How to Unveil a Jewish Tombstone

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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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Posted by on Wednesday, July 21st, 2010. Filed under Jewish How To. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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