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When a Loved One Dies

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

When a member of a community dies, it is the community’s responsibility to lovingly assist the deceased’s family. We at Congregation Beth Emeth want every synagogue member to know that our congregation is prepared to assist 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 (, 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, simply state that you would like the Jewish Funeral Package. This will guarantee you the proper type of casket preparation of body, etc. as well as 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 contracts can be viewed in full text at the JFPC website.

Please note that when using either Hines-Rinaldi or Cunningham Turch Funeral Homes, you will still need to choose where to have your loved one buried. In general, most of our congregants choose either 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 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 in the midst of a larger cemetery of all religious denominations, Garden of Remembrance is a completely Jewish cemetery (that allows for interfaith couples to be buried together). They have an arrangement with Hines-Rinaldi, allowing one to easily use the Jewish Funeral package.

We know that there is a lot 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 traditional, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement has acknowledged the reality that some families will choose this option for personal reasons. 

If the family has chosen to cremate their loved one but still want the rabbi to participate in a funeral, please note the following rules:  The funeral must take place in the presence of the body in the casket. There will NOT be a funeral with cremains in an urn. The recitation of the Mourner’s Kaddish cannot take place 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 assist you in collecting needed information in advance. You can download the planning form in editable format here.

Tue, June 6 2023 17 Sivan 5783