What to do when there is a death in your family

Notify the Rabbi (ext. 115), Executive Director (ext. 111) or the Office by calling the office at (301) 762-7338. (If death occurs at home or outside a hospital or nursing center, you will need to notify the police.)

Arrange for funeral. Tikvat Israel has a contract through the Jewish Funeral Practices Committee of Greater Washington with Hine-Rinaldi Funeral Home (301-622-2290) and an agreement with Sagel Bloomfield Danzansky Goldberg Funeral Care (301-217-9400). Torchinsky Hebrew Funeral Home (201-541-1001) also has Jewish funerals, but does not have a contract with the synagogue. If you do not have a cemetery site, please contact Sam Freedenberg, Executive Director, at Tikvat Israel (301-762-7338 ext 111). Note that Judean Memorial Gardens in Olney (301-384-1000) and Garden of Remembrance (Gan Zikaron) in Clarksburg (301-428-3000) have sections reserved for Tikvat Israel members and their families at reduced costs if purchased through the synagogue.

The Tikvat Israel Bereavement Committee will help with arranging for Tahara* and Shomrim, preparing the home for shiva if needed, providing shiva minyanim in the home, and ordering a meal or fruit basket during shiva.

Make sure you have the information contained in appendix 6 (p. 21): Information About the Deceased, Which Family Members May Need  from “A Guide to Jewish Mourning Practices,” also see below for more resources.

Guidelines for Making a Shiva Call

It is a great but very difficult mitzvah to comfort someone who has lost a loved one. We often feel uneasy and at a loss for words. Some of us are reminded of our own losses. Most of us are uncertain about what truly comforts, what words or deeds will ease the way for the mourner. The following is a brief guide to making a shiva call (Drawing heavily on A Time to Mourn, a Time to Comfort by Dr. Ron Wolfson).

Note from Rabbi Shull: Jewish tradition encourages us to be in community when we grieve the death of our loved ones and affirm God’s sanctity.  Thus a minyan (a quorum of 10 Jews) is required to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish.  Still, understandably, there are times when we cannot be present at a minyan service. The following prayer can be said individually in lieu of the Mourner’s Kaddish

Prayer in lieu of Kaddish (when there is no minyan) by Rabbi Dov Ber Edelstein:

Ayl Elohai Ha’roochot… God of spirits, in whose hands rest the souls of the living and the dead, graciously and mercifully accept my prayer in memory of my loved one(s). Remember all of the good and kindly deeds that he/she/they did when among the living, grant him/her/ them peaceful rest under the wings of the Almighty, and bind his/her/their soul in the binds of life. Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’mei raba. Oseh shalom bimromav, hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu v’al kol Yisrael, v’imru amen.

The Unveiling Ceremony

The unveiling of a grave stone or marker customarily takes place in the first year following the burial of a loved one. The clergy of Tikvat Israel are honored to assist families and preside at at this time-honored tradition. If the clergy is not available, family members are welcomed to lead the ceremony. The following links will lead you to sample ceremonies that can be self-lead.

  • Ritualwell is website featuring innovative ritual ceremonies from a variety of religious traditions
  • is website offering basic information about Jewish mourning customs and practices

Additional Resources

The following additional resources can be downloaded:

For more information contact Aaron Chusid at (301) 762-7338 ext. 111 or