The Shiva House

The Shiva House
Date Uploaded: 
Friday 20th December 2013

This section includes useful information about shivas for mourners as well as for those visiting a shiva house. It also includes relevant JOG (Jewish Online Guides) videos too. Regarding information for mourners, please contact your local Rabbi.

  • A candle should burn continuously throughout the shiva period. Memorial candles can be bought at most Jewish shops which last for a day, three days or a week.
  • Two candles should also burn during every prayer service. These may be extinguished 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 on the mirrors can be removed for Shabbat.
  • Mourners are the parents, brothers/sisters, spouse or children of your loved one. 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 their local 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 can be obtained from your local synagogue. If mourners have problems sitting on low chairs they should consult their local Rabbi.
  • It is usual that some visitors 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 Chayim Arukim (long life) or may pray that they be comforted among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Download 'A Brief Guide to Bereavement'

Click here to see the JOG video on sitting shiva.