Between Shloshim and the Conclusion of the 12 Month Mourning Period

The last stage of mourning covers the period after Shloshim (thirty days after burial) until twelve months after the passing. These dates are calculated following the Jewish calendar.

When mourning a parent, all mourning restrictions continue as during the Shloshim, except for some exceptions as noted below. When mourning all other relatives, the mourning period concludes with the Shloshim.

Between the end of Shloshim and the 12 months:

  1. One may bathe and shower for pleasure.

  2. One may take a haircut after his friends reprimand him and tell him to cut his hair (approximately three months from his last haircut).

  3. One may attend a Brit Milah (circumcision of a child), Pidyon Haben (redemption of the firstborn son), Bar Mitzva, T'noim (engagement), and a Siyum (celebration upon completion of a tractate of Mishna or Talmud), but one should not remain for the meal. Consult a competent rabbi for complete guidance.

  4. One may attend the wedding of a relative, but should not sit at the head table, nor remain in the room when music is playing or when people are dancing. Consult a competent rabbi for complete guidance.

Additional Observances

  1. Males mourning a parent are obligated to recite the Mourner's Kaddish during the daily prayer services for eleven months, less one day (a month and a day before the Yartzeit).

  2. One should incorporate a new mitzva or commit to better his observance of a mitzva, in honor of the soul of the deceased.

  3. One should also inspire his children to do the same. The merit of this is so great that it is even considered more beneficial to the departed soul than reciting mourner's Kaddish.

  4. When performing any deed in honor of the departed, some have the custom to say "I am doing this in merit of the soul of [his/her Hebrew name, and that of the father]."

  5. Some have the custom to donate Jewish books to the local synagogue or Jewish school and to inscribe in them the Hebrew name of the deceased and that of his or her father. This is so that all who learn from the books will bring merit to the soul of the loved one.

  6. One should give extra charity during the months of mourning. It is also customary to place several coins in a charity box before and after prayers each day.

  7. Some make sure to have a candle lit in the synagogue or home every day for the first twelve months, to honor the soul of the deceased.

  8. At the conclusion of the eleventh month, some offer a L'Chayim in the synagogue (some kosher schnapps or whiskey and cake) for we are taught that the soul's judgment is concluded on that day.

  9. Some have the custom when writing the name of the deceased in a letter, to add הריני כפרת משכבו, or הכ''מ (I accept to be an atonement for his passing).