How to Plan a Jewish Funeral with Cremation

How to Plan a Jewish Funeral with Cremation 

While cremation remains an evocative subject within the Jewish faith, more and more people are choosing this way to celebrate the end of their life. With the growing acceptance of the practice and more and more Jewish graveyards allowing ashes to be buried, it’s something that many Jews are keen to explore.

Planning a Jewish funeral with cremation that satisfies the many traditions and rituals is absolutely possible to do—and it needn’t be any more complex than planning a regular burial service.

Jewish Cremation Planning: a simple guide

  • An overview of a Jewish funeral with cremation
  • The 1, 2, 3 of Jewish cremation planning

An overview of a Jewish funeral with cremation

A Jewish cremation will typically follow all the traditional rituals of a regular burial. The only difference will be that, at the end, there'll be no procession to the graveside. Instead, the coffin will remain in the funeral home (or synagogue) for the cremation process to be carried out.

Many Jewish graveyards now allow ashes to be buried. If the deceased has expressed a wish to return home to Israel, there are far fewer logistical challenges to transporting ashes, rather than a body in a coffin.

The end-of-life traditions, such as the mourning period, the Taharah ritual, and Shmirah will all take place. The post-burial rituals may also be performed, including the meal of condolence (s’udat havra’ah) after the service and the seven days of mourning. Shloshim also takes place (the next 30 days), as does the first-year tradition of reciting the Kaddish daily.

The 1, 2, 3 of Jewish cremation planning

There are three key elements to planning a Jewish cremation. These are:

  • The decision to have a cremation: This will most likely be driven by the wishes of the deceased. Many people will have expressed this to loved ones before they pass. 
  • Getting the go-ahead from your Rabbi: There is still a lot of opposition to the practice of cremation. However, while some Rabbis will be against it, many will officiate at a cremation service.
  • Selecting the final resting place: There are now many Jewish cemeteries that will bury ashes, even if they won’t allow them to be interred. There is nothing in Jewish law to prevent this being done. However, you may have to have the ashes placed into a coffin to do so.

The easiest way to navigate what is still a complex subject is to partner with a service that specializes in Jewish cremation. Despite the increase in the practice within the Jewish faith, it can still be difficult for families to find impartial advice—this is most likely to be the case within the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reconstructionist denominations.

Within the Reform sect, cremation is, while perhaps not wholly accepted by everyone, far more openly practiced. Indeed, most Rabbis are likely to agree to preside over such a ceremony and may even help you with the planning process. 

Get the Best Jewish Cremation Planning Advice from the Jewish Cremation Society

The first step is to get the right advice from an expert and impartial service. The Jewish Cremation Society covers the whole of the US and is the go-to source for everything surrounding Jewish cremation planning

Whether you’re exploring options for your own end-of-life ceremony or need help with planning following the death of a loved one, our discreet service is the go-to place to answer all your questions and to be put in touch with local providers who’ll walk you through the complete planning process.

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