Dress Etiquette for Jewish Funerals

by Lara Webster
Males should wear a yarmulke for the entirety of the funeral.

Males should wear a yarmulke for the entirety of the funeral.

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Knowing what to wear to a funeral is essential to showing the proper respect for the departed and his family. At a Jewish funeral, it is customary for family and friends to abide by the same etiquette except the practice of Kriah. Mourners should observe the rule of dressing conservatively, a rule that is particularly important for female attendees.

Men

Men and boys are expected to wear a jacket and tie to a traditional Jewish funeral. A formal suit or tuxedo is not required, but nice pants should accompany the jacket and tie -- denim is not appropriate. In addition, men and boys traditionally wear a yarmulke or head covering to the service.

Women

Women and girls attending a Jewish funeral should wear a dress or a skirt. The length of the skirt must be at least to just below the knee and tops are expected to fully cover the shoulders. Females should also pay attention to the shoes that they wear, as open toes are not permitted. Women and girls don't have to wear a head covering.

Colors

While it's not necessary to wear all black to a Jewish funeral, bright or cheerful colors shouldn't be worn either. Both men and women should stick to a somber color palette, which will include largely neutral colors. Black, gray and brown are some of the colors that would be appropriate to wear.

Tearing of Clothing

The immediate family members of the deceased rip their clothing at a traditional Jewish funeral to represent their loss; the tradition is called Kriah. At a reformed Jewish funeral, the rabbi may hand out ripped black ribbons for the family to pin to their clothing. Funeral attendees are not required to rip their clothing or attach the mourning ribbons.

About the Author

Lara Webster has been writing professionally since 2009. Her work has been featured on Relationships in the Raw, The Nursery Book, Spark Trust and several travel-related websites. Webster holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in mass communication and media studies, both from San Diego State University.

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