Understanding Shiva

Judaism provides a structured period of mourning that, depending on your relationship to the deceased, may last up to one year, allowing a mourner to gradually heal by going through different stages of grief. These traditional mourning practices and defined periods of mourning are intended to ensure that in a year's time, the mourner is able to cope with the loss and be prepared to re-engage in his or her normal routines. This section provides a basic overview and understanding of shiva and Jewish mourning.

The first structured period of Jewish mourning, the shiva, begins immediately following the burial and upon departing the cemetery and returning to the mourner’s home. Shiva is a complex period of Jewish mourning comprised of many traditions, customs and rituals that mourners may observe. Below are links to more sections and information about the rituals of shiva and Jewish mourning.

What Is Shiva?

The first period of structured mourning is shiva. The word 'shiva' has many different meanings across different...

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What Is Sitting Shiva?

A Jewish individual who is mourning the loss of a loved one typically sits shiva. You are considered a mourner when... 

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How Is Shiva Observed?

Whether you are sitting shiva or visiting a shiva home, you will encounter various types of observances. Some are traditional...

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Periods of Mourning

While shiva is a very specific stage of mourning, there are stages both before and after shiva that have particular...

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