Death & Mourning

Before Death


When accompanying a person who is leaving this plane of existence, it is customary to offer a confessional prayer which is known as a vidui. Even in our final moments of life, we express our regrets and our hopes. Nearing the moment of death either the patient or those attending recite an affirmation of God’s unity with all existence, to which we refer as the “Shema.” After the moment of death, it is customary to close the eyes of the departed and cover their body with a sheet or other cloth. Jewish tradition asks that we not leave the body alone to the extent possible. In the mystical tradition, the soul hovers near the body in the time after death and prior to interment in the ground.