Shomrei Neshama Funeral Home offers its quality services to the Orthodox Jewish community of Gaithersburg, MD. As the only Jewish funeral home that adheres to the strictest standards of Jewish law, we provide full Tahara services, focus on simple wooden caskets, do not offer embalming, viewings or cremation, are closed on Shabbat and Yom Tov and are supervised by shomer Shabbat staff. Please inquire about our Orthodox pre-arrangement package and our acceptance of pre-arrangements from other funeral homes.
“As we come forth, so we shall return,” Ecclesiastes 5:14. Tahara is the religious act that fulfills this verse, allowing us to leave the world cleansed just as we are washed as babies entering this realm. This purification is conducted by the chevra kadisha, or the “Holy Society.” They are an organization of specially trained Jews who care for the body and ready it for interment. They follow exacting procedures, such as reciting special prayers and psalms and performing their services in manner that preserves modesty and decorum. Men handle male remains and women care for female bodies. The departed is clothed in a white linen shroud instead of regular street clothing.
Jewish tradition is to bury the deceased without a coffin, but as it is required by law in most states in America, tradition dictates the choosing of a simple one. We have an assortment of plain wooden caskets available in pine, oak or poplar. These choices are perfect for demonstrating everyone’s equality in death.
Embalming, viewing and cremation are all disrespectful to the dead. Slowing down or preventing the natural decomposition of human remains is a disservice to the deceased since the soul cannot attain eternal peace and rest until the body has returned to dust. Viewings replace the image and memory of the deceased as a living person with an artificial mask created by the embalmer’s rouge and lipstick. The Torah clearly instructs us to bury our dead in the earth, not to burn them to ashes and calcified bones.