Jewish Funeral Services
At Bobbitt Memorial Chapel, we're dedicated to providing tradition to the families of San Bernardino, by offering Jewish funeral services. After establishing whether or not your loved ones arrangement has already been made or not, we will began by contacting the Rabbi or Cantor. We will set up a meeting between one of our funeral arrangers and the family to began planning the service you'd like to have. Trained employees of the mortuary will bathe and dress the body with care and respect, according to traditional Jewish law. No natural or chemical agents are used to preserve the body. However, if the burial is to be delayed, embalming may be required by California state law.
A traditional burial will include dressing the deceased in a plain white shroud (tachrichim) and a traditional wooden casket that has no metal parts. Other than the shroud, the only item that may be buried along with the dead person according to Jewish law is a tallit (prayer shawl) with one of its corner fringes (tzitzit) cut. The tzitzit are removed because the dead cannot fulfill the mitzvot. The Biblical basis for the tzitzit is in the book of Numbers 15:38 where it is written, “Speak to the Israelite people and instruct them to make for themselves fringes (tzitzit) on the corners of their garments throughout the ages…look at it and recall all the commandments of Adonai and observe them…” This allows for a natural returning of the body to the earth and shows that wealth means nothing in death.
The casket is closed before Jewish funeral services begin for two reasons; one is out of respect for the deceased, that he/she should not be viewed as an object; and the other is that once the funeral service begins, the process of mourning also begins. Mourning the loss of a loved one is very painful. Yet, the pain is a necessary aspect of the mourning and should not be delayed in any way.
At the conclusion of the service the casket is physically lowered into the grave in the presence of the mourners, a heart-wrenching moment. However, witnessing this act promotes the acceptance of the finality of death. The family begins the burial by placing earth either by hand or by a shovel as a final act of kindness for the deceased who can no longer care for him/herself. There is a custom that the first person who places earth on a grave turns the shovel upside down. This act reflects the deep reluctance a loved one feels to perform this mitzvah. Customarily three handfuls or shovels of earth are the minimum per person. If using a shovel, the person placing earth returns the shovel to the earth and not directly to the next mourner signifying that he/she has performed the complete mitzvah in burial. All are welcome to perform the mitzvah of burial.