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Jewish Funeral Service Traditions and Etiquette

Jewish Funeral Service Traditions and Etiquette

A funeral service, regardless of which faith or religion’s traditions it abides by, is always a ceremony of great sentiment, emotion and meaning. If you are attending a Jewish funeral service in the near future, you may have questions as to what the ceremony will entail, the proper etiquette to follow and the traditions that will be observed. We have put together an overview of the traditions and etiquette you would normally experience at a Jewish funeral service, so you are best prepared to pay your respects at the Jewish funeral of a friend or family member.

A few words on life and death according to the Jewish religion

It is believed that while there is a right way to live as a Jew, the same goes for death, in that there is a right way to die and be buried as a Jew. According to the Jewish religion, it is believed that all people are created in the image of God. Jewish people abide by the philosophy that one should embrace life while accepting the eventuality of death. They hold the belief that while there is no one or right view in regard to what will happen in the afterlife, and are free to choose whether to believe in heaven or not, there is a strong focus on doing good deeds during life, so as to live in the image of God According to Jewish tradition, it is considered a mitzvot (commandment) of profound significance to accompany the decedent to their burial, helping them reach their eternal resting place.

When should a Jewish funeral service take place?

According to the Jewish religion, the burial of the decedent should take place within a day of their passing or the soonest possible date it can be arranged. However, with loved ones coordinating travel plans from all over to attend the funeral, it is accepted and common nowadays for the funeral to take place a few days after the decedent’s passing.

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Catholic Funeral Service Traditions and Etiquette

Catholic Funeral Service Traditions and Etiquette

When you are attending the funeral of a loved one or a friend whose family will be observing the traditions of a particular religion, it is important to understand and be aware of that religion’s traditions and etiquette. In this article, we will be exploring Catholic funeral traditions in depth so you know what to expect and how to follow proper etiquette to best be able to pay your respects to the decedent and their loved ones.

What function does the Catholic funeral service serve?

In the Catholic religion, when someone of the Catholic faith passes away, a Catholic funeral service is held for them. Beyond commemorating and celebrating the life of the deceased person and the meaning they possessed to their loved ones, the funeral service performs an important function. As it is believed in the Catholic faith that the deceased will be given access to Heaven if they are granted forgiveness by God, the funeral service serves as a chance for the decedent’s loved ones to appeal to God to receive his mercy. As such, you will hear various prayers being spoken at a Catholic funeral service, as well as discussion of the deceased now being at home with God that will offer comfort to loved ones in mourning.

Catholic Vigil (Wake)

In the Catholic religion, the family of the deceased traditionally hold a Catholic vigil or wake which takes palce after the passing of their loved one, but prior to the funeral mass and burial, typically held the day or evening before the funeral service. The vigil service may be performed at a Catholic church, the funeral home, or the home of the decedent. An important time to the loved ones of the deceased, the vigil allows family and friends to gather in prayer to offer their condolences to the decedent, and to support the grieving family. There may be readings and reflections to observe the Catholic scripture. Eulogies, singing and even poetry may also be performed during this ceremony.

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15 Condolence Messages for Work Colleagues

15 Condolence Messages for Work Colleagues

What do you say to a colleague when they’ve suffered a loss of a loved one? It can be tricky to navigate this, since the relationship is likely to be mostly professional. We do often get to know our coworkers on a personal level, sometimes even going for an after work drink if not attending holiday parties together. We may know some information about their lives, but not think of these people as close friends. It could feel like more of a fairweather acquaintance. But, we interact with these people on a daily basis and so we want to create a comfortable and supportive environment for them and ourselves. When we’re given the information that a coworker’s family member or friend has passed away, we feel the need to pay our respects yet remain professional. Whether or not the relationship is such that you feel the best thing is to attend the funeral or memorial services, then a message is a great way to show you are thinking of them during this difficult time. Below are examples of 15 condolence messages to send to a coworker. Feel free to take what you read and change it if you need.

15 Condolence Message Examples

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss
  2. Please accept my condolences for your recent loss.
  3. My deepest condolences for the loss of your loved one.
  4. I remember hearing stories of your loved one. I am so sorry for your loss.
  5. I am thinking of you and your family right now. 
  6. My heart goes out to you and your family right now.
  7. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
  8. My condolences as your grieve.
  9. Everyone in the office is here for you for whatever you need.
  10. I am lighting a candle in honor of your dear loved one’s loss. 
  11. Take all the time you need, and let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.
  12. I know this is such a hard time for you, I’m sure the services will be beautiful as you remember his/her life.
  13. I am sending my love to you and your family.
  14. We are all thinking of you and your family.
  15. We send our deepest condolences for your loss. 

When it comes to a coworker’s loss, you can also send a message for the entire office if you choose. The wording can be changed to “we”, as seen above in some examples.

Whomever it is in your life who is going through the death of a loved one, condolence messages are considered standard. They are offered either through email, text, phone call, or an in-person visit. 

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15 Condolence Messages for Friends

15 Condolence Messages for Friends

When your friend loses a loved one, whether it’s a parent, grandparent, child, or other close relation, a natural reaction is to support your friend however you can. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to know how to comfort someone who’s grieving. Even if you have a similar experience, the heartbreak in someone else still can feel inaccessible or impenetrable. One of the best things to remember is that you’re not going to make the pain go away. Your primary purpose is to show your friend how much you love and care for him or her, and that you’re there to give support in whatever way you can. 

If You’re Close to Someone Who’s Grieving

There’s a lot of things you can do if someone you’re really close to loses a loved one. Some actions you can take include bringing food over to your friend’s home, sending flowers or chocolates, or being a shoulder to cry on. What you decide to do depends on your level of comfort and how intimate your relationship is with this person. It might also depend on how much pain this loss is causing. Your friend may just want to be alone. A great way to find out how you can be supportive during a difficult time in your friend’s life, is to ask. “What do you need right now?” or “How can I support you through this?” are great examples for questions you can ask. 

The Purpose of Condolence Messages

If you have an acquaintance, or a friend who you aren’t particularly close with, you can still show consideration for what they’re going through. This is where condolence messages come in and can be a perfect way to get your sentiment across. Condolence messages are of course not limited to people who aren’t as close to someone who is grieving, but if you are in a more involved relationship then understandably you may want to do more. It is simply difficult to know what to say to someone, especially if you haven’t experienced a massive loss or shattering grief. We’ve compiled 15 examples of condolence messages that you can send, whatever your relation may be to the person who has suffered a loss.

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A Guide to Attending Funeral Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic

A Guide to Attending Funeral Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic

With respect to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic we’re living in, times are tragic, traumatic, and tricky. We are left with so many questions about how to console one another, and ourselves. People we love are passing away, friends are losing their loved ones. In addition to people we love dying of COVID-19, we are unsure how to lay to rest our departed and how to appropriately comfort those we love who are mourning. So, let’s take a minute to address the elephant in the room — should we be attending funerals during this pandemic?

Should I Attend a Funeral Service During the Pandemic?

There are two answers to this. First, it depends on your level of comfort being around others or if you prefer to stay at home for safety. Second, and even more importantly, it depends on what the family has decided to do for the funeral arrangements. Families are deciding between a few options for funerals. If the family does decide to hold an in-person service, they may limit the number of people in attendance or keep the gathering to immediate family members. Some might even postpone services until after social distancing guidelines are lifted.
Funeral home staff members have been particularly helpful with providing alternative solutions for funeral arrangements. Some funeral homes are offering virtual services, such as live streams of memorials or other tributes. Others are providing online guest books where friends can leave notes of condolences and other personal anecdotes.
If the family prefers to hold an in-person funeral service, whether you choose to attend in person will depend on your level of comfort. For instance, if you have a family member at home who is immunocompromised, you may not feel comfortable attending the service and potentially increasing you and your loved one’s exposure to the coronavirus. However, if you do feel comfortable with personally attending the memorial to offer your condolences and pay your respects, the funeral home will most likely be observing social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to increase the safety of all those in attendance.

If I Go, Do I Need to Wear a Mask?

Most likely, yes. However, beyond the practice of wearing masks, the most important factor to preserve yours and others’ safety while attending an in-personal funeral service is to engage in social distancing. In adherence to social distancing guidelines, you may be attending an outdoor funeral with seating, six feet apart from one another. You will want to keep distanced from anyone who does not live with you in your household. Make sure to wash your hands often as well. It is an unfortunate and difficult fact of these sensitive circumstances to not be able to show affection as support for your family members and friends, but it’s best for now. You can hug and kiss those in your household who are accompanying you to the service, but otherwise your presence will serve as the best demonstration of love and support you can give.

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