Contact Info

General enquiries:

For general enquiries, please contact the Northwood Synagogue office on:

Tel: 01923 820004
Fax: 01923 820020



21-23 Murray Road

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If death is anticipated within a few days then you may wish to contact the Rabbi to talk about what to do.

If someone dies

1. Notify one of the burial offices IMMEDIATELY and leave a contact phone number. Please call the shul office and also contact Rabbi Freedman 07531 326289

United Synagogue Burial Office - 020 8950 7767

If the Burial Offices are closed and you would like to speak to someone please call 07957 119 119 (this service is not available on Shabbat or Yom tov)

2. Notify the Rabbi (and Voluntary Chevra Kadisha if your synagogue has one). This is optional as the burial office will do this.

3. Obtain a death certificate from the doctor or hospital, stating the cause of death.

4. Take the death certificate to the Registrar for Births and Deaths. It must be the Registrar in the vicinity where the death occurred.

5. Phone the Burial Office once you have been issued with the relevant documentation. The burial office will advise what to do next.

6. Once funeral arrangements have been made the burial office will contact the Synagogue Administrator who will assist with shiva chairs and prayer books and liaise with the Rabbi about the funeral and shiva. If you wish, you may contact your own Minister.

7. Speak personally with the Rabbi about the funeral service and shiva arrangements.

8. Notify family and friends of the arrangements.


Mourner's Kaddish in phonetics:       

Yit-ga-dal v'yit-ka-dash sh'mei ra-ba,
b'al-ma di-v'ra chi-ru-tei, v'yam-lich mal-chu-tei
b'chai-yei-chon uv'yo-mei-chon
uv'chai-yei d'chol-beit Yis-ra-eil,
ba-a-ga-la u-viz-man ka-riv,
v'im'ru: A-mein.

Y'hei sh'mei ra-ba m'va-rach
l'a-lam ul'al-mei al-ma-ya.

Yit-ba-rach v'yish-ta-bach,
v'yit-pa-ar v'yit-ro-mam v'yit-na-sei,
v'yit-ha-dar v'yit-a-leh v'yit-ha-lal, sh'mei d'ku-d'sha, b'rich hu,
l'ei-la min kol bir-cha-ta v'shi-ra-ta,
tush-b'cha-ta v'ne-che-ma-ta, da-a-mi-ran b'al-ma,
v'im'ru: A-mein.

Y'hei sh'la-ma ra-ba min sh'ma-ya,
v'cha-yim, a-lei-nu v'al kol-Yis-ra-eil,
v'im'ru: A-mein.

O-seh sha-lom bim-ro-mav,
hu ya-a-seh sha-lom a-lei-nu v'al kol-Yis-ra-eil,
v'im'ru: A-mein.

Preparing the Shiva house prior to the funeral

A candle should burn throughout the shiva period. These can be bought at Jewish delicatessens and bookshops. Some burn for one day, some for three or seven days; there is no rule as to which should be used.
Two candles in candlesticks should burn during every prayer service. These may be extinguished at the conclusion of prayers and used more than once.
It is the custom to cover the mirrors in the home of the mourner, in the rooms that he/she will use (there is no need to cover television screens), The coverings can be removed for Shabbat.
Mourners are the parents, brothers/sisters, spouse or children of the deceased. These are the only people for whom the laws of mourning apply. If other relatives, such as stepchildren or adopted children wish to be considered as mourners, they must consult the Rabbi.
All mourners should have non-leather footwear ready to put on after the funeral, which should be worn throughout the shiva.
All mourners should sit on low chairs, which will be supplied by the synagogue. If mourners have problems sitting on low chairs they should consult the Rabbi.
The synagogue will provide prayer books for the services and a book detailing the customs and laws of mourning.

Preparing for the funeral

All mourners are expected to tear items of clothing, which symbolizes the permanent rent that has taken place in their lives. This is called 'Kriah'. 'Kriah' is sometimes done as soon as the mourner hears of the death, but since there are specific rules as to the method of 'Kriah' it is normally done at the burial grounds prior to the funeral or, for mourners not attending the cemetery, at the shiva house. In the case of the latter, guidance should be sought from the Rabbi who will be able to offer assistance with 'Kriah'. These items are then worn throughout the shiva period, except for Shabbat. It is sensible not to wear good or new clothes for this purpose. Garments that are torn include: a suit jacket, cardigan or sweater and shirts or blouses but not a tie or scarf.
It is not our custom to require mourners to wear black at funerals or during the shiva. Likewise flowers are not sent to the funeral.
People should be dressed modestly (as they would when visiting a synagogue). Men and married women need to have suitable head covering.
Recently, close family members have been permitted to speak at the funeral. This should be coordinated with the presiding minister to ensure the service is appropriate and does not continue for too long. Itis normal to prepare some short words about the deceased for the Rabbi to say at the service.
Other information about the funeral should be obtained from the Burial Office or the Rabbi.

On returning from the funeral

It is the practice for neighbours or friends to prepare the first meal that the mourners eat. This is called the Meal of Condolence. It usually consists of bagels (or soft round rolls) and hard boiled eggs, accompanied by a drink.
The family should not be involved in preparing food and drink for those returning to the shiva house after the funeral. Friends should organise refreshments for those who require it.

The Shiva

This is the seven day period of mourning, which begins on the day of the funeral (inclusive) and continues until the morning of the seventh day, eg. if the funeral were to take place on Monday daytime, the shiva would terminate Sunday morning. The rules of shiva are different on Shabbat. On Shabbat we do not wear torn clothing or non-leather shoes. Instead, normal Shabbat clothes and shoes are worn. The full seven days of shiva are not observed if a Yomtov intervenes. In such cases, you should speak to the Rabbi for advice.
During the week of shiva, the synagogue wardens can arrange services. You must ask them for help and guidance on these matters. If you do not wish, or are not able to have prayers in the shiva house, mourners can attend services at the synagogue. It is advisable to check times and availability beforehand.
The Shiva house is traditionally open to visitors to pay condolences during the day and until after evening services. However, mourners do need to be able to rest and eat, and it is quite acceptable to ask people not to call at certain times.
Someone who is not one of the actual mourners should prepare meals, open the door to visitors (some people leave it slightly open all the time), and answer the telephone.
It is usual that some visitors will bring items of food, or will offer to prepare meals.
It is not the practice to offer refreshments to visitors unless they come from a long distance.
A shiva house should not be treated as a social occasion and traditionally visitors wait for the mourner to initiate conversation.
Visitors may wish the mourners 'Long Life' or may pray that they be comforted among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem -a short Hebrew prayer, which can be found on the card sent by your local synagogue.
There are differing views about changing to a different seat in the Synagogue and the Rabbi should be asked for guidance.

Tombstone Consecration

It is advisable to telephone Cemetery Maintenance 020 8950 7767 immediately after the shiva to arrange this. Please also contact the Rabbi at the outset to ensure, as far as possible, that he will be available.
This guide is not a comprehensive set of burial and mourning laws. If further information is required, including laws relating to the first month and the first year; these should be obtained from the Rabbi. The synagogue will provide a book on mourning laws and customs and prayer books for the shiva services.
The information is this section has drawn heavily from a United Synagogue booklet “A brief Guide for Bereavement” with their permission.

The First Year After

If the deceased was a parent,  the male mourners are required to say Kaddish for eleven months,  and will often attend Synagogue for this period even if they did not do so before. This is in order to 'raise the soul' of the departed. It is a special honour for the deceased for the male mourners to lead prayer services during this period, and will be invited to do so at Northwood US if they are able to. This period is 30 days for a departed child, sibling or spouse.

Yahrzheit and Yizkor

The year anniversary of the death is known as the Yahrzheit. Please inform the Synagogue office if you have an approaching Yahrzheit in order to be called up on the Shabbat before the Yahrzheit occurs. Special prayers will be said after the call up to the Torah, called an Azkarah ('remembrance').
The Yizkor Service is held on the 8th day of Pesach, 2nd day Shavuot, Yom Kippur and Shemini Atzeret. The Yizkor Service consists of public prayers for those murdered in the Holocaust and soldiers who died serving in the Israeli army, as well as private prayers for deceased relatives. In addition to this, on Yom Kippur the names of the departed relatives are read out.
It is customary but not necessary for members who have not lost a relative to leave during this service.