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Guide to Death and Mourning for Interfaith Families

Jewish cemeteryMany people come to InterfaithFamily to learn about Jewish death and mourning practices. If you are in an interfaith family, you may be coping with some unusual circumstances around death: you could be going to your first Jewish funeral or house of mourning, and want to know what to expect. You might even be in mourning for a close relative the first time you are exposed to a Jewish funeral. Or you might be planning a funeral for someone who has asked for a Jewish burial, and not be quite sure what that means. You might be a Jew burying a family member who is not Jewish, or vice versa. If you are in an interfaith marriage, you may be trying to figure out in advance how to negotiate being buried next to your spouse with Jewish ritual when you die. We give a brief overview here of some of the most typical Jewish death and mourning rituals and practices, and of some of the issues that may come up for people in interfaith families.

Whatever choices you make around death and mourning, we hope that you find comfort in them.

The Principle of Honoring the Divine Image in the Human Body

Purification on the Borders of Life and Death

Preparing the Body for Burial

Why Don’t Jewish Funerals Have an Open Casket?

Embalming and Cremation

Who Can Be Buried in a Jewish Cemetery?

What Happens at a Jewish Funeral?

Jewish Mourning Customs: An Introduction

Mourning on a Schedule

The First Week of Mourning: Shiva

The First Month of Mourning: Sheloshim

The Year of Mourning: Saying Kaddish

Stone Setting: An American Jewish Custom

Yahrzeit and Yizkor

Planning Your Own Funeral or Someone Else’s

Speaking to Your Children about Death

The Guide to Death and Mourning for Interfaith Families is available as a PDF and our booklet Mourning the Loss of a Loved One is available for download.


18Doors is here to support interfaith couples and families exploring Jewish life. We offer educational content; connections to welcoming organizations, professionals and programs; resources and trainings for organizations, clergy and other program providers; and our Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship provides offerings for couples in cities nationwide. If you have questions, please contact


Author: 18Doors