VII. The Funeral/Memorial Service And Burial/Interment
The service includes prayers, psalms and a eulogy in memory of the deceased. Participation by family members or others and the inclusion of additional readings or music should be discussed with the clergyperson who will be officiating. Such participation is not traditional and, in any case, should not be considered obligatory. At the conclusion of the service, it is customary for those in attendance to remain in their places until clergy and members of the family have embarked for the cemetery. Jewish tradition requires that the casket remain closed throughout as an expression of respect for the dead. If loved ones wish to view the body a last time, they should arrange to do so prior to the funeral service.
Pallbearers may be selected by the family to assist the funeral director and cemetery personnel in carrying the casket to the hearse and, upon arrival at the cemetery, to the grave. Both men and women may be given this honor. Those who may be physically unable to serve as pallbearers may be designated honorary pallbearers, who accompany the casket.
The Burial Service/Interment
Following the recitation of prayers, it is customary for the casket to be lowered and the Mourners’ Kaddish to be recited. Prior to the recitation, family members and friends are invited to place a shovelful of earth in the grave. Those who are not comfortable participating in this portion of the ritual need not do so, and it may be omitted entirely at the request of the family. Jewish tradition considers participation in the burial to be one of the highest and most selfless deeds because it is an act of kindness of which the recipient is unaware and that cannot be repaid. The sound of earth falling on the casket can be jarring, but it helps mourners accept the reality of death and, thus, facilitates the process of healing.
These are not required by Jewish tradition, but they are prescribed by the rules of Mayfield Cemetery.
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