The synagogue bands together when congregants face loss. From Rabbi Ezray and Bill Futornick walking you through the steps of planning and preparing for a funeral and mourning, to the communal participation in shiva services - we are there for each other during this difficult time.
To notify Rabbi Ezray of a loss, please call 650-366-8481.
February 22, 2011 - Sol Weintraub
We regret to announce the death of our congregant Sol Weintraub, beloved husband of Mae Weintraub. We extend our deepest condolences to the Weintraub family.
February 15, 2011 - Charles Epstein
We regret to announce the death of Charles Epstein, brother of Ed (and Sandra), and uncle of Mimi Ezray. We extend our deepest condolences to the Epstein and Ezray families.
February, 2011 - Barbara Horowitz
We regret to announce the death of Barbara Horowitz, beloved mother of Jan Horowitz. We extend our deepest condolences to the Horowitz family.
January, 2011 - Robert Coleman
We regret to announce the death of Robert Coleman, beloved father of David Coleman. We extend our deepest condolences to David, Laurie, and Nicole.
January 19, 2011 - Rabbi Jeffrey Ballon
We regret to announce the death of Rabbi Jeffrey Ballon, brother of Yeshaya Ballon. We extend our deepest condolences to the Ballon family.
December 20, 2010 - Edward Jack Gladstone
We regret to announce the death of Edward Jack Gladstone, beloved father of Seth Gladstone. We extend our deepest condolences to Seth, Lorna, Benjamin, Nathan, and Jillian.
December, 2010 - Meir Moshe
We regret to announce the death of Meir Moshe, beloved father of Limor Wilks.
November 16, 2010 - Dr. Sam Rabinovitch
We regret to announce the death, at age 101, of Dr. Sam Rabinovitch, beloved father of Marlene Rabinovitch and father-in-law of Richard Bland.
November, 2010 - Johanna Lance
We regret to announce the death of Johanna Lance, beloved mother of Nicole Lance.
November 10, 2010 - Sylvia Edna Feder
We regret to announce the death of Sylvia Edna Feder, beloved sister of Frank Kushin.
October, 2010 - Carol Siegel
We extend our deepest condolences to Mark Siegel on the loss of his beloved mother.
October 27, 2010 - Jerry Gould
We extend our deepest condolences to Harry Gould on the loss of his beloved father.
October, 2010 - Zelda Solomon
We extend our deepest condolences to the Solomon family on the loss of Edward's beloved mother.
September 25, 2010 - Bernard Berkman
We extend our deepest condolences to the Berkman family on the loss of Norman's beloved brother.
September 10, 2010 - Judy Ackerman (Freespirit)
We extend our deepest condolences to the Ackerman family on the loss of the Joseph's beloved mother.
September, 2010 - Charles Girsky
We extend our deepest condolences to Tami Raubvogel and family on the loss of her beloved father.
August 31, 2010 - Beatrice Rubin
We extend our deepest condolences to David and Beverly Altman on the loss of David's beloved sister. She lived in the New York area.
July 3, 2010 - Mimi Arfin
We extend our deepest condolences on the death of Miriam "Mimi" Arfin, beloved wife of Bob Rebitzer, daughter of Bernie and Joanne Arfin, mother of Elana and Maya Rebitzer, sister of Joe Arfin and David Arfin (Maddie Chaleff), and aunt of Avi and Josh Arfin.
Mimi had a life-long connection to our synagogue community and was a member of our Board of Directors at the time of her death.
June 26, 2010 - Daniel Richards
We extend our deepest condolences Marvin and LaLa Richards on the loss of their beloved son.
June 13, 2010 - Oscar "Bud" Taylor
We extend our deepest condolences to the Taylor family on the loss of Bud. He was a long-time Beth Jacob member and will be missed by all.
June 4, 2010 - Selma Mallon
We extend our deepest condolences to Esther Sherman on the loss of her beloved mother.
May, 2010 - Mary Katz
We extend our deepest condolences to Susan Golovin and family on the loss of her beloved mother.
May, 2010 - Janet Fisher
We regret to announce the death of Janet Fisher, beloved wife of Louis Fisher and a long-time member of Beth Jacob. We extend our deepest condolences to the Fisher family.
May 29, 2010 - Hyman Gurman
We extend our deepest condolences to Barry Gurman and his family on the loss of his beloved father.
April 17, 2010 - Evan Ellison
We extend our deepest condolences to Judith, Samuel, and Talya on the loss of Judith's beloved father.
March 23, 2010 - Lily Kent
We extend our condolences to Lily's children and grandchildren, and to her many loving relatives and friends.
March, 2010 - Marco Meneses
We extend our deepest condolences to Astrid, David, Noemi, Joshua, and Raquel on the loss of Astrid's beloved father.
March, 2010 - Simone Robinson
We extend our condolences to William and to Simone's many loving family members and friends.
February, 2010 - Ora Saldinger
We extend our deepest condolences to Erez and Anne on the loss of Erez's beloved mother.
February 20, 2010 - George R. Berns
We extend our deepest condolences to Mara, David, Malia, and Ari on the loss of Mara's beloved father.
November 28, 2009 - Frank Mann
We extend our deepest condolences to Stuart, Jeanine, and Camille on the loss of Stuart's beloved father.
November 24, 2009 - Ted Fishman
Condolences to Laura Lefkowitz on the loss of her beloved stepfather.
November 29, 2009 - Marvin Zelinger
Condolences to Sheila, to Ray Girouard, and to their daughter Jacqueline on the loss of Sheila's beloved father.
October 4, 2009 - Viola Sommer
Condolences to Barbara and Alan and their family on the loss of Barbara's beloved mother.
September 11, 2009 - Bernard Holtz
Condolences to Barbara Rauchwerger and family on the loss of her beloved father.
August 9, 2009 - Bess Calic
Our deepest condolences to her children Dan, Elayne, Lorayne, and Richard; grandson Ryan; and many other dear family members and friends around the world.
July 27, 2009 - Gerry Stein
Condolences to Elliot Stein and family on the loss of his beloved father.
June 19, 2009 - Miriam Bernstein
Condolences to our congregant Shirley Brown on the loss of her beloved mother.
June, 2009 - Rene Reboh
Condolences to Kerstin Reboh on the loss of her beloved husband.
May 20, 2009 - Maureen Stern
Condolences to Raymond Stern and family on the loss of his beloved mother.
April 23, 2009 - Evelyn Evans
Condolences to Nancy Evans Wolf and family on the loss of her beloved mother.
April 5, 2009 - Elaine L. Shalowitz
Condolences to Jon Shalowitz and family on the loss of his beloved mother. The funeral and shiva were held in Maryland.
March 19, 2009 - Louise Weissman
Condolences to Beth Jacob member Ronald Weissman on the loss of his beloved mother, Louise Weissman.
March 11, 2009 - Sara Pepper
Condolences to the family of very-long-time member Sara Pepper.
February 8, 2009 - Nate Rosenberg
Condolences to Deborah Rosenberg and her family on the loss of Deborah’s beloved husband, Nate Rosenberg.
January 30, 2009 - Sally Bloom
Condolences to Cantor Barbara Powell and her family on the loss of Barbara’s beloved aunt, Sally Bloom.
January 31, 2009 - Cora Gordon
Condolences to the family of very-long-time Beth Jacob member, beloved Cora Gordon.
January 1, 2009 - Rachel Nelson
Condolences to Leah and Mervin Ezray, and Rabbi Nathaniel and Mimi Ezray on the loss of Leah’s beloved sister and Rabbi Ezray’s beloved aunt, Rachel Nelson.
December 22, 2008 - Graham Green
Condolences to Lee Green on the loss of her beloved husband, Graham Green. Click here to learn more about Graham Green.
December 20, 2008 - Frieda Goldberger
Condolences to Adrienne Weil on the loss of her beloved grandmother, Frieda Goldberger.
December 2, 2008, Bobbi Kurn
Condolences to Jeff and Lynn Kurn on the loss of Jeff’s beloved mother, Bobbi Kurn. Click here to learn more about Bobbi Kurn.
Nihum Avelim (comforting mourners) is considered one of the classic forms of kindness in Jewish tradition. Rabbi Hama, son of Rabbi Hanina, states in the Talmud that consoling mourners is one way for humans to fulfill the principle of "walking in God's ways," and the 12th-century sage Moses Maimonides writes that by comforting mourners, a Jew can fulfil the mitzvah (or commandment) "You shall love your neighbor as yourself". More generally, comforting mourners is a way of showing concern for those in distress, showing them that they are neither abandoned nor alone.
The mitzvah of comforting mourners begins after the burial. In talmudic and medieval times, those attending the burial would form a line outside the cemetery, and as the mourners would walk by this line, community members would console them. This practice is still followed in Israel and among traditional Jews in the diaspora. (According to traditional Jewish law, officially mourners are the deceased person's spouse, parents, children, and siblings.)
The most common time to console mourners is during shiv'ah ("seven"), the seven-day mourning period that follows burial. Visitors come to the "shiv'ah house," where the mourners are said to be "sitting shiv'ah." This is not a simple social visit; the aim is to show the mourner that one is concerned about his or her distress.
Concern for the mourner should be paramount. The Shulchan Arukh, the classic code of Jewish law (written by Rabbi Joseph Karo in the sixteenth century), states, "The consolers are not to speak until the mourner speaks. The mourner sits at the front of the room, and once he nods to indicate that the consolers should leave, they are not permitted to remain any longer".
One should visit the shiv'ah house of a mourner who is a friend or relative, a member of one’s community, or a mourner who has no other visitors. Ideally, one finds out during which hours the mourners want visitors, and the visitor should be careful not to tire the mourners, or engage them in small talk or conversation unrelated to their mourning.
The traditional sentences of consolation which conclude the shiv'ah visit (and are used in the cemetery line) are "May you be comforted from Heaven," in the Sephardic tradition, and "May God console you together with everyone who mourns for the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem," in Ashkenazic tradition.
In traditional communities, daily prayer services are held at the shiv'ah house. Attending those services is a good way to show concern for the mourners, since it ensures the presence of a minyan (a quorum of ten), which is required for the recitation of the Mourner’s Kaddish, one of several versions of this prayer sanctifying God’s name. It also serves to slowly help connect the mourner, who often has a more introverted psychological stance that is characteristic of mourning, with a sense of community.
Another way of showing concern is bringing food to the shiv'ah house; this ensures that the mourners do not have to cook meals for themselves. The rabbis of the Talmud ordained that these meals should not be brought in ostentatious platters and baskets; the purpose of the meals is to help the mourners, not to demonstrate the comforters' wealth.
There is a custom to comfort mourners who are sitting shiv'ah during Friday night services in synagogue. The mourners remain outside while the congregation reads or sings the psalms that welcome the Sabbath (Kabbalat Shabbat). Then the mourners enter the synagogue, and the congregation greets them with the traditional sentence of consolation.
When it is not possible to visit during shiv'ah, notes of condolence are a way of expressing concern and sympathy. When meeting someone who has lost a relative during the year following the death, one should say some sentence of consolation, but not after the year has passed.
Maimonides states that comforting mourners is not only a way of showing kindness to the mourners, but also of showing respect to the deceased.
The Shulhan Arukh rules that one should also comfort non-Jewish mourners. The ways in which this should be done are obviously different, but the principle of showing concern for someone who is in distress remains constant.