How to Unveil a Jewish Tombstone
Even in the past, it was already part of Jewish custom to mark the grave of a loved one with a tombstone. In Genesis 35:20, Jacob built a tombstone for the grave of his wife Rachel. The purpose of erecting a tombstone is to indicate where a dead loved one is buried. It is also a way of honoring the memory of the deceased.
- It is customary to erect the tombstone at a later date after the deceased is buried. Some do it right after Shiva while others put the tombstone after a year.
- The tombstone covered with cloth is unveiled while mourners, close relatives and friends witness.
- The unveiling ceremony includes the recitation of Psalms. This is followed with a short eulogy about the deceased.
- The cloth covering the tombstone is unveiled as the El Maleh Rahamim and the Mourner’s Kaddish are recited.
- It is customary to place a small stone on the tombstone before leaving to indicate that someone has visited the grave.
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