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The Periods of Mourning

The Periods of Mourning

  1. The day of passing. The family members focus on ensuring a timely and proper Jewish burial. Many calculate the date of the annual Yartzeit from the date of passing.

  2. The day of the burial. General mourning commences once the burial is complete and the grave is closed. The dates for Shiva (the first seven days) and Shloshim (the thirtieth day) are calculated from this day (i.e. if the burial was on Tuesday, the Shiva will end the following Monday morning - the seventh day, and the Shloshim will conclude in the morning, twenty- three days after Shiva). Some calculate the date of the second (and every future) Yartzeit from the date of burial. One should follow the custom of his community, or ask a competent rabbi for guidance.

  3. The first three days. These are days in which the mourning is at its highest intensity. Activities that may be permitted during the rest of Shiva are not permitted during these days.

  4. The first seven days (Shiva). This is the most commonly known period of mourning. The mourners gather for the entire seven days to mourn and pray, and to be consoled by visitors.

  5. From Shiva to Shloshim. The period between the end of Shiva until the thirtieth day. Some restrictions of mourning are reduced, but mourning is still considerably intense. Many erect the tombstone on the day following Shiva.

  6. The thirtieth day (Shloshim). The thirtieth day from burial. Some restrictions of mourning are further reduced. Many visit the gravesite on this day. Some make a gathering for family and friends. Some erect the tombstone on this day.

    7) The first year. From Shloshim until the Yartzeit anniversary. During this period many of the restrictions of the first thirty days are removed but many carry on for the duration of the first year. For parents, Kaddish is recited for eleven months, less one day.

  7. The anniversary (Yartzeit). The annual date of passing. On this day mourning is officially complete. Many visit the gravesite on this day, and the Mourner's Kaddish is recited.

The Importance of Consulting a Rabbi

Details regarding the observance of each period are provided in the following pages. However, it is very important to consult a competent rabbi for thorough guidance.

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