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The death of a loved one is likely to be the most difficult and painful experience any one of us can go through.

This brief outline of suggested activities has been designed to assist in understanding the Jewish procedure on what to do first following the death of a loved one. 


Final Moments

During the last minutes of life, no-one in the presence of the deceased may leave, excepting those whose emotions are uncontrollable, or the physically ill. It is a matter of greatest respect to watch over a person as they pass from this world to the next.


Notify the authorities

It is imperative that the authorities be advised immediately upon the discovery of the death of a loved one. Even if the death is of a natural cause, one should call 911 without delay.

This is normally performed by a doctor or staff should the passing of a loved one occur in a hospital or care center.


What to do first

After death has been determined, the eyes and mouth of the deceased should be closed, either by family or friends.

The position of the body should be so oriented that the feet face the doorway if possible. When removing a deceased person from a room, the deceased should be removed feet first.


The deceased should not be touched or moved except for their honor such as:

  • To straighten the body if it is found in an awkward position (by touching through the bed linen)

  • Adjust the bed so the body remains flat.

  • Place the arms beside the body.

  • Remove all pillows from around the body and leave one under the head.

  • Cover the face with top sheet.


Cut off all tubes and cathodes, etc. from their source, do not pull them out.


Do not wash the body.


Jewelry may be left on the body, as we remove and return it to the family.


From the moment of death until the burial, the deceased should not be left alone.


We would appreciate your co-operation and assistance in preparing the deceased for burial by;

1/ Telephone the Chevra Kadisha of the South Bay on (408) 264-3138 

2/ When the doctor has certified the death of the patient, please attempt to ensure the Medical Certification of Cause of Death (MCCD) is issued immediately. If you have difficulties in obtaining the MCCD, would you please explain to the family that this may impede the removal of the deceased from the hospital


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