How to Conduct an Unveiling

Close-up of gravestone in cemetery
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An unveiling ceremony is a Jewish memorial service conducted one year after a person's death. These events typically are quick and held at the grave. Conducting the unveiling ceremony appropriately is an important part in staying true to the Jewish faith. Specific prayers and traditions must be carried out during the ceremony for it to be considered official.

Prepare for the ceremony by asking family members and friends of the deceased to prepare a short speech that recalls the loved one. This is not to be seen as a formal eulogy, but rather an informal reflection on the deceased.

Have the attendees gather at the grave to begin the ceremony. Everyone should be standing close together. Due to the brevity of the unveiling, it is typical for most attendees to stand throughout the ceremony.

Bring a small bag of stones to the ceremony. These will be placed on the grave directly by attendees at the unveiling to show they have visited the site and are recalling memories of a loved one.

Ask the attendees to share the words that they have prepared in memory of the deceased. People might be reluctant to share at first, so be patient or start off the discussion yourself and move on from there.

Request one of the attendees remove the cover on the Jewish gravestone and read the marker of the gravestone out loud.

Have the person conducting the ceremony recite the El Maley Rachamim prayer. Recite the mourner's Kaddish prayer as a group.

Give stones from the bag to each of the attendees and have them place the stones on the grave marker to complete the ceremony.

Peter Grant has been a professional writer since 1998 and software engineer since 1995. He has contributed to academic papers, open-source software projects and technical documentation across several industries. Grant holds a master's degree in public policy from National University.