Frequently Asked Questions
A funeral is a ceremony for a deceased person prior to burial or cremation. A funeral gives the opportunity for family and friends of the deceased to gather and mourn the passing of their loved one, to share cherished memories and celebrate their life. It is a vital first step to help the bereaved heal.
Unless the funeral services have been pre-arranged, the type of service is entirely up to you. Services are usually held at a funeral home or a place of worship, but outdoor venues can often be accommodated. We offer a wealth of different services, encompassing traditional Jewish religious funerals, interfaith services, military burial services, and less-traditional celebrations of life. The experienced funeral directors at Feldman Mortuary will work with you to determine the most appropriate options.
We believe that, just as every life is unique, every funeral service should be personalized in some way. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate somebody’s life. Let your funeral director know your thoughts—we will do everything in our power to honor your wishes.
Dress conservatively, and remember you may have to walk to the gravesite or stand for extended periods, so choose comfortable footwear. For men, a head covering (yarmulke or kippah) is customary. Wear clothing appropriate for the weather; here in Colorado, where weather can be unpredictable, consult the local Denver forecast to know what to expect.
Jewish funeral services tend to last between 30 – 60 minutes, depending on the type of service, the number of people who may wish to speak, and other factors. Funerals tend to start on time, so try to be prompt.
No, but if you can, you should. Being there at this emotional time can be a source of great comfort to the mourners. If driving in the funeral procession, follow the lead of the officials directing traffic. Turn on your headlights and stay in the procession to the cemetery, following the directions of any police officers that may be accompanying the hearse.
Yes. Feldman Mortuary serves individuals in our community across the spectrum of religious observance. We will work with you to plan a service that accurately reflects your beliefs.
Absolutely. Your presence will be welcomed. Just be aware that Jewish burial traditions often leave little time for advance notice – Jewish funerals are typically held within the first 24 hours following the death.
It is highly recommended to have an obituary notice placed in a local newspaper or online. An obituary lets the public know that a death has occurred, and gives them information about the service. Obituaries generally include the deceased’s full name, age, city and date of birth and the city they were living in when they died. It also includes the name of the deceased’s spouse and anyone else significant in their lives, such as parents, children or grandchildren. Space may be limited in a newspaper obituary, but you may include a short blurb on the life and legacy of the deceased. An online obituary or memorial website offers the opportunity to add more details about the deceased.
Funeral directors are in charge of all the logistics following a death. They complete all the necessary paperwork, make arrangements for the transportation of the body, and put into action the choices made by the family in regards to the funeral service and the final resting place of the body. Beyond the logistics, funeral directors are there to provide moral support and guidance for someone coping with death.
Feldman Mortuary is here to help, with funeral directors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
We can help. We can arrange to have the remains transported home from anywhere in the world. We will assume responsibility and make the proper arrangements to have the remains return to the community.
The cost of a funeral depends on the extent of your wishes. In the Denver metro area, the average cost of a funeral service and burial is between $4,000-$7,000. The cost includes all professional services, including transportation, preparation, the use of a facility for the ceremony, and the purchase of a casket or urn.
Funerals are labor intensive, requiring a lot of work from an experienced team of people. The cost of a funeral goes beyond merchandise such as caskets; it includes the services of a funeral director in making the necessary arrangements, filling out forms and dealing with all the other people involved in the death, such as doctors, lawyers and insurance companies. Funeral directors work an average of 40 hours per funeral. Funeral homes are a 24 hour operation, with extensive facilities that need to be maintained and secured, and the cost of operations is factored into the cost as well.
Let us know—we'll do everything we can to make it right. We strive to provide unparalleled service, delivered with genuine compassion. If you are concerned with any part of your experience, please get in touch with us immediately, so we can act quickly to address the issue.
In addition, funeral services in the United States is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, which can be reached at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357), or you can fill out a form online at www.ftc.gov. You may also contact the Office of Funeral Home and Crematory Registration, Division of Registrations, Department of Regulatory Agencies at 303-894-7800 or email at Registrations@dora.state.co.us.
Opening and closing fees can include up to and beyond 50 separate services provided by the cemetery. Typically, the opening and closing fee includes administration and permanent record keeping (determining ownership, obtaining permission and the completion of other documentation which may be required, entering the interment particulars in the interment register, maintaining all legal files); opening and closing the grave (locating the grave and laying out the boundaries, excavating and filling the interment space); installation and removal of the lowering device; placement and removal of artificial grass dressing and coco-matting at the grave site, leveling, tamping, re-grading and sodding the grave site and leveling and re-sodding the grave if the earth settles
No. The actual opening and closing of the grave is just one component of the opening and closing fee. Due to safety issues which arise around the use of machinery on cemetery property and the protection of other gravesites, the actual opening and closing of the grave is conducted by cemetery grounds personnel only.
To remember and to be remembered are natural human needs. Virtually every culture throughout human history has memorialized the dead. Psychologists say that remembrance practices such as a funeral or memorial service, and creating a permanent memorial or marker all serve an important emotional function for survivors by helping them bring closure and allowing the healing process to begin. A permanent memorial in a cemetery provides a focal point for remembrance and memorializing the deceased, which fulfills the natural human desire to be remembered.
When a cemetery runs out of land, it will continue to operate and serve the community. Most cemeteries have crematoriums, and some historic cemeteries even offer guided tours.
We think of cemetery lands as being in perpetuity. There are cemeteries throughout the world that have been in existence for hundreds of years.
While Jewish burial traditions and customs encourage rapid burial—same day or next day—there is no secular law that states a specific time from for burial. Considerations that will affect timeline include the need to secure all permits and authorizations, notification of family and friends, preparation of cemetery site and religious considerations. Public health laws may have limitations on the maximum length of time allowed to pass prior to final disposition. Contact Feldman Mortuary for more details.
No. Embalming is a choice which depends on factors such as if there is to be an open casket viewing of the body or if there is to be an extended time between death and internment. Public health laws may require embalming if the body is going to be transported by air or rail.
Some cemeteries offer interment in lawn crypts or entombment in mausoleums, and most provide options for those who have selected cremation. These often include placement of cremated remains in a niche of a columbarium or interment in an urn space.
These are the outside containers into which the casket is placed. Burial vaults are designed to protect the casket and may be made of a variety or combination of materials including concrete, stainless steel, galvanized steel, copper, bronze, plastic or fiberglass. A grave liner is a lightweight version of a vault which simply keeps the grave surface from sinking in.
Emanuel Cemetery, within the grounds of Fairmount Cemetery, is the only Jewish cemetery which requires a burial vault. Other larger cemeteries in the Denver Metro area have regulations that require the use of a basic grave liner for maintenance and safety purposes. Either a grave liner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements. Some smaller rural cemeteries do not require use of a container to surround the casket in the grave.
We do, including complete memorial services. Find out more about the cremation services we offer for the Denver community here.
Cremation is the process of reducing the human body to bone fragments--typically using high heat and flame. New options, such as water cremation and body composting, offer gentler and more environmentally friendly alternatives that are rapidly gaining popularity.
No, a casket is not required. Most states require an alternative container constructed of wood or cardboard, while in other states, no container is required.
No. In fact, it is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise.
Yes. We not only allow, but strongly encourage immediate family members to briefly view the deceased prior to cremation.
Yes. Many cremation providers allow family members to be present when the body is placed in the cremation chamber. Some religious groups even include this as part of their funeral custom.
No. Currently, Denver's rabbis do not allow ashes to be present in the synagogue. However, our chapel will allow the ashes to be displayed during a service, in accordance on the rabbi's final decision.
While laws vary state by state, for the most part remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or a cremation garden, interred in a columbarium, kept at home or scattered. Our local rabbinic community strongly suggests a family bury the cremated remains for a number of reasons. The most important; closure. There is both research and personal stories that share how important burial of cremated remains is for the surviving family.
All reputable cremation providers have developed rigorous sets of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize the level of service and minimize the potential for human error. Since it is illegal to perform more than one cremation at a time, and the vast majority of crematories can only cremate one body at a time, it is virtually impossible to receive the incorrect remains.
It all depends on the weight of the individual. For an average sized adult, cremation can take two to three hours at a normal operating temperature of between 1,000 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fire remains resemble coarse sand and are light grey and ashey in color. Water cremation remains resemble that of flour or powder, and can also return some clean, liquified remains for a watering ceremony or other use. The full remains of an average sized adult usually weigh between 7 and 8 pounds.
With body composting there are no “remains”, at least as they are traditionally thought of. Instead, the body is completely broken down, becoming one with the natural materials surrounding it. The result is a substantial quantity of rich, nutrient-dense soil that can be used for nonedible plants, flowers and trees or scattered safely virtually anywhere.
With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.
An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or if the remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not purchased or provided by the family, some or all of the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary container.
Water cremation uses a gentle alkali solution like that found in liquid soap to quickly break down the body inside a pressurized chamber. This method consumes far less energy and is environmentally superior to fire cremation.
With body composting, the body is gently wrapped in straw or other natural materials, promoting molecular breakdown and rapid decomposition in a few months. This method releases no toxins into the air and uses only a fraction of the energy of fire cremation.
For fire and water cremation, it depends on the weight of the individual. For an average sized adult, fire cremation can take two to three hours at a normal operating temperature of between 1,000- and 2,000-degrees Fahrenheit. Water cremation is similar, taking several hours in the warm alkali bath. Body composting is a longer process, usually taking several months to reduce an average size body to compostable soil.
Shiva is a seven-day period of mourning and prayer for Jewish families of the deceased. It begins immediately after the burial. Members of the community gather, typically in the home of the deceased, to comfort the family, to pray and share memories of the loved one.
Be present. Be supportive. Be patient. Jewish tradition encourages that visitors remain silent and wait until the mourner speaks first. Often silence can be very healing and soothing to those in deep emotional pain. Be willing to simply sit in silence, perhaps holding the mourner’s hand, sharing a smile, communicating without words your concern and caring.
No words can truly take away grief, so it is often best to just listen. Your presence and acceptance is often more important than your advice. Do not attempt to change topic or divert mourners from speaking about the painful feelings. If they wish to cry, let them. Never attempt to stop the tears with statements like “be strong”. Tears are not a sign of weakness; they are simply an indication of grief, and the funeral, Shiva, and subsequent mourning periods are the time for grief.
Ask questions that will allow the mourner to talk with you about their grief. The Shiva is the ideal time for reminiscing and reflecting on the life of the person who has recently died. Do not hesitate to talk about the deceased—their memory is very much alive in the hearts and minds of loved ones. Share your own stories. This is an ideal time to bring out family photographs which evoke many pleasant moments of the past. Memories are treasures for the mourners who long for the dead person.
If you are feeling sad, share your tears. If you see humor in a certain memory, laugh. Laughter is a good way to regain energy, but do not use it as a distraction or to undermine the importance of grieving.
The paradox of being in mourning is that often the very person who would provide comfort in such a time of emotional distress is the very person who is so badly missed. The person who would hug, hold and console the mourner is no longer available and neither are the hugs. If you have a close relationship with the bereaved, do not hesitate to hold, hug or at least touch them. Holding helps an individual feel temporarily safe and secure; a touch can be worth more than words.
Grief can make people feel as if they are losing their minds; it makes them say and do things that are unusual for them. If you can accept what they're feeling and expressing without passing judgment, you will communicate that you care about them unconditionally.
Grief can make daily living a burden. During and following Shiva, you can assist by providing meals, organizing a minyan, carpooling, grocery shopping or helping the mourner seek legal advice. Help the the grieving survivor, but allow them to remain in charge of their own lives. If you take on their responsibilities, they are left with less of a reason to carry on.
Grief is a process of adapting to change rather than “recovering”. Be patient in allowing relatives or friends to “get over” their grief after Shiva. Jewish tradition prescribes saying Kaddish for the deceased for up to eleven months; it usually takes at least that long for a mourner to feel like himself or herself again. At times it can be difficult to be in the company of a person who is experiencing acute emotional pain. However, in the face of suffering, your patience and compassion will make difference in their healing process.
Copyright 1994 Michael Chas. Benjamin, Benjamin Institute for Community Education and Referral
Jewish tradition says that a grave should be marked as soon as possible. However, a headstone or marker can take up 4 months to complete. The service of unveiling or commemoration is a formal dedication of the monument, in which there is a formal removal of a veil, cloth, or handkerchief draped over the stone. It symbolizes the completion of the tombstone.
It is customary to hold the unveiling within the first year after death. It can be held at anytime between the end of shivah and the first yahrzeit. Unveilings are held on specific days when grave visitations may be made, in all weather and precisely on time.
While a rabbi typically performs the service, the physical unveiling may be performed by anyone the family designates.
Unveiling cards often are sent to friends and family several weeks in advance of the date. One should be sent to the officiating rabbi as well. Care should be taken to record the precise location of the grave and specific and clear instructions on how to reach the cemetery and the gravesite.
Yizkor is Hebrew for "remembrance". The Yizkor is a memorial prayer services held four times a year: during Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot.
Jewish tradition says that we can help elevate the soul of the departed by remembering the deceased, doing good deeds and giving to charity in their name, and by reciting the Yizkor. For mourners, the Yizkor provides a time to reflect upon and honor the memory of their loved ones.
There are no religious requirements. The only imperative is that there be a clear, visible demarcation of the gravesite. Of course, good taste and dignity should be in mind when selecting a monument. Symbols such as a Star of David, the Tablets of the Law, or an open Torah scroll also can be sculpted on a monument. The cost of the monument is usually determined by the lettering, carving, ornamentation, and finish, rather than by the size alone.
Jewish funeral customs dictate that the we hold the unveiling within the first year after death. It can be held at anytime between the end of shivah and the first yahrzeit. See more information on unveiling.
- The name of the cemetery and the exact location of the plot
- The deceased’s full English names
- The full Hebrew name of the deceased and his or her father
- The date of birth (optional)
- The date of death (and the approximate hour of death if death occurred near twilight to determine the exact date).
- The relationship to family: mate, parent, grandparent, friend, etc.
- Jewish status: Kohen or Levi
With a green burial, the body is interred without the use of toxic chemicals common in embalming. The deceased is laid to rest in a casket made of natural, biodegradable materials, or just wrapped in a simple cloth shroud. The idea is to put the body in contact with the earth. Without embalming, the body breaks down naturally over time.
Depending on the cemetery or other approved burial site, a casket made of natural materials may be required or suggested. In others, no casket is required. Instead, the body is wrapped in a cloth shroud for burial.
No. And it’s against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise.
Yes. Just as with any other type of funeral service or celebration of life, we strongly encourage immediate family members to view the deceased prior to burial.
While laws vary state by state, typically, remains can be buried in a cemetery plot in cemeteries that accept green burials. Local laws will impact where you may bury a body outside of a cemetery setting, with rural settings often accepting more relaxed practices. Some jurisdictions permit burial on property you may own, with restrictions. Check your local ordinances. In all cases, traditional headstones or markers are not used, replaced by naturally found stones, plantings and other natural materials that may be used to unobtrusively mark the site.
Green burial services are comparable to other burial services in terms of time.
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"I know listening, having compassion and asking the right questions are only a small part of your job, BUT going through this process can only at least for me, make it more comfortable. Thank you for your gentleness in performing, your very professional job.
With heartfelt thanks,"
- Lynn F.
The death of a loved one is among the most difficult circumstances any of us will face. We’re here to help you through this challenging time. With compassion and deep experience, we’ll help you make informed choices and guide you through the many details of preparing for a funeral service or celebration of life.
If a death has occurred, call us at (303) 322-7764, anytime, day or night. For preplanning and other longer-term needs, use our contact form and we’ll get back to you quickly during regular business hours.