Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Answering Questions About Helping Jewish Mourners "Sit Shiva"

Leora is working on a series about Jewish Mourning, and she'll have a post interviewing me on how to help mourners.  She sent some questions, and I've just spent quite a bit of time answering them and giving other info.  She'll have to compose questions to match.

Bli eyin haraa (not to tempt the "evil eye,)" I'm quite an expert on shiva for one who has never sat.  I'm one of the oldest, probably the oldest now, in my shul who has to leave during Yizkor.  I have neighbors who were even older before they sat shiva for the first time.

The basic Jewish Laws of Mourning really take into account what a mourner need emotionally, psychologically.  It's very upsetting to hear that, especially abroad, outside of Israel mourners are making their shivas more like wakes, having it catered like big social occasions.  Most Jews aren't members of synagogues, so just when they need help, they're all alone.  There's no traditional rabbi to guide them, nor a "chessed committee" to help with the logistics.

Mourners' needs are to be catered to.  They're not supposed to bring catering for "guests."


Jennifer in MamaLand said...

My kids have always been the youngest to stay in, since they became bar/bat mitzvah. People LOOK at them. Stare.

(Their father died when they were 9 and 10, but we've been going to this shul as a family for longer than that, so people just assume my husband is their father.)

It was strange on Pesach, joining my daughter (and mother) for Yizkor for the first time. Strange, but comforting: three generations, remembering together.

Batya said...

It's a real credit to you and your husband that nobody would ever guess he's not the biological father of your kids. Unfortunately, there are quite a few kids who stay for Yizkor here in Shiloh.
HaMakom y'Nachem...