What Should You Wear to a Jewish Funeral?
Jewish funerals are steeped in tradition—and this includes what mourners are expected to wear. Should you wear black or another color? What about flowers? Should you bring a gift?
The following covers many FAQs surrounding Jewish end-of-life services, plus a little insight as to why such practices are so important—even if the ceremony has deviated a little from some of the ancient traditional practices.
What Should You Wear to a Jewish Funeral and Other FAQs?
- The importance of mourners’ dress
- Flowers, gifts, and other traditions
- What if it’s a cremation? What should you wear to this kind of Jewish funeral?
The importance of mourner’s dress
Choosing the correct attire for a Jewish funeral is all about respect. While many people wear black, it’s also OK to wear dark colors. The main considerations of dress are:
- Dress modestly: No clothes should be too revealing. This means not wearing open-toed shoes or short sleeves. Women should refrain from wearing short skirts or revealing tops.
- Traditionally, men should wear a suit with a jacket, tie, and collared shirt: Black, dark grey, or dark blue are suitable colors. They should also cover their head with a yarmulke. However, it’s now often deemed acceptable to wear slacks and a blazer/sports jacket, perhaps without a tie. The overall look should still be respectful and demure.
- Women should wear a dress or skirt: You may wear a head covering if you choose, but this isn’t strictly necessary. Again, acceptable women’s clothing has also evolved over the years, including wearing a bit of color, instead of solid black.
Immediate family members also traditionally wear a black ribbon.
Flowers, gifts, and other traditions
There’s no need to bring or send flowers to a Jewish funeral. However, a gift of food (kosher) or a charitable donation (of the family’s choice) is considered appropriate. This is usually brought or sent to the family house during the seven days following the funeral. Make sure you include a card, so the relatives know who it’s come from.
Other traditions include:
- Getting there with plenty of time to spare—Jewish funerals usually start bang on time.
- Not greeting or talking to the family and mourners before the service.
- Filling in a guest book or condolence card.
- Going to the shiva—the seven days of mourning at the family home. You’ll be advised of appropriate times that this can be done.
What if it’s a cremation? What should you wear to this kind of Jewish funeral?
As cremation increases in popularity and is becoming less taboo within the Jewish community, you may well find that a Jewish end-of-life service culminates in this way. This doesn’t change what is considered appropriate clothing, which remains the same.
Both men and women should dress conservatively in dark or black shades. If you opt for a little color, make sure it’s respectable and not too garish. Men should wear a tie, jacket (or slacks, shirt, and sports coat), and head covering and women should wear a dress or skirt. Of course, as traditions evolve, there may be some deviation from tradition. In such a case, this will clearly be communicated by the family.
In the absence of anything to the contrary, it’s advisable to dress traditionally for any type of Jewish funeral. This is the same for a cremation or a burial.
Get Answers to What Should You Wear to a Jewish Funeral & Other FAQs from the Jewish Cremation Society
Cremation is becoming more widespread as a Jewish end-of-life service. Despite this, it can still be a contentious subject, making it challenging to get impartial information. The Jewish Cremation Society exists to bridge this gap, providing anyone (Jewish or non-Jewish) with the facts in a non-biased and straightforward manner.
Whether you want to know what mourners should wear to a Jewish cremation or have any other questions, we’re the go-to source for all the info you need.