How to Help
The physical needs of mourners should be provided for as mourners typically do not leave their homes during the shiva period. These needs may include food preparation, picking up medicines from the pharmacy or driving children to school. A group of friends can arrange for many of the mourners' needs
If you live out of town and want to send food to the home, it is appropriate to check with mourners or the person they have designated to receive calls to see what they need and want. Generally, flowers are not brought or sent to a shiva home.
Support and Assistance
If you would like to bring or send something to a friend or family member in mourning, take a look at our Planning Center to find customary and traditional items, such as fruit, nuts, baked goods and more to ship directly to the shiva house.
Before sending or bringing any item of food into a shiva house, it is helpful to know whether the family is requesting or accepting only Kosher products in the house. As an alternative to food, it is common for a donation to be made in memory of the deceased to a designated temple, charity or organization.
A gift of food is a thoughtful and traditional way to show your support. Food at a shiva home helps nourish mourners and relieve of the pressure of preparing meals for themselves. This custom extends to both the traditional and more modern views within the Jewish faith. Friends who want to help can plan the meals for the mourning family that week. It is extremely common for individuals making a shiva call and interested in helping a family in mourning to send or bring a food item to the shiva house. Such items include baked goods, fruit, dried fruit and nuts or chocolate.
While bringing flowers is a kind and sensitive gesture, it is not customary to bring flowers to a Jewish cemetery or shiva house. Making a charitable donation to a temple or organization in memory of the deceased is more appropriate.
Planting a Tree in Israel 'In Memory Of' is another common way to show your support.
It is Jewish custom to perform an act of tzedakah – charity to honor the memory of the deceased. This generally takes the form of a donation to a synagogue or other institution the deceased was associated with or supported.