I Learned Today…

I went to my first Jewish Funeral untitledtoday… I had no idea what to expect

I have found the we, as people who know nothing of another’s heritage…background…customs…habits…or state/country… can have very contrived thoughts u17133365concerning these matters…

What we have perceived as ideas in our minds are nothing like the real thing

I expected a long service… Actually it was about 20 minutes

I went because it was a very good friend‘s Father k9654546that had passed after battling cancer and a stroke…

If I met her Dad…it was many years ago…and only one time…The same with her Mother…

I knew they were good peopleloving peoplefamily oriented k1543574…because that was the way their daughter is…

I felt the love…the fun…the happiness…the pride cof0368…as she talked about them at times…

My friend knows no boundaries in picking friends… She accepts them as they are k6972014… and treats them with dignity… care… and love…

At least that is how I have felt all of the 25+ years I have been her friend nri0123

I found the funeral home… Walking in… I could see lots of people who had come to show their respects…mingling…talking quietly…and sitting around…

I wondered if I should have bought flowers??? k10039601

Should I have made a dish of food???k8245658

Should I have worn a dress instead of slacks???

Yes, I had a few questions running through my mind…cof1923

I knew my friend would just like seeing me and others there… and needed nothing else… Just that we let her know we cared… was all she wanted…

Her thoughts were her Mom… her daughter… her brother…and others that had come to be by their side at this sad time

There are a few things I noticed that were different

We sign a book to show our attendance… Whereas a basket with small cards k2852738that you signed… sat on a table…

We are quite boisterous at times… greeting people… talking a lot… reminiscing about the person that has passed… Whereas that could have been happening… but, it was so much quieter… and a little more solemn

We have a room full of food and drinks… where people sit and chit-chat… and have a full day of this before the actual funeral service the next day…

Whereas there were two hours of visitation and then the funeral service… all within about a 3-hour period…

There is an abundance of flowers at our services…surrounding the casket of the deceased…

Whereas no flowers are wanted… Maybe one simple arrangement ats0025 in the area… but, not to resemble other faith’s ceremonies…

I noticed the casket was a beautiful wood… simple, dignified… so lovely…

I looked around and noticed some of the traditional Jewish men wearing a Kippah (Kipa)… a flat disk-shaped black hat 800px-Black_Kippah… worn during prayer

The Rabbi (Cantor) was at a podium as we do k5153468… addressing the people who are attending… Reading from the Psalms k7889174Saying a prayer in Hebrew u13897531… and then also in English… Quite lovely in a singing voice

The Rabbi honored my friend’s father in a eulogy as we do… Expressing his character… his sincerity…his love for his family k9616981 … his love of his faith… A beautiful testimony to a man who lived for his family, friends and hs chosen Faith…

Evidently my friend’s father had been well-respected… loved… and was a true asset to his community…

The Menorah k7825287 was lit with a single candle… called the Shamashwhich is used to light the other candles during Hanukkah

My friend’s father had expressed that he was going to miss Hanukkah with his family … an important event he loved… so the Rabbi did this to fulfill his wish of celebrating Hanukkah with his family

I especially was touched by this gesture…

I passed on the trip to the cemetery which I feel is such a personal thing for immediate family k9199780… But, I have read that Mitzvah is performed… placing a handful of dirt or using a shovel to place a small amount of dirt x26741846 into the grave… and the ancient words of consolation are said…

“Ha-Makom yerahem etkhem b’ tokh sha ar aveilei Tzion u Yerushalayim“…

“May the omnipresent comfort you among all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem

The family and friends then go the home of the family for Shiva… There… visitors are received… a light lunch of simple foods k0020984 … and traditionally they will be in mourning for 7 days…

I have really enjoyed learning the customs of my friend and her family… Traditions x18626449… are such a part of all cultures… and I was glad to be there and partake today… I send them my condolences as well… God Bless!

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9 thoughts on “I Learned Today…

  1. Dearest Marilyn,

    I’m so touched by your Blog and everything that you wrote about today. Your kind words and warm thoughts will be forever etched in my mind. My Dad would have been so proud about all the kindness and out pour of love that surrounded him. The lighting of the Menorah is something that is never done at a funeral service, but the Rabbi surprised us all and lit it as a final tribute to my father. I can’t thank you enough for being there for me and now reading this makes me understand the true “Meaning of Friendship.” Love and Friendship are unconditional and I’m so blessed to have you in my life and call you my friend. Know that I love you and I strongly feel that G-d brought us together in life for a reason. May you know that the love and story that you wrote about today has lifted my heart and I’m so very grateful!

    My loving thoughts & friendship always,
    Andrea

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