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What to do when a loved one dies

When a loved one is near death or has just passed away, it can feel overwhelming to navigate the next steps in addition to the sadness and grief you may already be experiencing. We hope that this guide will help to support you over the coming days. 

Are there steps I can take before a loved one dies?

Absolutely! Finding the right funeral home, choosing a cemetery and purchasing a burial plot, and finding out the wishes of your loved one can and should happen prior to their death whenever possible. Please note that both of our local, Jewish funeral homes are more than happy to meet with a family to provide guidance and record wishes in advance.

Who should I call first?

Your first call is to a funeral home. We highly recommend either of the two excellent Jewish funeral homes in our area, Berger Memorial or Rindskopf-Roth. Their staff will guide you through the next steps to ensure that your loved one’s body is cared for and that you can plan a meaningful service to lay them to rest.

Berger Memorial Chapel   l   314-361-0622   l  
Rindskopf-Roth Funeral Chapel   l   314-367-0438   l 

When do I call the Rabbi?

You can ask the funeral home to make the call for you, or you can call the Temple directly. In either case, a Rabbi will return your call as soon as possible (often within minutes).

How do I figure out all of the details about the funeral?

The staff at the funeral home and the Rabbi will help you think through each of these items. They will help you make decisions regarding:

  • The manner of burial/cremation/donation, and what is necessary for each of these (the funeral home helps with this aspect)
  • The timing and location of the service (funeral home coordinates with the Rabbi and cemetery based on the family’s preferences)
  • What should be included in the funeral service (the Rabbi will guide you through this)

How soon should the funeral happen?

Jewish tradition suggests that funerals happen as quickly as possible. This is both out of respect for the person who has died, and as a critical part of the mourning process. However, there are occasions when funerals cannot happen immediately. The funeral home and the Rabbi will work with you to help with all scheduling needs.

Should I do shiva?

This decision is different for everyone. The Rabbi will help you think through what is right for you.
Shivas are commonly held in the home of the person who passed away, but they are often hosted in other homes or spaces. If you're interested in hosting shiva at Temple Israel, reach out to Martina Stern at or 314-432-8050.

We are here beside you every step of the way.
Please know that you can and should feel free to call the Rabbis at any time and they will walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have. They are here for you.
Rabbi Amy Feder   l     l    314-432-8050
Rabbi Michael Alper   l    l     314-432-8050

Tue, June 25 2024 19 Sivan 5784