Shiva (Jewish Mourning)

It is the responsibility of the community to visit and provide for the mourners during their period of mourning. Some choose to bring food to the mourner’s home. Others make donations in memory of the person who has died. In the Jewish tradition, rather than sending flowers, individuals are encouraged to make charitable contributions.

Remember that by being there, you are a source of comfort. Therefore, your words are not as important as your presence. Jewish tradition recognizes that there are few things that a person can say to assuage another person’s grief. With that in mind, Judaism explains that the visitor should remain silent and wait for the mourner to speak first. You may then offer a few words of sympathy or give the mourner a hug or squeeze of the hand as a sign of support. A simple expression of “I love you” may be much more valuable than trying to philosophize.