Skip to main content

What to Bring or Send to a Shiva

It’s difficult to know the customs, traditions and rituals that each religion, faith and culture may observe relating to burial, visitations, mourning practices and the appropriate ways to express condolences. Whether you grew up in a Jewish family or it’s all new to you, you may have questions when faced with the loss of a Jewish loved one. When considering what to bring or send for a shiva (Jewish mourning ritual–learn more here), a couple of the most commonly asked questions are: How do I express condolences for someone of the Jewish faith? What is appropriate to bring or send to those in mourning during a shiva?

It’s very common for individuals making a shiva call, and interested in sending something to a family during Jewish mourning, to send a traditional food item to the shiva house or to plant trees in Israel. In fact, sending a sympathy gift or shiva basket, which typically includes baked goods, fruit, dried fruit and nuts or chocolate, is considered appropriate. Alternatively, planting a tree in Israel or making a donation in memory of the deceased to a designated temple, charity or organization is a very nice acknowledgment.

Below are several appropriate ways to express sympathy according to Jewish traditions and customs.

chocolate and nuts

Food and Condolence Baskets

Providing a mourner with food is a nice way to show your support.

Read more.

Plant a Tree in Israel

Planting a tree in Israel in memory of a loved one is a time-honored tradition that is symbolic and heartfelt.

Read more

Make a Donation

It is a Jewish custom and part of the foundation of Judaism to perform an act of tzedakah, or charity, to honor the memory of the deceased.

Read more

Flowers and the Jewish Mourning Tradition

In many faiths and cultures, sending flowers to the funeral home or the home of those who have lost a loved one is a kind gesture and an appropriate sympathy gift. However…

Read more

This article was reprinted with permission from provides an easy-to-use, efficient resource to help family members, friends, colleagues and acquaintances honor the passing of Jewish loved ones.