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A tombstone is an important part of Jewish law to ensure that the deceased will never be forgotten. At Manhattan Jewish Funeral Home, we understand the importance of Jewish headstones and how it should both celebrate your loved one’s life and express their faith. In some communities, families choose not to mark the grave with a Jewish headstone until the ending of the 12 month mourning period. The thought behind this is that during this mourning period the deceased will not be forgotten so no monument is needed until after the formal mourning period ends. If the family does decide to wait, a formal unveiling ceremony is usually held for family and friends after the year of mourning has ended. Other families choose to mark the grave with a tombstone at the time of burial.
Selecting the right tombstone is not as easy as simply picking the first one that catches your eye. There are many options to choose from so your family should take some time to fully understand the available options prior to making a final decision. One of the first steps we recommend taking is contacting the cemetery to find out what their rules and regulations are for headstones. Every cemetery has their own regulations so it is crucial to know what these are before you place an order.
Once you know the regulations and have established a budget, you can begin to look at the different options available. This includes:
Ultimately, what you choose to write on the headstone is entirely up to you and your family. Text can be written in English or Hebrew, whichever you prefer. In most cases, the tombstone contains four lines of text.
1. Typically, the first line states “here lies”
2. The second line then states the person’s name and something like “son of…” or “loving husband”.
3. The third line then lists the date of the person’s death.
4. Finally, the fourth line features a prayer like “may her soul be bound in the bond of eternal life”.
Symbols are also a popular feature to include on a Jewish tombstone. Examples of common symbols include a menorah, star of David, the two tablets of the ten commandments or a Torah scroll. In most cases, the purpose of these symbols is to let you know the deceased was Jewish but tells you very little about the person.
If you are interested in learning more about Jewish monuments or our Jewish caskets, please contact us today. A member of our staff would be pleased to answer any questions you have and help you make an informed and educated decision. We look forward to being a part of your funeral planning process and pleased to assist you with the unveiling.