Each culture, faith, and religion have different traditions, customs, and rituals relating to mourning, burial, and visitation practices. If you have had a friend that is of the Jewish faith pass away and have never been to a shiva before, you may be wondering how best to express your condolences to their family and friends. Below are three things you may want to consider to help the family get through this difficult time.
When the family returns home from the cemetery, they have a private meal with only close family members. For the rest of the shiva, the family, friends, and community takes on the responsibility of providing food for the grieving family. In some cases, you can only visit the home at certain times of the day or night. You can provide food in two different ways:
A shiva basket is a customary condolence gift in Judaism to bring to the family that is sitting shiva. This is because it is rare for someone to leave a shiva before the week long mourning period is over. This basket contains a variety of food to provide nourishment for the family. Some appropriate food items to put in your basket includes assorted chocolates, dried fruit, fruit, nuts, desserts, and baked goods.
Another acceptable way to send food to the Jewish family is by sending a shiva tray. This tray contains sweets, fruit, salads, fish, and other meats. Along with the platter, you can arrange to have a meal catered to the family. This meal will include the main meal along with a desert.
Other Condolence Gifts
There are also some other condolence gifts you can give to the mourning family. These gifts include making a shiva phone call to the family, which includes calling and visiting. Other appropriate gifts are to provide your assistance in running errands to the family, or have a tree planted in Israel. You would be provided with a certificate that you would give to the family. A sympathy card with a handwritten message is also appropriate. Donations that will provide for the family during the shiva are also suitable.
Before you send a shiva basket or platter tray to the family, check on their food and dietary requirements first. For example, someone there may have diabetes or other type of disease that prohibits them from eating certain foods. This way you can provide extra food for these people.