Permanent Memorials & Stones
Permanent memorials are a lasting legacy to remember your loved one. Cleveland Jewish Funerals can help guide families in choosing the right stone. Below, we list a few traditional Jewish customs regarding permanent memorialization and burial. Please contact us for more information and to discuss your options.
In Judaism, graves must be marked with a simple headstone, or Matzava. Although it is not required to have an unveiling or dedication service, many families choose to have some sort of ceremony when the grave marker is put in place. Traditionally, the headstone can be put into place anytime after Shloshim, but most families choose a time close to the first Yahrzeit.
Why a place to visit is important
To remember and to be remembered are natural human needs. A permanent memorial in a cemetery provides a focal point for remembrance and memorializing the deceased. Throughout human history, memorialization of the dead has been a key component of almost every culture. Psychologists say that remembrance practices, from the funeral or memorial service to permanent memorialization, serve an important emotional function for survivors by helping them bring closure and allowing the healing process to begin. Providing a permanent resting place for the deceased is a dignified treatment for a loved one’s mortal remains, which fulfills the natural human desire for memorialization.
Stones on Graves
It is a Jewish custom for those mourning to to place a single stone on top of the grave of a friend or loved one. The stones are typically found somewhere in the cemetery by those mourning.
There are several possible explanations for this custom:
Family Will Know Someone Visited
Stones being placed on a grave lets the family know that someone cared enough to visit the grave. It communicates that the loved one is still thought about and missed.
Honor the Deceased
The stones on a grave is a physical way to honor the deceased. Stones last longer physically than flowers. They are everlasting and permanent like the memory of the deceased.
It’s a Mitzvah
It is considered a mitzvah to mark a grave with a stone. Each mourner adds a stone to the collection on the grave.
No matter what they reason you have for following the Jewish tradition of laying stones on a grave, the tradition is special and brings comfort to those who mourn.