• <h4 class="dechead">On One Hand: Flowers Are Not Usually Acceptable

    Jewish funerals and mourning practices are distinguished by their simplicity. People do not usually send flowers. In addition, embalming and cosmetics on the deceased are prohibited. Jewish funerals usually take place as soon as possible and public or private viewing of the body is not permitted. A seven-day family mourning period, called shivah, begins on the day of burial.

    On the Other: Other Gifts are Appropriate

    There are many alternatives to sending flowers that also demonstrate empathy and thoughtfulness. You can bring food if you are visiting people who are sitting shivah, or you can donate to a tzedakah (any worthy charity organization) in memory of the deceased. Assistance with child care or other household duties might also be helpful.

    Bottom Line

    Although flowers are not traditionally appropriate for Jewish funerals, there are many alternative options for expressing condolences. It also depends, however, on the customs of the specific family. For example, while Orthodox Jews never have flowers at burials, some other Jewish sects have begun to send flowers to homes of the bereaved. If in doubt, send food, donate money, or consult the rabbi.


    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism: Guide to Jewish Funeral Practices

    The Jewish Federations: Jewish Funeral Customs

    800 Flowers: Interfaith Etiquette

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