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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Funerals > Jewish Funeral

Jewish Funeral Cost


How Much Does a Jewish Funeral Cost?

 
low costLow: $500-$4,000average costMedium: $4,000-$6,000high costHigh: $10,000-$15,000
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A traditional Jewish funeral is simple, and not ostentatious. Cremation is not allowed under Jewish law, and in-ground burial should take place as soon as possible after death -- preferably within 24 hours, but definitely no more than two nights after the death. Typically, flowers and music are not considered appropriate, the body is not embalmed and there is no viewing or visitation. Caskets must be made of wood, with no metal parts.

Typical costs:

  • Because a Jewish funeral and burial is usually done as quickly and simply as possible (and without flowers, embalming or the use of cosmetics on the body), costs are generally lower than for a traditional Christian or secular funeral. Costs for a Jewish funeral are typically between $500 and $7,000. They average $4,000-$6,000 and can increase to $10,000-$15,000, depending almost entirely on the cost of the casket chosen. Typically basic funeral charges will include transferring the body to the funeral home and then to the funeral service and cemetery; preparing and casketing the body (usually with a traditional white linen shroud); a wood casket; arrangements for a graveside service; and the use of a hearse. The Jewish Burial Society[1] in Chicago offers a funeral package for $4,275-$4,650 (including a $500 contribution to the society); and Star of David Jewish Funeral Home[2] in New York offers complete Jewish funerals starting at $4,995 with a simple pine casket and ranging as high as $12,000-$13,000 with a casket of walnut or mahogany, with a velvet interior.
  • These funeral costs do not include the purchase price for the cemetery plot, which can be $250-$3,300 or more. Temple Beth David in Georgia has Jewish burial plots in a local cemetery for $1,400 each. Cemeteries also charge for opening and closing the grave, adding $350-$3,000 to the total costs, depending on location and whether it's a public or private cemetery. Some cemeteries require the use of a grave liner or burial vault, which cost $400-$1,000 or more. See How Much Does a Gravesite Cost, and How Much Does a Burial Vault Cost.
  • These prices may not include the honorarium for the services of the Rabbi. Often there is no charge for funerals for active members of the congregation or members of their family. Charges for families not actively affiliated with a synagogue will vary by location and the Rabbi. A committee of Rabbis in Southern California set a standard honorarium of $500 for ordained Rabbis officiating at a Jewish funeral for nonaffiliated families, according to The Jewish Journal[3] .
Related articles: Casket, Burial Vaults, Gravesites, Funeral Service, Funeral

What should be included:
  • Customs will differ depending on whether the deceased was connected to an Orthodox, Conservative or Reform synagogue. Traditionally, volunteers in a holy society called the Hevra Kadisha will supervise funerals in a Jewish community, assisting the bereaved family and ensuring that all appropriate practices are followed. This function can be carried out by a local Jewish cemetery society, or by funeral homes that follow Jewish customs and traditions. The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism provides a guide to conservative Jewish funeral practices[4] .
  • A funeral service may be held in the synagogue, a funeral home or at the gravesite. Typically, it is not considered appropriate to greet the bereaved family or offer condolences before the funeral or burial; this is considered a private time of grief. The service is usually brief and simple, typically including the chanting of psalms and the traditional memorial prayer, and a eulogy (hesped) honoring the deceased. After the service the family returns home for a seven-day period of mourning; friends usually wait until at least the third day to visit. MyJewishLearning.com provides guidelines for attending a Jewish funeral[5] .
Additional costs:
  • There can be additional charges for items not provided directly by the funeral home, such as a newspaper death notice or obituary (costs range from free to hundreds of dollars, depending on the publication) or certified copies of the death certificate ($5-$25 each). There will also be extra funeral home and cemetery fees for funerals performed on a Sunday or holiday.
Shopping for a jewish funeral:
  • Each funeral home is required to provide anyone inquiring about costs with a general price list. The nonprofit Funeral Consumers Alliance explains how to read a funeral home price list[6] .
  • To find a Jewish funeral home, check with the local synagogue, or search for members of the Jewish Funeral Directors of America[7] .
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Much more expensive services -- and not with top end casket!
Amount: $13,000.00
Posted by: Julie Woodbury, PhD in Minneapolis, MN.Posted: December 26th, 2016 06:12PM
Services Included: All traditional Jewish servicesFuneral Home/Mortuary: Hodroff-Epstein Memorial Chapel
My father died very recently. The services of the funeral home, including a casket towards the low end of the range, greatly exceeded your estimates.
As another observation, it is inappropriate to have an ad from the (Christian) American Bible Society on the page on which you are enumerating the costs of Jewish funerals.
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Affordable Jewish Funeral NYC
Amount: $895.00
Posted by: TaraNY in NYC, NY.Posted: May 4th, 2015 06:05AM
Services Included: Graveside serviceFuneral Home/Mortuary: NYC Funeral & Cremation Service
Dedicated to serve Jewish community in NYC with affordable prices. Plain pine casket cost $895.00
Beautiful service, respect, dignity, and followed all Jewish customs.
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Goldstein's, Philadelphia
Amount: $9,000.00
Posted by: Carol Brockmon in Philadelphia, PA.Posted: January 10th, 2013 01:01PM
Services Included: Chapel, pickup, burialFuneral Home/Mortuary: Mortuary
What a negative experience! They did not follow instructions. They were We aske for no makeup and a closed coffin. They made her up and left it open. were rude to the mourners several times, hurried, and not accommodating. Would not let us onto their wifi to skype in distant mourners.We felt badly ripped off.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.jewishburial.org/plans.html#cost
  2.  jewish-funeral-home.com/funeral-home-prices.html
  3.  www.jewishjournal.com/los_angeles/article/the_high_cost_of_dying_20080806/
  4.  www.uscj.org/guide_to_jewish_fune6211.html
  5.  www.myjewishlearning.com/life/Life_Events/Death_and_Mourning/Practical_Aspects/Going_to...
  6.  www.funerals.org/frequently-asked-questions/funeral-arrangements/28-arrangements/47-how...
  7.  www.jfda.org/SearchforFuneralChapel/tabid/59/Default.aspx
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