Defining the Stages of Jewish Mourning


There are distinctive stages of mourning in Judaism, aninut, shiva, shloshim, and the first year. While active mourning ends at the end of this period, honoring and remembrance continue over the course of time, both formally and informally. While many are impacted by one’s passing, immediate mourners are considered to be the spouse, parents, children, and siblings of the deceased.


Aninut refers to the period between a loved one’s passing and the burial. This time is traditionally twenty-four to forty-eight hours. This is considered pre-burial mourning.


Shiva is the seven-day period following a loved one’s burial. Some break shiva into two phases: The first 3-days may be considered a more intense period of mourning followed by the remaining 4 slightly less intense.


Shloshim refers to the entirety of the first 30-days after the burial of a loved one.

The First Year:

The first year refers to the entire Hebrew calendar year following a loved one’s passing. This mourning period is only observed by the children of the deceased.


Honoring the Deceased


Mourners continue to honor and commemorate the deceased long after the shiva period and the completion of the other stages of mourning. From the unveiling at the graveside to lighting candles and reciting prayers at the Yahrzeit and Yizkor, remembering loved ones remains a rich part of Jewish culture.

For resources on honoring the deceased, visit here

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