Bethesda, MD | Shomrei Neshama of Greater Washington P.A. | Rockville MD funeral home and cremation

1091-B Rockville Pike | RockvilleMD 20852 | 301-296-6835

Bethesda, MD

The funeral directors of Shomrei Neshama Funeral Home invite the Orthodox Jewish community of Bethesda, MD to learn about the specialized services that they offer. This is the only funeral home located in the Washington metropolitan area that adheres to even the strictest regulations of Jewish law. We do not embalm, or offer viewings. We also do not perform any cremations. Closed for Shabbat and Yom Tov, our funeral home is carefully supervised by shomer Shabbat personnel. We provide you with choices of simple wood caskets for a dignified and respectful ceremony. We also feature the Tahara, the ritual preparation of your loved one for burial.

It is our religious belief that the body must decompose before the soul can escape it and attain eternal rest and peace. We do not retard or prevent this process by embalming remains, as doing so is a great disservice to the deceased. Embalming generally involves the removal of all bodily fluids to be replaced by chemical liquids, and sometimes even the organs are taken out. This desecration of the body is an affront and disrespect to our Maker, in whose likeness we are created. We are to remember the departed as a living individual, not as an artificial mask created by cosmeticians for purposes of presentation. Viewings and open caskets are also contrary to Jewish customs. As it has been wisely noted, one cannot and should not attempt to comfort the bereaved family with its dead on display. 

It is clear in the Torah that as human beings, we are to be buried in the earth as soon after death as is possible. Therefore, we refrain from offering cremation services to the families that we assist. Cremation is an ultimate desecration of our Divinely created bodies and is inconsistent with our beliefs as Jews.

We are meant to return to dust, and therefore we utilize biodegradable coffins for interment. In keeping with our view that we are all equal before the Creator, a simple wooden casket is the best option. Prior to placement in the coffin, your loved one with be prepared with respect and decorum by specially trained members of the Holy Society.

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