Among the many trying challenges we face in these dire times is the sorrow of disconnection from one another, added to the deeper one of personal loss, as we accompany those beloved to us to their resting places.
Just as the current times demand that we now pray and study at home, the way to give honor to the dead during this pandemic is by staying at home. That is what the niftar (departed) would have wanted and what Jewish law, which warns us to be extremely careful to guard one’s health, demands of us. We therefore must not congregate at funeral homes, shuls, residences or on city streets to pay our respects to the niftar and families.
While we honor the departed through proper Jewish burial despite the challenges entailed, we must maintain a balance. We must remain sensitive and committed to serving our bereaved families as fully as possible, while working to ensure their health and safety along with the health and safety of the funeral home and cemetery staff.
We recognize that the burial may provide the only opportunity for family to say Kaddish and be offered proper Nichum Aveilim (comforting of the mourners). Nevertheless, the practices that should be followed at this time are as per the directive of the National Association of Chevra Kadisha. These guidelines should be followed at the cemetery to minimize the risk of exposure and to ensure the safety of all.