Burial Rights

Photo: The current BHH Cemetery & Ohel in Gelderd Rd, Leeds, which was first taken into use in December 1955.

Photo: The current BHH Cemetery & Ohel in Gelderd Rd, Leeds, which was first taken into use in December 1955.

Membership of the synagogue entitles you, your spouse & your children under the age of 21, to membership of the Chevra Kadisha. Members of the Chevra Kadisha are entitled to a Tahara (preparation of the body for funeral) and a funeral plot.
In respect of a funeral, there will be a charge of £250 (2016), for costs incurred by the Synagogue.

The Funeral Director’s fees and the hire of cars, as required, are separate costs and are charged directly by the Funeral Director but to a set tariff, approved by the BHH & reviewed annually.

There are no charges for the services of the Clergy. 

Note:  Young adults, aged 21+ should arrange to become Members in their own right.

Bereavement and Mourning
The death of a close family member is a traumatic event. Nevertheless, there are certain formalities that must be carried out and the following information is aimed at assisting a mourner to fulfil all the necessary tasks.

Following the death, a telephone call should be made to the synagogue office.  Should you telephone the synagogue office out of office hours there will be a recorded message providing the special contact number of our appointed Funeral Director.

The office staff will liaise with the Clergy when making arrangements for the funeral.

It is customary for Jewish burials to take place as soon as possible after the death, and it will be helpful to ask a close friend or another member of the family, to contact family and friends who would wish to attend the funeral.

Before the funeral can take place it is necessary to obtain a Doctor’s Certificate of Death which must be presented to the city’s Registrar. The office will advise relatives about the procedures.

If the person passes away on Shabbat or Yom Tov the burial cannot take place before the following day. Help or advice in this situation can only be obtained by personal contact.

The Rabbi usually visits the bereaved before the funeral and this is an opportunity to discuss with him any queries there may be about the arrangements in general.  The Rabbi may ask for information that he would use in his eulogy.

The seven days, including the day of the funeral, are known as Shiva (the seven days of mourning) when the mourners remain at home and do no work. The office will arrange for Siddurim (prayer books) and low chairs to be delivered to the Shiva house, for the mourners.

Mourners who are unable to sit on low chairs (because of pregnancy, illness, disability, etc) may sit on ordinary chairs. During Shiva week leather shoes should not be worn by the mourners and it is customary to cover all mirrors in the house.

Prior to the funeral, the members of the family who are sitting Shiva will have a cut (Keriah) made in their garments by a member of the Chevra Kadisha (a group of volunteers who assist with preparations for the funeral).
The cut is made on the left side of the garment, close to the heart, for a parent, and on the right side for other relatives.
The Keriah is performed either at the house or at the synagogue, before going to the cemetery or in the Ohel (Prayer House) at the cemetery. A short blessing is said after Keriah is made.
This garment should be worn throughout the Shiva week apart from Shabbat.

Married women attending a funeral should, as in the synagogue, wear a suitable head covering. Those attending a cemetery should (ritually) wash their hands before leaving the grounds of the cemetery.

In the washroom is positioned a collection (tzedoka) box. Donations made help the Synagogue defray the costs of the Chevra Kadisha, also the running & maintenance of the cemetery.
We trust visitors will be generous.

Following the funeral those family members sitting Shiva return to the Shiva house and are served a meal which traditionally includes hard-boiled eggs and bagels to symbolise the cycle of life.
This meal should be prepared and served by relatives or friends who are not themselves sitting Shiva.

A Yahrzeit (memorial) candle should be kept burning for the week, so it is important to ensure that there is an adequate supply in the house. (It is possible to buy an extra long Yahrzeit candle, which will remain lit for the entire week.)
The first Yahrzeit candle should be lit as soon as possible after the funeral. Two ordinary candles will also be required each evening, to light before prayers are recited.

Prayers are usually said in the Shiva house each evening and often in the morning as well. If there is a possibility of not having a Minyan (which is required for the reciting of Kaddish) it is a good idea to contact family, Jewish friends or Jewish neighbours in advance, to ensure that the required number of men will be present. Alternatively Kaddish may be said in the synagogue at the regular morning (Shacharit) service.
Please refer below for information regarding women and Kaddish.

The office will usually arrange for the Rabbi or a representative to attend services in the Shiva house and lead the prayers.