions of shiva
- Shloshim, the 30th day of mourning
- At the end of the 1st year
- Yartzeit, the anniversary of the death, each year
- the day before Rosh Hashana
- the day before Yom Kippur