Article Discussion: How to Pay A Shiva Call

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April 10, 2009 at 4:10 pm #833


Click here to read the article: How to Pay A Shiva Call

November 5, 2010 at 10:14 pm #5190

Karen DeCease

This was very helpful to me as my best friend (christian) lost her husband (Jewish) to brain cancer. I am not familiar with sitting Shiva and this article gave me the confidence to face the family and friends without being or feeling awkward. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. Ryan, my friend, was only 40 years old. He has a son the age of 10. It is a very difficult time, and I pray for the family. I hope you will say a prayer as well. Again, thank you.

November 10, 2010 at 4:57 pm #5204

Peter Cottontail

This article was very informative and well written. Thanks for the information and letting me know what to expect when my family pays a Shiva call tomorrow.

December 15, 2010 at 4:32 pm #5309


I was hoping to read what one should wear. I’m female and non-Jewish, and I simply need to know. Thanks.

December 15, 2010 at 4:45 pm #5311

InterfaithFamily Administrator


I would suggest conservative casual or business casual attire. 


Robin Schwartz
Network Director

January 28, 2011 at 5:03 am #5437

Susan Barnes

Nicely written!

March 7, 2011 at 7:19 pm #5571

Bob Dinerstein

While I do not have the benefit of Rabbi Kohn’s rabbinical training, I must take issue with the atmosphere of the shiva house as he describes it. It is not a party and should not be permitted to deteriorate into one.

Jewish law says that when one returns from the cemetery they are not to eat their own food. It was not intended to be, nor should it be, a buffet for those paying their condolences. Additionally, the purpose of the shiva visit is to give support to the mourners and it is offensive that for many it has evolved into an occasion to socialize and be merry. Isaiah, @ 40:1, tells us that the obligation to comfort mourners is not perfunctory “Comfort ye, Comfort ye, my people” and the Talmud teaches us that “[T]he greatest reward is bestowed upon all who know how to be silent in a house of mourning”. Since all too often words cannot adequately convey the depth of sympathy a comforter wishes to convey, and, therefore, what is said is shallow, it is best to say nothing except that one should be prepared to respond to the mourner and let the mourner set the tone for any convertsation.

I, for one, find it offensive when I make a shiva call to find people who are “paying their condolences” spending a moment or two with the mourners and then rushing to the “buffet table” [food intended for the mourners] to eat and then gathering in a corner to discuss the stock market, baseball, etc.

Rabbi I think that you have mislead many who have relied on your advice and, thereby, have done a grave dis-service to mourners.

March 12, 2011 at 4:13 pm #5596


With all due respect, I don’t believe the Rabbi was implying that the event should deteriorate into a party atmosphere, but that it is important to acknowledge that life is also continuing for those the deceased leaves behind. I certainly agree that people shouldn’t rush the “buffet” and hunker in a corner discussing business, sports, etc. That would be disrespectful in any setting of mourning. I am not Jewish, but work in a somehwhat Jewish milieu, and I find this information to be helpful.

March 31, 2011 at 1:37 pm #5671


Thank you for your beautifully written article. I found your words comforting – putting me at ease as a non-Jewish woman who will be attending Shiva in the upcoming days. I was at a loss of what to do, what to say, what to think and feel better prepared because of your words. Thank you for instilling a sense of calm around this unfortunate time.

April 1, 2011 at 6:33 pm #5678


Very helpful. I will be attending Shiva in the next few days and did not know what was protocol. I hope our Jewish friends will forgive the fauz pas’ of Christians during times like these. We wish to be supportive. Your article will help.

May 18, 2011 at 7:04 pm #5796


Thank you for your informative article.

May 22, 2011 at 6:21 pm #5805


Very nice article. Please allow me to take this opportunity to introduce to you and other readers where more information about sitting Shiva can be found, as well as free resources for mourners and their family.

May 26, 2011 at 2:29 am #5812


I found your comments very helpful….very informative. I will use your advice tomorrow as I’m visiting a friend whose sister-in-law has passed suddenly. Thank you for your help.

May 30, 2011 at 5:05 pm #5820


Thank you for your article. A dear friend’s mother just passed away and I wanted to better understand the protocol for food, beverage, attire and customs for sitting Shiva. I feel more comfortable now in planning meals for them.

June 7, 2011 at 11:16 am #5838


Hard not to feel very sorry for yourself when you lose a friend, be it a relative or not. Dressing up is a sure sign of personal respect and for their faith.

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