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When a Loved One Dies

At some time or other, grief comes to all of us.  The death of a loved one is a most painful experience.  When death occurs, we are often at a loss as to where to turn and what to do. 

When a community member dies, the community must assist the deceased’s family lovingly. We at Congregation Beth Emeth want every synagogue member to know that our congregation is prepared to help and advise you in making all necessary arrangements.

When a death occurs, contact the rabbi or synagogue office first:

CBE is a member of the Jewish Funeral Practices Committee of Greater Washington (https://dc.jewish-funerals.org), which has contracts with Hines-Rinaldi Funeral Home (Silver Spring, MD - 301-622-2290) and Cunningham Turch Funeral Home (Alexandria, VA - 703-549-1800) to provide traditional funeral services to the Jewish community at very reasonable prices. When calling Hines-Rinaldi or Cunningham Turch, state that you would like the Jewish Funeral Package; this will guarantee the proper type of casket preparation of the body, etc., and the correct cost. In addition, there is a contract with Fram Monument Company (Rockville - 301-605-8081) to provide granite and bronze markers at discounted prices. Both agreements can be viewed in full text on the JFPC website.

Please note that when using Hines-Rinaldi or Cunningham Turch Funeral Homes, you must still choose where to bury your loved one. Most congregants choose King David Memorial Gardens (Falls Church, VA - 703-560-4400) or Garden of Remembrance Memorial Park (Clarksburg, MD - 301-428-3000).

King David Memorial Gardens is part of the National Memorial Park and can be a “one-stop shop” for funeral needs – including picking up the body, preparation, on-site funeral, and burial. National Funeral Home, their on-site funeral home, is part of the nationwide network of Dignity Memorial but is NOT part of the JFPCGW. You will not receive the Jewish Funeral package pricing, though they offer a discount if you do the funeral AND burial at King David.

Garden of Remembrance Memorial Park is a partner agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. Unlike King David, which is the Jewish section of the cemetery amid a larger cemetery of all religious denominations, the Garden of Remembrance is an entirely Jewish cemetery (that allows interfaith couples to be buried together). They have an arrangement with Hines-Rinaldi, allowing one to use the Jewish Funeral package easily.

We know there is much to process as you contemplate your (or your loved one’s) funeral needs. To learn more about planning and conducting a Jewish funeral, we have prepared a guide to Jewish funeral practices, which you can download and print here (pdf**). One area that you may want to learn about, even before reading about the many topics in the guide, is cremation:

Cremation is not traditional. While cremation is not standard, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement has acknowledged that some families will choose this option for personal reasons. 

If the family has chosen to cremate their loved one but still wants the rabbi to participate in a funeral, please note the following rules:  The funeral must occur in the presence of the body in the casket. There will NOT be a funeral with cremains in an urn. The Mourner’s Kaddish recitation cannot occur at a funeral with the body present. At a traditional funeral/burial, the Mourner’s Kaddish isn’t said until the casket is lowered. In the case of cremation, the first opportunity to recite Mourner’s Kaddish would be at the first Shiva Minyan following the removal of the body/casket from the funeral. All other rules and expectations of a Jewish funeral remain in place for one who is to be cremated.

This guide includes a planning form to help you get the information you need in advance. You can download the planning form in editable format here.

Sat, July 20 2024 14 Tammuz 5784