Useful Tips

How to spend Shiva

Shiva - Jews have a period of mourning, the first week after the funeral of parents, spouse, brother or child. From the moment of death to the completion of the funeral, the main focus is on caring for the deceased and preparing for the funeral. When Shiva begins, the mourner is in the spotlight with his family, who love him, support him and show attention to his needs. Judaism teaches us that we must soothe and support man.

  1. 1 Where do Shiva take place: “Carrying out Shiva” is an emotional and spiritual healing, when mourners can live together, make friends and support each other when they ask. It is said that the house of the mourner is filled with the spirit of the deceased. Memories will often come, and one of the components of Shiva is the memories of the deceased with the help of stories about her or his life to friends and family. It counts as a mitzvah (act of kindness) if you visit someone Shiva
  2. 2 After the funeral: The word "Shiva" in English means "Seven." Shiva, as a rule, lasts 7 days, starting from the day of the funeral, and ends after 7 days. Many Jewish families finish this rite earlier.
  3. 3 Prepare food for the mourners: After returning home from the funeral, the mourners sit down at the table - a “memorial dinner” - traditionally round products, symbolizing the infinity of life. “Shiva's food” is prepared by relatives, friends and neighbors. A good sign for guests is to bring ready food to the mourners in order to make sure that there is enough food, as mourners may not cook, or cook food on fire. If the family supports Jewish laws, only kosher products can be brought.
  4. 4 Follow the Jewish traditions in the house of Shiva: In traditional memory houses, mirrors are closed, you can’t wear leather shoes, close relatives can not cut their hair, shave, marry, listen to music, watch TV or take part in what can be considered fun. Relatives are sitting on low, uncomfortable chairs. Grief is expressed by the fact that someone is tearing clothes. In addition, mourners can wear a black ribbon cut by a rabbi for 30 days. A Jewish candle can burn, and it is left to burn 24 hours a day for a whole week. The candle reminds us that the soul of the deceased is eternal.
  5. 5 Daily Prayers at Shiva's House: These prayers can also be read daily at home. It’s a good time to “challenge” non-Jews, so that they also take part in this.
  6. 6 How to complete Shiva: On the last day, Shiva should be for several hours and should read on it:

The sun will no longer shine for you, and your moon will fade, God will become an eternal light for you, and the days of mourning have already passed. (Isaiah 60:20).

Coda Shiva is completed, mourners can go around the house, this symbolizes their return to society.

  • Jewish families may adhere to all, some, or not adhere to the traditions and customs of Shiva at all.
  • For more information, go to

    • Do not send flowers to the mourners. Donation or sending food to the Memorial Hall would be more appropriate. Use the site to find food that is acceptable for Shiva in the USA:.