Attending a Shiva?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by eMac4ever, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. eMac4ever macrumors regular


    Nov 26, 2005
    One of my favorite teacher's mother recently died and will be hosting a Shiva at his house tomorrow. A few of my friends and I are going to go, and there was some talk over what is appropriate dress. I was thinking that a polo shirt and khakis/suit pants would do? A suit isn't standard, as is typical at a funeral, right?

    Also, one of my friends attended a Shiva earlier this year and described the atmosphere as being surprisingly jovial. Is this true of most shivas?

    I would greatly appreciate any answers or additional comments!
  2. Telp macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2007
    For the Shiva, formal wear is not necessary. Polo and khakis work very well. For the funeral the same thing, although it doesn't hurt to dress up more for the funeral.

    Yes, Shiva's are frequently very jovial. After the death of someone, us Jews like to take advantage of all the support we have from our friends and family there to be happy and celebrate the life of the deceased, and overall just make it an enjoyable atmosphere. It is difficult to understand until you are put into the situation, as many people have said to me.
  3. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    My grandmother actually asked that we don't sit Shiva for her, when my grandfather died, they did it, and she felt it was too much of a party and was very upset by it. She wanted to mourn and people around her were celebrating, so her final wish was that we don't do it for her, and we honored that request when she passed a few months ago.

    It's a personal choice I guess. I don't want it done for me either, I want a secular funeral and no religious ceremonies or rituals performed after it.
  4. Telp macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2007
    This is important to note, of course. Each person sees the Shiva differently. In my opinion, it's a rough time and people are just trying to be supportive. It's not a party. However, I can easily see why people could see it that way and be bothered by it. To each their own, and you just need to be respectful of the way the Shiva is being held.

    When I was younger and my grandfather died, I bawled for hours and was angry that people were able to be so jovial when I was so sad. Last summer when my grandmother died, however, I was very thankful that people were able to joke around and be happy because it really helped me deal with the situation, so I can understand and see both sides.
  5. gadgetgirl85 macrumors 68040


    Mar 24, 2006
    I've only attended one shiva in my lifetime it was awhile ago. I don't recall people being too dressed up
  6. Telp macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2007
    Nah, it's not really a formal affair. Just don't dress like a slouch. Be respectful. That's all.
  7. conch575 macrumors 6502


    May 29, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    Is Shiva like a wake? Would it be regarded as a celebration?
    (I thought I may as well ask since I have a Studies of Religion essay due and this seems like important information :D, I'll obviously credit you and all)
  8. Telp macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2007
    I'm not incredibally familiar with Wakes, but a Shiva is a time when friends and family go to the house of one of the members of the deceased person and pays their respect. There is usually a short religious ceremony, in which a minyan is needed (the amount of people that are required for any Jewish ceremony to occur, 10). It occurs once the body has been lowered into the ground.

    Shiva, I believe, comes from the Hebrew word for seven, שבעה, and thus Shiva is generally held for seven days, starting the day of the funeral.

    I hope that helps you, feel free to ask anymore questions.

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