The death of a loved one is a traumatic time in a family's life. Whether late in life or, god forbid, one taken in their youth, the pain one suffers can be overwhelming. Like other life cycle events, there is a very specific process to the funeral service.
Once you've contacted the funeral home and determined the place of the burial, you will need to contact a member of the clergy to officiate the funeral service. Prior to the service, a Cantor or Rabbi, will meet with members of the family for an intake - an opportunity to gather information and memories so that a eulogy can be written and ultimately offered. During this same intake, a full explanation of the funeral service is explained, which will also include the process of the internment.
There are several prayers, psalms and other texts that are both read in Hebrew and English and many of which can and are chanted or sung. Additionally, immediately following the internment, many families "sit shivah" - a period of time when family and friends have an opportunity to visit and "sit" with the bereaved and offer support through listening and recalling the many memories and stories of the one who just passed.
During shivah there are opportunities to recite the mourner's kaddish. This text is recited during the afternoon and evening service known as mincha and ma'ariv. Although these services can be led by anyone with knowledge of the prayers and chants, many choose to have a clergy lead.
As a Cantor, I am able to comfort the bereaved, explain this complicated funeral service and rituals, offer the many prayers, psalms, text, eulogy and chants as we walk through these shadows together.