Jewish funerals focus specifically on respecting, honoring and endearing the deceased.
The funeral service usually starts with saying the Book of Psalms and memorial prayers.
A eulogy follows, delivered by relatives and/or friends of the deceased as well as
rabbis and/or community leaders. The mourners then rend their garments and follow
the casket in the funeral procession that escorts the deceased to the cemetery and
grave for burial. All other funeral attendees follow the mourners for a short distance.
These customs vary by community and a competent Rabbi should be consulted for complete
Funerals can take place at the home of the deceased, at the synagogue, funeral home
or at the graveside. This varies according to local customs and the stature of the
deceased. Maimonides writes that accompanying the deceased to the burial is a great
kindness. People have an obligation to stop Torah study and work to attend a funeral
in cases where there aren’t a respectable amount of people that will attend. When
a person sees a funeral procession he or she is obligated to accompany the procession
for at least four cubits out of sympathy to the mourners and respect for the deceased.
However, some rule that it is enough to stand still in respect for the deceased until
the funeral procession passes.