Jewish Mourning

Jewish mourning includes several different stages of expressing grief.

The Mourning Schedule

Day 1:

Aninut – this is the period of time between the occurrence of the death and the burial during which all the mourners are exempt from positive commandments. Because the burial usually occurs on day two, that is when aninut typically concludes.

Day 2 – 8:

Mourning begins after the burial with a period of sitting Shiva at the home of the closest family member. The family member receives guests throughout the week who come to pay their respects. Shiva lasts for seven days.

Day 9 – 31:

Shloshim begins at the conclusion of Shiva and ends on the thirtieth day following burial. Mourner continue humble behavior shown during Shiva by avoiding shaving, cutting hair or enjoying music.

Day 32 – 365:

Avelut is a mourning period practiced when a parent passes. The mourners avoid all types of festivities during this eleven-month period. The deceased’s son will recite the Kaddish daily.

Day 365:

One year from the date of death, the deceased is honored for a full day. This tradition is called Yahrzeit. This tradition is repeated yearly.

Until one year has passed, the grave is traditionally left unmarked with a tombstone. When the stone is placed at the grave, family member meet again to participate in the “unveiling.”

The Rituals

Upon learning of the deceased’s passing, the mourners rip their clothing or wear a piece of shredded black cloth, also known as a keriyah, to their chests. The prayer at this time acknowledges that G_d has taken the family member.

The expression of grief diminishes over time as the mourner progresses from one mourning period to the next. Following the one year period, close relatives may continue to recite the mourner’s prayer at synagogue on certain high holidays.

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