Death & Mourning

The immediate moment after a loved one passes away is filled with fear, heartache and confusion, but we cannot be frozen into inaction. The demand to organize a funeral, and plan out the shiva are the most immediate items that need attending to. When a member passes away, our Beth Sholom family is here for support. Let us help.

The Funeral

Your first step is to contact one of the two funeral homes listed below:
The funeral home will meet with your family to arrange the details of the time and place for the funeral. They will either contact the rabbi for you or you may choose to contact Rabbi Flanzraich yourself.
  

Cemetery & Burial Plots

Beth Sholom has two sections of plots at the Mount Sinai Cemetery, located at Keele and Wilson in Toronto. Each member in good standing is entitled to one burial plot in our cemetery, subject to a registration fee.

In cases where there is a surviving spouse, the spouse may choose to reserve the adjoining plot. You must advise the funeral home of your intention to reserve an adjoining plot next to the deceased. Members may opt to pre-reserve both plots through our office. To discuss cemetery & burial plots, please contact our Executive Director, Barbara Berke at (416) 783-6104.

Shiva & Shiva Minyan 

Shiva is observed for the the first seven days following the burial of one's father, mother, spouse, son, daughter, brother (including half-brother), and sister (including half-sister). Rabbi Flanzraich can offer guidance with respect to the laws and traditions surrounding the specific exceptions to observance during Shabbat and certain Jewish holidays.  Following the funeral, the three daily prayer services be held in the Shiva home and the mourners recite the Kaddish. Members of the community are expected to help complete a Minyan.

If a mourner is unable to lead the Minyan himself, we will make our best efforts to help you arrange Minyan leaders from among the Beth Sholom community. On days when it is not possible to gather a Minyan in the Shiva home, the mourner is permitted to attend services in the synagogue. Contact Rivy Blass at (647) 873-1235 for assistance.

The Shiva Home

It is a mitzvah for the mourners to observe Shiva in the place where the soul departed, but if this is not possible, another location is designated (for example, the departed's home or the home of a mourner).To prepare the Shiva home:
  • Cover, remove or turn around all mirrors and pictures of people
  • Light a seven-day candle (if a seven-day candle can not be found, you may use seven regular candles, but a candle should always remain lit) 
  • Arrange low stools or crates for the mourners to sit on, and regular chairs for visits
  • Prepare Kippot, Tallit and tefellin, prayer books for services, a charity box and several books of Psalms
  • Refreshments should be limited to simple kosher cake and juice and/or coffee - elaborate food and drink is to be avoided
  • Prepare a copy of the traditional "Condolence Declaration" for visitors to recite. 
  • If a Torah scroll is to be kept in the Shiva home for prayer services, it should be placed in a respectable location and covered with a Tallit when not being used

Restrictions During Shiva

Rabbi Flanzraich can provide guidance and answer questions about prohibited activities and exceptions during Shiva, but in summary, mourners are prohibited from:
  • Greeting people in the usual manner (i.e "Hello," "Hi")
  • Wearing fresh clothing
  • Shaving or taking a haircut
  • Playing or listening to music
  • Participating in joyful activities (i.e. reading papers or entertaining books, watching videos or shows, attending social events, concerts, or weddings, etc.)
  • Sitting on regular chairs, stools, recliners, or couches
  • Working
  • Bathing for pleasure
  • Using cosmetics, lotions, oils, and perfumes
  • Wearing leather shoes
  • Engaging in marital relations
  • Studying Torah (except parts dealing with mourning and repentance)

Kaddish

Kaddish is recited morning, afternoon and evening when we are in mourning. It is always and only recited in the presence of a Minyan and not alone.We say kaddish for 11 months from the date of burial for our parents, and for one month from the date of burial for our spouses, siblings, and children. If you have any questions regarding the saying of kaddish, or the date and timing of when to end your kaddish, please contact Rabbi Flanzraich.

Yahrzeit

We observe yahrzeit for our parents, spouses, siblings and children. It is marked on the Hebrew date of the person’s passing beginning the evening before at sundown. A  24-hour candle is lit and we attend synagogue to recite the Kaddish. It is traditional to avoid attending any celebrations or parties on the day of yahrzeit, and some people fast on that day. We also give to a charity in the name of the deceased.

Yizkor

Yizkor, in Hebrew, means "Remember." It is also a special memorial prayer for the departed recited in the synagogue following the Torah reading on the last day of Passover, on the second day of Shavuot, on Shemini Atzeret and on Yom Kippur. The main component of Yizkor is our private pledge to give charity following the holiday in honor of the deceased. 

Foundations, Monuments & Unveilings

There are many customs relating to the timing of erecting the monument and unveiling ceremonies.  You may select the monument provider of your choice, however all monuments must meet the size regulations set out by the cemetery. The funeral home you have selected will be helpful in assisting you with obtaining the names of different providers in the city if required.  The cost of the monument is the responsibility of the family. The monument company must apply for a permit to erect the monument in the cemetery. Before a permit can be granted, you will be asked to reimburse the synagogue for the cost of the pre-existing monument foundation. To discuss the details and customs of the unveiling and arrange a convenient time, please speak with Rabbi Flanzraich directly.

From Rabbi Flanzraich

Those seeking the comfort that an eternal tradition can give them need to know how to properly observe these hallowed and ancient laws. 
Learn More

For Support

If you or your family is in crisis, please contact Rabbi Flanzraich at (416) 783-6105. Outside regular business hours, please dial (416) 783-6103 and listen carefully to the prompts for emergency contact information. 

Burial Plots

Each member in good standing is entitled to one burial plot in our cemetery, subject to a registration fee. Please contact our executive director, Barbara Berke at (416) 783-6104, to make arrangements.

Mourner's Kaddish

Learn the Mourner's Kaddish in English, Hebrew or transliterated Hebrew. 
Learn More

Honouring a Loved One

There are many ways to honour the memory of your loved one with a yahrzeit donation within Beth Sholom. 
Learn More

Yahrtzeit Observances

We send reminders to our members when the Yahtrzeit of their loved ones are observed. To add a loved one to your Yahtrzeits, please let us know.
Add a Yahrzeit