Shiva is the formal seven day mourning period following a Jewish funeral. To ‘sit shiva’ means to observe the ritual of shiva, for one’s mother or father, spouse, sibling or child. During the period of shiva, mourners do not typically leave their home, do not greet visitors, and are generally excused from responsibilities. Mirrors are covered, as mourners are not to be concerned with their outward appearance. A shiva candle, provided by the funeral home, is lit in the home immediately following the burial. The flame burns for the entire length of shiva.

Shiva Meal (Seudat Havra-ah) is a meal of condolence prepared by friends to provide the mourners sustenance following the burial. The meal should contain round foods (symbolizing life and renewal), such as hard-boiled eggs, bagels or lentils. Family and friends typically provide food for the mourners, so that they do not have to spend energy cooking or cleaning. A pitcher of water placed at the entrance to the home allows mourners to perform the ritual hand washing upon returning home.

Shloshim is the thirty day period of mourning which includes the seven days of Shiva. The month is intended to transition a mourner back to a regular routine, while still avoiding all celebrations. Haircuts and shaving are also avoided. The recitation of Kaddish ends during shachrit (morning) services on the thirtieth day, unless one is mourning the loss of a parent (in which case kaddish is recited for 11 months).