This Checklist on “Preparing for a Shiva” has a corresponding Essential under the same title. The Essential will give you assistance on how to fill out the Checklist. Together, they will guide you through situations that often occur during a time of loss.
For a comprehensive resource related to planning a shiva and Jewish mourning, please visit shiva.com.
- What is the choice of cemetery?
- What is the choice of casket?
- Will flowers be encouraged?
- Will donations to a charity be encouraged?
- Who should be chosen to speak?
- What Scriptures and/or songs should be used?
- Has contact been made with Hevra Kadisha?
Before and Immediately Following the Death
- If individual passes away at work, contact 911 and report death.
- If individual was under medical care, contact primary care physician.
- Follow instructions if individual was an organ donor.
- To plan the funeral, you will need individual’s Social Security number, date and place of birth, family member names.
Telling the News to Others
- Inform, in person if possible, closest family members
- Make list of intermediate family and friends to contact
- Delegate family members to make phone calls. Avoid texts and emails.
- Make list of work place, organizations, charities and synagogues that need to be contacted. Pass list on to delegated family members for phone calls.
Planning the Funeral
- Decide who will conduct the service. Communicate with Herva Kadish to coordinate efforts.
- Consult with officiant regarding the eulogy and participation of family.
- Estimate the number of attendees.
- Consult with funeral home regarding service locations for both eulogy and burial. Decide if chapel and/or gravesite service will be best.
- If the individual had a pre-arranged burial and funeral plan, follow the instructions.
- Appoint pall-bearers.
- If the individual owned a tallit (prayer shawl), decide if it should be buried or given to the family.
- Consider clothing, cosmetics, hair style for preparing the body for burial.
- If family is observing this custom, make arrangements for light meal for mourners who will not participate.
- Make small map or directions to the family home.
- Place pitcher of water, basin and towel outside the front door of home.
Preparing for Shiva
- Decide where, when and at what times you will sit shiva. Post times on door.
- Note times that will be reserved for family and times that will be open to visitors.
- Coordinate meals for the family through shiva.
- Set up and prepare the shiva house. For a detailed checklist, consult the Shiva Preparation Checklist available at shiva.com. Click here to view a detailed Shiva Preparation Checklist.
- To create a custom Shiva Planning Checklist on eCondolence click here.
- If individual was a veteran, contact local post. Have individual’s discharge papers.
- Place an obituary in the local or Jewish newspapers.
- Designate a charitable organization(s) for donations in honor of the loved one.
- Arrange for transportation and housing of family members, if necessary