Observing Jewish memorial customs

It is customary in many religions to mark the grave of a deceased loved one with a monument or stone. In Judaism, it is an ancient custom to erect a Matzevah, or a monument, to identify graves. The exact design and style of the memorial will vary according to individual preferences, as with all memorials, but there are certain traditions and customs which are specific to those of the Jewish faith.

There are no specific rules about the type or size of memorial, but the design will need to adhere to the regulations laid out by the chosen cemetery. The inscription will usually include the deceased person’s English and Hebrew names, along with their birth date and death date in both English and Hebrew.

Usually, there will be an unveiling ceremony within the first year after the death. A eulogy will given by either a rabbi or a family member and the Kaddish will be recited before the tombstone is revealed and formally dedicated in the presence of the mourners. The specific customs involved will depend on the preferences of the family and their particular beliefs, and many families make adjustments to the traditional service to make it more personal to their loved one.

One of the most well known traditions surrounding Jewish memorials is the placing of stones on the monument, which is often done after the unveiling as well as every time the grave is visited afterwards. There are many traditional reasons behind this custom, but in simple terms it represents the lasting presence of the person’s memory and shows that someone has visited the grave.

As versatile memorial manufacturers and masons, we regularly provide headstones, memorial plaques and grave markers for people with a wide variety of different beliefs, faiths and preferences. Whether you wish to create a memorial which is in accordance with your particular religious belief or would prefer a secular memorial, our skilled team can provide a bespoke solution that suits your requirements. Please contact us if you would like further information about what we can do for you.

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