Star-of-David-Blog-Post-Imagery-2

What Happens When a Death Occurs Far From Home?

Star-of-David-Blog-Post-Imagery-2

Death, by nature, can be unpredictable. Sometimes, we cannot prepare for when or where it occurs. 

Having to process the passing of a loved one is never easy, but when a death occurs away from home, it can be even more confusing and stressful for the loved ones left behind. 

On top of shock and grief, family members become tasked with coordinating how to return their loved one home and making funeral arrangements. Here is a general overview of what to expect when a death occurs away from home.

Whom should you contact when a death occurs Far away from home?

The first thing you will need to do is contact the local authorities where the death occurred. They will be able to help you with the initial steps and paperwork. 

Next, if the decedent made pre-planned arrangements or you have previous experience with us, connect with our funeral directors to advise our team of the situation. 

Where will the Deceased go during planning?

We have reciprocal agreements with funeral homes around the United States. We only entrust the care of your loved one to a funeral home that will represent Star of David in a dignified, caring, and professional manner. 

Upon direction from us, the funeral directors will transfer the deceased from the place of death to their funeral home. They will then file all necessary paperwork to secure the official transfer permit. Once this has occurred, they will place the deceased in an airline-approved transfer case and then transport your loved one to the nearest airport. 

The US Bureau of Consular Affairs will assist family members if the death occurs abroad. This assistance includes obtaining a death certificate and providing information about how to make arrangements to return the remains and the deceased’s personal effects to the United States. 

How will the deceased get to where they need to be?

The body will require transportation to where the funeral or burial will occur. There are a few different options to carry this out. You can transport via a commercial airline or use a specialized shipping company. The cost and time involved will vary depending on which option you choose.

 

Our representative will arrange to have the deceased placed on a flight based on your selection and flown to a New York airport. A Star of David Memorial Chapels team member will be awaiting the flight’s arrival and will transfer the deceased to our funeral home. 

What happens upon arrival at the designated location?

Once the deceased arrives, all preparations and arrangements regarding the funeral service move forward.

We are here to help!

If you have any questions or concerns should this occur, do not hesitate to reach out for help. At Star of David Memorial Chapels on Long Island, New York, we are here to guide you through this difficult time and will make sure everything is taken care of for you. Please get in touch with us at 631-454-9600.

How Do You Choose the Right Jewish Funeral Home?

How Do You Choose the Right Jewish Funeral Home?

How Do You Choose the Right Jewish Funeral Home?

When pre-planning or arranging a funeral at the time of necessity, one of the first questions you may ask is, “How do you choose the right Jewish funeral home?” When making this decision, there are many things to consider, and it is essential to take your time to find the right fit for your needs.

Suppose you do not have a prior relationship with funeral directors. In that case, you should first ask for recommendations from friends or family members who have recently experienced a death. This can be a great way to start your search, and you may even find a funeral home that you were unaware of.

Once you have a list of potential Jewish funeral homes, you should take some time to research each one. You can start by looking online for reviews or call the Better Business Bureau to see if complaints have been filed. 

If you plan to visit any funeral homes, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

First, be sure to schedule an appointment so that you can tour the facility and meet with the staff. This will give you a chance to ask any questions you may have and get a feel for the atmosphere of the funeral home.

The most important thing to consider when choosing a funeral home is whether or not the staff will be able to provide you with the level of service you need during this difficult time. You should also make sure that the funeral home is located in a convenient location and that it has a good reputation.

It would help if you also asked about pricing. The cost of a funeral can vary widely, so it is vital to confirm that it fits within your budget.

Finally, be sure to ask about the funeral home’s policies on things like preparation for burial, memorial services, cremation services, and adherence to Jewish traditions. You will want to be sure that you are comfortable with how the funeral home handles these arrangements before making any final decisions.

Taking the time to choose the right funeral home can help ensure that your loved one’s final arrangements are handled in the way that you want them to be. By following these tips, you can be sure to find a funeral home that will meet all of your needs and give you peace of mind during this difficult time.

Our funeral directors at Star of David Memorial Chapels on Long Island, New York, are here for you to discuss your plans for funeral arrangements. We invite comparison and trust that our true value becomes evident after meeting with us. Please get in touch with us at 631-454-9600.

How to Deal with Difficult Family Members When Arranging a Funeral

How to Deal with Difficult Family Members When Arranging a Funeral

How to Deal with Difficult Family Members When Arranging a Funeral

No one likes to think about death, but it’s an inevitable part of life. And when death does occur, it often falls on the shoulders of family members to make funeral arrangements. This can be a distressing and emotional time, made even more challenging if you have difficult family members.

The one thing that generally cannot be disputed is the day of the funeral since it is scheduled just after the date of the death. However, in the absence of any hard-fast funeral rule, everything from selecting a funeral home and the cost of a funeral, to choosing between funeral caskets can be a source of contention.

If you find yourself in this situation, here are a few tips on how to deal with difficult family members when arranging a funeral:

1. Keep communication open.

This is important for any situation, but especially when emotions are running high. Try to avoid arguments by maintaining an open line of communication. This doesn’t mean you have to agree on everything, but it will help to keep the peace.

2. Be respectful.

Even if family members are being difficult, it’s important to be respectful. This can be a painful time for everyone involved, so try to show understanding and patience.

3. Make sure everyone is on the same page.

Everyone must be on the same page when it comes to funeral arrangements. This can help to avoid any misunderstandings or disagreements. To do this, you may need to have a family meeting to go over all of the details.

4. Be firm.

If there are certain things you feel strongly about, don’t be afraid to stand your ground. After all, this is your loved one’s funeral and you should have a say in how it’s handled.

5. Seek outside help.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to seek outside assistance. Sometimes it’s helpful to have an impartial third party to help facilitate communication and resolve conflicts.

Coping with Grief, Not Grievances

Unfortunately, these situations are quite common. Hence the reason why funeral pre-planning is often recommended; the decedent’s final wishes are carried out on their terms and their kin will not have to make decisions concerning funeral services.

The most important thing to remember is that during this time, your focus should be to celebrate the life of your loved one. Our funeral directors at Star of David Memorial Chapels on Long Island, New York, have experienced funeral planning discrepancies between family members and can work with all involved to agree on how to say your final goodbyes. Please get in touch with us at 631-454-9600.

What is the Chevra Kadisha?

What is the Chevra Kadisha?

What is the Chevra Kadisha?

The Chevra Kadisha is a Jewish funeral services organization that works with Jewish funeral homes to prepare the bodies of the deceased for burial. It is often requested to have certain services such as the Tahara or Shmira handled by this group since many families consider it an honor to have their loved ones’ bodies cared for by the Chevra Kadisha.

History of the Chevra Kadisha

Typically, the Chevra Kadisha, which translates to “holy society,” is composed of volunteers who care for the deceased’s body until the funeral service. This tradition dates back to ancient times, when Jews were persecuted and not allowed to have their own cemeteries.

At that time, the Chevra Kadisha would watch over the bodies until internment in a proper cemetery. The group’s goal was to ensure that the bodies of the deceased were treated with respect and that proper funeral rites were observed, even in the face of danger and persecution.

What the Chevra Kadisha Does

The Chevra Kadisha’s mission is to see that preparation is in accordance with Jewish tradition. They manage the ceremonial washing known as “Tahara.” At the funeral director’s request, they will dispatch a team of men or women, depending upon the gender of the decedent, to the chapel where they bathe the decedent in a mikvah, reciting psalms and prayers to elevate the soul.

Additionally, while making funeral arrangements for a loved one, many families will ask for a “watcher” without really knowing the reason behind having one. Many years ago, a watcher was assigned to “watch” a body just in case the person was not actually dead, as the tests for death were not as certain as they are today. There was also the risk of the body being stolen for medical study by anatomists.

Neither of these reasons applies today, yet a watcher may still be requested by an uninformed family that is not observant. Having a “watcher” or “shomer” is rooted in the belief that upon the death of a Jewish person, the soul will separate from the body that housed it. As it cannot ascend to heaven until the burial of the body, the interval that it is hovering is a turbulent time, and the soul needs comforting. A “shomer” performing “shmira” keeps vigil, reciting psalms and prayers that help elevate the soul and prepare it for ascension to heaven, for judgment.

Overall, the Chevra Kadisha is a vital part of the Jewish community and provides additional services to the faith other than preparation for burial. The group also helps care for the deceased’s loved ones in their time of need. Those seeking solace can access a list of grief-related resources and educational materials on the National Association of Chevra Kadisha website.

Why Jewish Individuals Choose the Chevra Kadisha

Where more reform families are less likely to choose this Tahara washing, those who are very observant will insist upon it. The reason they do is the belief that the soul, upon death, will ascend to heaven to be judged. This judgment is impacted favorably by having been prepared in accordance with Jewish tradition. The soul is not only judged; it is also acting as an “ambassador” for those left behind. The more favorable the judgment, the better things will go for the family and friends of the decedent.

In many instances, when reform families learn the meaning behind these beliefs, they choose to have Tahara performed.

Working with the Chevra Kadisha

Star of David Memorial Chapels on Long Island, New York, can work with the Chevra Kadisha if their services are requested when determining the specifics of the funeral. If a family wants to follow true Jewish tradition, we will contact the Chevra Kadisha to perform the Shmira or the Tahara in our mikvah, located in our preparation room. Please get in touch with us at 631-454-9600.

Funerals and Mourning During Purim

Funerals and Mourning During Purim

Funerals and Mourning During Purim


It’s a time for celebration, but what happens with funerals and mourning during Purim? Purim, according to Jewish tradition, is a joyous holiday where it is customary to dress up in costume, eat hamantaschen, and give charity. However, when a Jewish person dies just before or during Purim, these rituals are not always followed by mourners.


While family members may choose to celebrate the holiday in some manner, it is still important to incorporate the traditional customs associated with death and mourning. By observing these customs, we remember the person who has died and celebrate their life. If there is any confusion, a Rabbi can provide specific guidance to those experiencing loss at the time.


One thing to make note of, is that there are many nuances and opinions pertaining to this topic. So, there is no true right or wrong concerning observance.


Funerals During Purim

Generally, if an individual dies just before or during Purim, the funeral will still occur as it normally would to satisfy the tradition that burial takes place as soon as possible after the death. There is much disparity surrounding the timing of the burial as it relates to Purim. It is said, that the body may not be buried until after the evening services on Purim. It is also said that eulogies are forbidden. Given that these are both open to interpretation, it will mainly be shiva affected by the holiday.


Shiva During Purim

Mourners typically dress in black, wear a torn piece of clothing, sit on stools low to the floor and abstain from wearing shoes made from leather. However, these practices are not observed in public during Purim.


During a regular shiva, it is customary for people to visit the home of the mourners and offer condolences. Those wishing to offer comfort may still do so, but should not bring Mishloach Manot, the traditional Purim gift of food (even on the following Purim if within the first 12 months of mourning). A mourner, however, is still able to send Mishloach Manot but should include simple foods rather than those associated with celebration such as sweets.


Observing Purim

With regards to Purim traditions, it is still appropriate to hear the Megillah (Scroll of Esther). This can be done at home, but if a minyan is not possible, it is permissible for the mourner to attend services at the synagogue. On Purim, it is also customary to gather for a festive meal. While mourners should avoid excessive celebration, they may still participate in the Purim feast but should do so at home.


Ultimately, the customs and rituals associated with death and mourning are personal and should be based on what feels comfortable for the mourners. However, it is important to remember that Purim is a time to celebrate life, not death, and that we should still be surrounded by friends and family during this time.


We are Here for You

Star of David Memorial Chapels on Long Island, New York, is here to provide information and resources to those seeking funeral services and making shiva arrangements. Please get in touch with us at 631-454-9600.

5 Ways to Find Jewish Cemetery Plots for Sale

5 Ways to Find Jewish Cemetery Plots for Sale

5 Ways to Find Jewish Cemetery Plots for Sale

Many people prefer to find Jewish cemetery plots for sale so they can plan ahead. Funeral pre-planning, which includes the direction for burial, alleviates stress and hastily made decisions associated with death. When planning, it is common to establish a family plot for multiple family members, which is why space may be limited and in high demand.

Depending on your situation, you may need to secure cemetery spots for yourself and future generations. Long Island is home to dozens of Jewish cemeteries, so if you are interested in finding cemetery plots for sale, all of the options below could be helpful:

1. Connect with Cemeteries

The first way to find cemetery plots for sale is to contact a cemetery in your area. Ask them if they have any available plots and how much they cost. If you have family buried in the same cemetery, ask about any available locations near theirs.

2. Ask Funeral Homes

It may be a good idea to call a local funeral home to see if they have recommendations for cemeteries with available plots. Many funeral directors have relationships with cemeteries in the area. Therefore, they may be able to point you in the right direction or put you in touch with the best person to speak with.

3. Talk with Friends and Family

Ask friends and family members if they know anyone who is planning to sell their cemetery plot. You may be able to make arrangements with someone you know, which will make transfer and payment much easier for everyone involved (and possibly more affordable). It also means there is a chance for burial alongside family members.

4. Reach Out to Local Synagogues

Finally, reach out to Synagogues in your area. Some offer burial plots for sale that were purchased by the Synagogue directly. They may also be aware of members of the congregation that are planning to sell their plots.

5. Check Online

Check online for cemetery plots for sale in or around your area. Plot owners look to sell undesired sites for various reasons, such as a change in marital status and relocation. There are cemetery plot listing services that will list the cemetery, general location, plot price (and any additional fees), photos of the site, details on internment services offered, and contact information for the seller of the property.

We Can Help with Questions About Long Island Cemetery Plots

Star of David Memorial Chapels on Long Island, New York, can provide guidance, information, and resources to those making arrangements for burial plots. Our Jewish funeral home is conveniently adjacent to Long Island’s major Jewish cemeteries! Please get in touch with us at 631-454-9600.

Hospice Care

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice Care – it’s a term you have likely heard, but you may be unsure of what it is, who it helps, and what it does. Hospice Care is for those who are nearing the end of a terminal illness that cannot be healed. The goal is to make them as comfortable as possible during their final days. Here is a basic overview of Hospice:

When is Hospice Recommended?

A primary care physician will generally recommend and provide a referral for Hospice Care when an individual has less than 6 months to live, has declined treatments to extend their life, or when their quality of life is in rapid decline.

Where Does Hospice Occur?

Hospice care typically occurs at home. However, it can also be carried out in hospitals, long-term care facilities, or at designated hospice centers.

What Does Hospice Do for Its Patients?

A team will create a plan for the person in its care and for their family members. The goal is to ease pain and relieve symptoms of illness.

Any requisite medical equipment will be provided. Regular check-ups from doctors or nurses will be carried out and aides can assist with personal care. A team member will be available for contact 24 hours a day.

How Does Hospice Help Family Members?

The loved ones of those in hospice care will be kept up-to-date with the individual’s status and be informed about what to anticipate as death nears. Hospice in the home is often chosen by the patient because it is comforting. Additionally, friends and family can visit and spend time easily. This affords families to make the most of their time together.

Aside from the care the patient receives, Hospice offers counseling and spiritual guidance that will help to prepare the family for the patient’s death. This helps to make the Hospice period and grief after the loss, less overwhelming and complicated.

Given that death is on the horizon, families may wish to prepare for the funeral ahead of time. Hospice can provide a family with sufficient time to talk about their loved one’s end-of-life wishes with him or her. Starting funeral planning ahead of death can help to mitigate the stress of arranging a burial while simultaneously struggling with loss.

Saying Goodbye is Never Easy, Even if You Have Time to Prepare

Knowing that a loved one’s time is limited, doesn’t necessarily make their passing any easier when the time does come. We will never truly be ready to say goodbye.

At Star of David Memorial Chapels on Long Island, New York, we are here to answer any questions you may have about Jewish funeral services and planning. Please get in touch with us at 631-454-9600.

Navigating New Years After the Loss of a Loved One

Navigating New Years After the Loss of a Loved One

 

The new year is traditionally a time of celebration and a time to reflect on the past year and look forward to all that the coming year has in store. However, the new year may be anything but celebratory for those who have recently lost a loved one. Whether death occurred just before the holiday or because this will be the first new years without a loved one you usually celebrate with, there are ways to overcome grief and move forward into the new calendar year.

 

Below are some tips and resources to help navigate New Year’s Eve and Day:

 

  1.  Be open about your emotions, and don’t be afraid to express when you need privacy.

The death of a loved one is a heavy burden. Although you may feel awkward about sharing your emotions or asking for help since others may be busy due to the holiday, do not be afraid to reach out. On the contrary, it is okay to let people know when you feel uncomfortable sharing how you feel.

 

  1.  Don’t feel guilty if you aren’t up to participating in holiday festivities.

The loss of a loved one can be incredibly isolating, and it is often difficult to feel up to participating in holiday festivities. Don’t feel guilty if you need to decline invitations.

 

  1.  Create new traditions that celebrate the life of your loved one.

One way to navigate the holiday after loss is to create new traditions and rituals. These can even incorporate the memory of your loved one. Schedule a dinner with friends or plan a trip. The restaurant or travel destination can be one of your loved one’s favorites.

 

  1.  Don’t compare yourself to others.

Grief is a unique experience, and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Don’t compare yourself to others who seem to be coping better than you.

 

  1.   Seek professional help if you are struggling to cope.

If the death of your loved one has left you struggling to cope, it might be helpful to seek assistance from a professional. There is no shame in admitting that you need help, and there are many resources available.

 

During the Holidays and Year-Round, We’re Here if You Need Help:

 

Coping with the death of a loved one can be difficult, but it is possible to find ways to manage grief and joyfully ring in the new year.

At Star of David Memorial Chapels on Long Island, New York, our funeral directors are here to answer any questions you may have about funeral services and Jewish mourning. Please get in touch with us at 631-454-9600.

 

The Best Foods to Bring to a Shiva

The Best Foods to Bring to a Shiva

In Judaism, when a loved one has passed away, the family traditionally partakes in a seven-day period of mourning called shiva. If you have ever sat shiva after the death of a family member or paid a shiva call, you may have noticed that there is always an abundance of food.

The most common foods at a shiva are deli sandwiches, bagels, side dishes like pasta salad, loads of baked goods, and fruit platters. The presence of food serves to provide guests with something to eat, as they are likely attending during mealtime and so that the mourners do not have to cook or shop for food to feed themselves during this emotional time.

Before planning to bring food to a shiva, please consider the following. Mourners may have specific dietary needs, allergies, kosher guidelines, or other food restrictions. Check with the family or the person coordinating the shiva to determine what foods work best for the shiva home. You can plan accordingly once you have this information.

 

Here are Some of the Best Foods to Bring to a Shiva:

 

  1. Assorted Finger Foods or Vegetable Trays

Think Jewish comfort foods like potato knishes, pastry puffs, or anything easy to prepare and serve.

  1. Bagels                                                                                                                                                                                                

Bagels are a classic, and they are also circular, symbolizing the cycle of life. Be sure to choose an assortment so that there is a variety to choose from. Include with the bagels, spreads like cream cheese, and side salads like egg and tuna salad.

  1. Soup

Soup warms the heart. Soup is a quick, easy way to keep a person’s energy level up without requiring a ton of preparation. Many find comfort in chicken noodle or matzo ball soup. A little-known fact is that Lentil soup was Jacob’s food for Isaac when he mourned his father’s death.

  1. Salad

Salad is a lighter, healthy option, and there are many different types of salads. Place salad dressing on the side to prevent lettuce from wilting, giving it longevity.

  1. Coffee and Dessert

Sitting shiva can be exhausting, so it is never a bad idea to consider products with sugar and caffeine. Fresh fruit platters, baked goods, coffee, and tea, are always appreciated.

 

A Helping Hand is Most Important

 

Those experiencing grief will be thankful to know that they are being supported. Bringing food to those sitting shiva is a nice gesture to show how much you care.

At Star of David Memorial Chapels on Long Island, New York, we are here to answer any questions you may have about Jewish funeral services and regarding shiva. Please get in touch with us at 631-454-9600. 

money one dollar bills and wallet on table

Understanding a Funeral Bill

Become An Expert on Funeral Costs – What the Funeral Will Actually Cost You

money one dollar bills and wallet on table

Understanding Costs

Understanding a funeral bill is a challenge for most consumers as a myriad of government regulations have complicated things.  Additionally, most people faced with making funeral arrangements are doing so for the first time. It’s pretty easy to get confused. We’ll try to simplify things here to help you become informed consumers so you can make good decisions. The more informed you are, the more likely you are to choose Star of David Memorial Chapel to help you.

The total cost of a funeral will ultimately be determined by the funeral service provider you choose and the specific merchandise you select. Once these choices are made, the total cost of the funeral can be determined.

The actual funeral bill is broken up in two parts. Part one includes the funeral goods and services provided by the funeral home.  Your choice of funeral service provider and the decisions you make regarding items like the casket, whether you need limousines, etc. will ultimately determine this part of the cost of the funeral.

Part two includes items considered “cash advance” or “third-party charges.” These are services provided by others that a funeral home will obtain and coordinate for you. They are not part of the funeral home’s bill but nonetheless must be accounted for and factored in when calculating the total cost of the funeral.

First we’ll explain the funeral goods and services part and then we will explore these third-party charges.

Funeral Goods and Services

The funeral goods and services (the first part of the funeral bill) that are typically included in a graveside service are:

  • Transferring the deceased to the funeral home
  • Preparation of the deceased
  • Filing of all paperwork and securing of all necessary permits
  • Scheduling the service for the day and time desired by the family
  • Taking the deceased by hearse to the cemetery
  • Supervising the service
  • Providing all of the religious articles necessary for the service
  • The casket

Additional goods and services you may wish to consider include:

  • Limousine
  • Shroud
  • Newspaper notice

The funeral service provider you choose along with the specific goods and services you select will determine this portion of the bill.

Cash Advances
Cash advances for a graveside service will typically include the following:

Cemetery charges to open and close the grave. Depending upon the cemetery, these range anywhere from $1000 to $1850 (and possibly more with overtime)

Clergy – if you don’t have your own we will arrange for one. An expected honorarium for a Rabbi is $600

Death Certificates – depending on the particular county where the deceased has been pronounced, each certificate will cost between $10 and $20.

Gratuities (which we distribute on your behalf), are usually around $75

Additional cash advance items, if requested can include a tahara, shomer, and airfare if the deceased needs to be flown from another state.

Important! – Because there are no mark-ups on cash advance items, those costs will not vary from funeral home to funeral home. For example, a cemetery grave opening charge will not vary no matter which funeral home or service you select. The same goes for the other cash advance items. What will vary from funeral home to funeral home are the charges for funeral goods and services.

View Our Prices for more information