The deceased may not be left alone before burial. As noted previously, the watching over of the deceased may be performed by a relative or by any other person, preferably an observant Jew who will recite portions from the Book of Psalms. This can be arranged by the funeral director or the rabbi.

The "wake" is definitely alien to Jewish custom, and its spirit does violence to Jewish sensitivity and tradition. The custom of visiting the funeral parlor on the night before interment to comfort the mourners and to view the remains is clearly a Christian religious practice, and not merely an American folkway. In Judaism, which requires no additional ceremonies to buttress its own authentic millennial customs, respect to the dead is not paid by viewing their remains, for it is, as we have said, rather offensive. And it is futile to attempt to comfort the mourners when their dead lie before them in the chapel. The place for offering condolences is at home, during the seven special days of mourning called shiva.

In addition, the wake is often reduced to the level of a social gathering. The conversation is often inane, and the evening has the barest facade of dignity. The family itself must suffer prolonged hours of trivial chatter in the face of terrible grief.

The wake, therefore, should be discouraged at Jewish funerals, under any and all circumstances.