The “New Normal” for Jewish funerals is yet to be determined and will reveal itself for months if not years after the Covid-19 or Coronavirus crisis subsides. Slowly social gatherings rules will loosen and people will gradually be allowed to gather. This means life’s milestones such as funerals, shivas and memorial services will include more people. Moving forward in this post-Covid-19 era, families and friends have additional tools for coordinating funerals including online scheduling, planning and Viewneral™ technology that allow people to interact and engage with one another in the absence of physical attendance. The use of technology during funeral planning, burials and shivas allow individuals who otherwise may not be able to participate to mourn, support loved ones and grieve in a new way.

How to plan a funeral or shiva gathering post-Covid-19?

When planning a funeral, burial, or shiva, it is important to understand that people may not be emotionally ready to gather in groups. There will undoubtedly be continuous fear and confusion on how to attend a gathering so some guests may choose not to attend.

During the funeral arrangements meeting a funeral care professional, together with your family will determine the safest and most appropriate way to honor your loved one and adhere to continuing guidelines for health and safety for you and others. As the restrictions are lifted chapel services will resume, in addition to graveside services. Click here for more information and checklists on planning a shiva

Depending on the type and location of a funeral service and gathering there may be guests who are elderly or immunocompromised that cannot attend the funeral or large gathering, but are able to offer words of comfort, eulogize, and express condolences. Accordingly, you can now work with the funeral director to have a Viewneral™, an online and interactive virtual funeral or gathering allowing those who can not attend in person, to do so from the safety of their own home. This technology also can be used for shivas and memorial services. Click here for more information on Viewneral™.

How to Communicate the Type of Funeral Service and Gathering?

At a time of loss, mourners are burdened with many decisions. The funeral home and director will help to ensure the day and time of the funeral service and the gathering is properly circulated to the appropriate list of individuals with whom you would like to attend. Based on your preferences, the service information may be privately emailed or communicated with the small group of family and friends, or alternatively, the information may be shared through a public obituary, funeral home website and ShivaPlan™. This provides the important information such as time, location along with links for those who will be joining online or by phone. When a gathering is scheduled, the host is generally the one who controls time and location. The host may be a family member or designated friend who serves as the coordinator. It will be important to communicate to invited guests any precautions that might take place or rules that they should adhere to. It is your event so you set the tone. However, you must be mindful that others may have their own personal distancing boundaries. Work with your funeral director to ensure a safe gathering.

Questions To Keep In Mind

  • When inviting people to the funeral, memorial, or shiva please consider informing guests about the following:
  • Will the service be indoors?
  • Will chairs be separated or will people be asked to socially distance themselves from other guests?
  • Will you provide masks, gloves and/or hand sanitizer?
  • Are you or anyone in your immediate family accepting handshakes, hugs or other personal touching?
  • Are you accepting condolence visits at your home? If so, what precautions if any will be implemented there?

Your guests will appreciate the transparency and boundaries that you communicate. It will remove added stress and confusion and will help create an appropriate event.