1091-B Rockville Pike | Rockville, MD 20852 | 301-296-6835
Shomrei Neshama is a Jewish funeral home located near Silver Spring, MD that provides services strictly adhering to the highest standards of Jewish law. Especially established to serve the Orthodox Jewish community, we do not offer the options of embalming, a viewing or cremation. We provide 100% Tahara and we focus on simple wooden caskets. In keeping with traditional Jewish laws, we are closed on Shabbat and Yom Tov. Our operations are overseen by shomer Shabbat staff.
For numerous reasons, Jewish religious laws prohibit the use of embalming, cosmetology, open casket visitation and cremation. Embalming replaces all bodily fluids of the deceased with synthetic liquids that retard or stop the natural process of decomposition. The reason this is not permitted by our faith is that the departed should be remembered as a living individual, not as an artificial mask that has been made displayable by cosmeticians. Embalming is considered disrespectful to the dead, a desecration of the Divine image and a disservice to the deceased since in the vast majority of cases the soul cannot exit the body until the body disintegrates.
A wake or visitation is not a Jewish custom. The Talmudic sages noted that one cannot and should not comfort a mourner as his dead lies before him. A wake is often reduced to a social gathering where the bereaved family must entertain for hours and partake in trivial conversation unrelated to their grief and suffering.
The rabbis who composed to Talmud disfavored cremation because of their belief that only a naturally decomposing body could be resurrected. Jewish law requires that human remains be buried after death.
Before the body is buried, it is cleansed in the ritual act of purification called Tahara. Tahara is performed by the Holy Society, which is a group of specially trained Jews who tend to the body and prepare it for burial. They follow strict procedures, including the recitation of prayers and psalms. For the purpose of maintaining modesty, men handle male remains and women care for female remains.