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Funerals/Remembrance stones at Jewish gravesite


Last year my uncle passed away and it is almost a year since his funeral.  My aunt is going to have an unveiling on his anniversary, but I am worried that this time I might not be able to attend because of financial reasons.  I know the practice of leaving a memorial stone if you visit the gravesite and would do so if able to visit his grave personally.  However, if I am not able to go, is it inappropriate to ask my aunt to leave a memorial stone for me?  I was wanting to personalize one for him and mail it to her to place on the grave from my daughters and I, but don't want to send it if it would be rude to ask that of her or if it is truly only okay to have one left by someone if you are in person at the gravesite.  Thank you for your time.

Dear Dawn,

It is perfectly acceptable to ask your aunt or anyone else who will be an the unveiling to leave a stone for you. I would not suggest that you personalize anything because of the likelihood that it will be lost or stolen. I hope you get to visit your uncle's grave site in the future.


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Rabbi Sue Levy


I will be happy to answer questions about Jewish customs and beliefs relating to death and mourning and how these are observed by the different movements in the Jewish community. I can discuss the content of the Jewish funeral service as well as options from which you may choose. I can also suggest some important questions which one may want to ask a rabbi or funeral director when planning a funeral service.


I have been a rabbi for twenty-seven years and have served congregations in the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements. I taught an undergraduate course in Death and Dying at Temple University in Philadelphia and have taught classes in Jewish mourning customs in numerous locations. I am also a widow. My experience as a mourner enabled me to see, in a very practical way, which of the traditions, "worked" for me and which did not. One of the most important things I learned is that, even for Jews who do not accept the authority of Jewish law, many of the traditional practices have enormous psychological wisdom. I can offer both an educated an sympathetic ear.

Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Houston Rabbinical Association, Rabbis for Human Rights, Southern Poverty Leadership Council

BA., Political Science, Temple University, 1965 MA, Religion, Temple University, 1983 MAHL (Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters), 1986, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Wyncote, PA Rabbinic Ordination, 1986, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Awards and Honors
D.D. Doctor of Divinity, (honorus causa), 2011, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

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