Visiting the Cemetery
Visiting the grave of a loved one opens us up and makes us realize that we need help in many aspects of life. We pray to God at these times and ask our loved one to be an advocate on our behalf.
While visitation is permitted at almost any time, it is considered especially appropriate to visit the graves of loved ones at naturally reflective times when a person is focused on what is really important in life:
• On the seventh day, after ending the restrictions of shiva
• On the sheloshim, the 30th day of mourning
• On the completion of the first 12 months of mourning
• On the yahrzeit, the anniversary of the death, every year
• the day before Rosh Hashanah
• the day before Yom Kippur
(please note that Jewish cemeteries are usually closed on the Sabbath and holidays)
You may wnat to recite a meaningful psalm or poem during a visit to the gravesite. Traditional Jews may study a short passage from the Mishnah [an early rabbinic legal code] or recite "El Malei Rahamim."
It is not a Jewish custom to bring flowers to the cemetery. It is a Jewish custom to place a simple stone on the grave marker during each visit. The stone is a symbol of eternity, representing our eternal devotion to uphold the memory of our beloved...our connection lives on and will never die.
Rabbi Goldie Milgram provides more information about this custom.