Hi, hope this text can help a little bit to understand the process of Jewish funerals. I also sent this by email.
Many greetings, Co
Because the Jewish religion is more concentrated on this life, the death is part of life, like night and day (Contrast theme!!!!!!!!) Who sees the death coming, prepares for with prayer and confessing his sins. In the moment when death occurs all attendants confess their faith in the inimitability of god (Hebr. "echad" - eng. "only, single, unique" = last word of Schma Israel should be the last word of a dying person).
If the death has come, the dead person must not be touched. The corpse will be laid to earth and a candle will be burned. Then the body will be washed and dressed up in a simple linen burial shroud. This burial is a present from bride to bridegroom on their wedding day; she is wearing it only at New Year´s day and at Day of Atonement. At all things, which have to do with death and funeral, members of the holy brother ship, named Chewra Kaddischa, were helping the relatives. Up to the funeral the dead will never be left alone, a Schomer (guard) is sitting next to the body and recites diverse psalms.
Traditional the funeral takes place at the day of death; outside of Israel a time of 48 hours will be demanded. The memorial ceremony takes place in a funeral parlour. A rabbi discourses the funeral oration, then the son of the dead person, respectively the next of kin speaks the Kaddisch, the requiescat, which praises god. Then the dead will be accompanied to the grave, this is a Mizwa, a religious duty and a good deed. At cemetery the relatives pull down their clothes as a sign of their mourning. Nowadays you strip off a tie or strip off a sliver, which will be fixed on the clothes.
The Jewish religion defeats the combustion of death bodies. It´s because the biblical imagination of the body, which turns back in his original form. It shall be deemed to be a hasty, unnatural way to shed the dead body of a person, who was a beloved member of the family. Because the biblical commandment “You should become earth” mortal apparels were wrapped round in linen sheets in older days.
Most Jewish people are desirous of being buried in Jerusalem. Because it´s not possible to burial all Jewish in Jerusalem, the decedent´s were put little bag with earth from the Holy Land inside, under their heads. You don´t use flower arrangements and a pompous tombs at a Jewish funeral, because it should be made clear that everyone is the same in death.
By leaving the cemetery everybody has to wash his hands, but not to dry them, so the memory of the decedent lasts longer. Then, all mourners come to the house of the decedent, to sit "Schiwa", which means 7 and stands for the seven-day misery period, which follows the funeral. The mourners have to stay at home and do no work. You have to sit on a small stool, wear no leather shoes and to relinquish bathing, shaving, make up, cut your hair and sex. Even reading in the Tora is forbidden.
After "Schiwa" is ending, the mourners walk around the block of houses for one time, to show the return in the society and the world. Then the 30 days of “Schloschim“begins, which will be countered from the funeral day. There the threnodical-rules are more relaxed. Is the dead person a mother or a father, the threnodical-time is one year. On the anniversary of death the mourners mark "Jahrzeit". On this day usually the tombstone will be arranged.
Above the entrance portal of Jewish cemeteries a sentence is written: "Bet ha-chajim", house of life. In the opinion of Jewish faith a tomb is forever and belongs to the dead. “If nobody can remember you, you are really dead”
The cemetery has a high rate for Jewish people; it is a place to remember the dead. As a “house of eternity” it cannot be eliminated, because to secure the eternal peace of the grave. You can often see little stones, placed on the graves; they were set aside at every visit to keep the memory of the beloved decedent. Jewish people will always be buried eastwards.
The early Jewish cemeteries were placed out of town. It is because that the living can´t stay together with the dead within the walls of town. Very often these cemeteries were located at places, which would be avoided by people. (Maybe it´s the reason for the contiguity to the crematory)
A typical Jewish tomb will not be nestled and the stone remains. At lack of space a shift of earth will be superimposed on the tomb und a dead body will be buried over another.