Funerals and Mourning Rituals in the Time of COVID-19
(Updated November 8, 2021)
The twin mitzvot of comforting the mourners and bringing honour to the deceased are our priority, even under such trying circumstances. Our Rabbis, Cantors, and Professional Staff are here to support you as always.
Most of the information here is still relevant: https://holyblossom.org/life-cycle/#end
Designed with good guidance of the Ministry of Health, the following are the extraordinary protocols for these extraordinary circumstances.
While Ontario is opening up, there are still restrictions for funeral services. Please see the Registrar’s Directive or speak to the funeral home you are using for more info. Properly worn masks or face coverings are required and physical distancing must be followed.
These rituals are as powerful as ever – if not more so. We are confident the ceremonies will be a great source of comfort even though adapted to keep everyone healthy.
As you may be aware many mourners now conduct Shiva in person, outdoors and indoors; while others conduct them virtually. Your family needs to determine the Covid protocols you wish to follow and whether visitors must be double vaccinated. If you’d like some guidance about how to establish a Virtual Shiva via Zoom, Iris Spitz can be your guide. Iris can be reached at [email protected].
Mourners have two options.
- You can join the daily services conducted by our Rabbis and Cantors via Zoom or in-person (registration required for in-person services). Service times and simple links may be found here. The name of your loved one will be remembered before Kaddish.
- If you’d like our volunteer Shiva Service leaders to lead just your circle of family and friends in a tailor-made service via Zoom, that can be arranged for you. These shiva services are held at 8:00 pm, Sunday – Thursday.
- Download the Shiva Book here
Visiting the Cemeteries
Cemeteries are open, with some restrictions. If you come to our cemeteries, please wear a facemask/covering, ensure that you maintain physical distancing, and only gather as permitted by law.
The safety of our visitors and staff is very important to us. In accordance with health regulations, we ask that you self access and don’t come to the cemetery if you are sick.
Holy Blossom Memorial Park will be open for visits as follows:
Sundays through Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Please note that entry into the cemetery will not be permitted 15 minutes before our closing time.
We are closed for Shabbat, and we will also remain closed on all religious holy days, including 1st Day of Pesach, 7th Day of Pesach, 1st Day of Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah (both days), Yom Kippur, 1st Day of Sukkot, and Shemini Atzeret.
During all other times, our cemetery’s gates will otherwise be locked and entry to visitors will not be permitted other than in the case of funerals in accordance with our existing Covid-19 Protocols.
All unveiling ceremonies need to be scheduled with Iris Spitz. She will be happy to help you make arrangements and she may be reached at [email protected].
If you need assistance, support, or guidance please do not hesitate to contact Iris Spitz, [email protected].