Frequently Asked Questions

Sometimes questions asked require advice to be rendered which is subjective in nature, and represents the opinions of Brighton Memorial Chapel, Inc. and its agents. Our responses are grounded in fact and delivered with the consumer’s best interests as its guide. Information contained herein is subject to change without notice.

Questions Regarding Jewish Funerals

Who should I call if a death occurs out of state or out of the country?

Call Sholom Chapels Mortuary first. We have found that it is less expensive if you contact one funeral home. We can carry out all the details with our out of state affiliates through the Jewish Funeral Directors of America. This will translate into substantial savings to the family.

Where are funerals held?

Depending on a congregation policy, a service may be held in the temple or synagogue. Families that are not affiliated with a temple or synagogue may chose to have a service in the chapel of the funeral home or cemetery, or a graveside service right at the cemetery. Often, it is hard to predict how many people will be in attendance for the funeral. If the deceased is young or leaves a large family, or is active in the business or social activates of the community, it is likely that a large number of people will want the opportunity to pay their respects, by either being present at the funeral service or coming to the house of mourning afterward.

What should a person be dressed in for burial?

Jewish law calls for burial in a plain white shroud (Tachrichim) so as to demonstrate the equality of all people. This simple white garment has a shirt, pants, overgrament and head covering, but no pockets, to show that we take nothing with us when we leave this world and that God judges people on their merit and good deeds, not on what material wealth they have accumulated over their lifetime. In addition, a Jewish male is buried with his own Talit (Prayer Shawl), unless the family wishes to pass it down to another family member. The other option for burial is the deceased own clothing, however, our Jewish customs and traditions hold that the Jewish burial clothing is preferable. Thus, our funeral home does not charge our families for the traditional Jewish burial clothing. In certain instances, the rabbi a family chooses or the rules of the synagogue and or burial plot will mandate certain traditions. We would advise you to consult your rabbi for any questions as to what he or she deems permissible.

What is a Taharah?

This traditional washing and dressing of the deceased is done with the utmost dignity and respect. The Tahara is performed by trained members of the Chevra Kadisha (Sacred Society). In accordance with Jewish traditional law, men prepare men, while women prepare women. The deceased is cleansed, dressed in Tachrichim (burial shroud), and placed in the casket. The Taharah is done as a matter of practice for every decedent in the care of our mortuary, at no additional cost to the family.

What is a Shomer?

A guard or watcher who traditionally recites psalms near the deceased. Traditionally, the deceased is not to be left alone before burial. In the absence of a family member or friend familiar with the prevailing customs, a shomer can be arranged by the funeral home.

What information will I need to provide to the funeral director?

We realize that there is a lot going through people’s minds when a loved one is dying or has passed away. We have compiled the following checklist of information, to help families gather the essential information for a funeral. This checklist is useful for families making both pre-arrangements and at need arrangements.

Basic Questions asked of you:

  • Name of deceased
  • Where the deceased is located (hospital, hospice, home, or nursing facility)
  • Phone number or address where the deceased is located
  • Legal address of deceased
  • Date of birth, and place of birth
  • Social security number
  • Military service
  • Occupation of the deceased and years in occupation
  • Father’s name, mother’s name and maiden name
  • Education level
  • Marital status
  • If married, wife’s name and maiden name
  • Informant’s name (person giving information), address, and relationship to deceased
  • Hebrew name of the deceased (if known)
  • Hebrew names of the deceased parents (if known)

Information to bring with you to the funeral home:

  • A picture of the deceased
  • Veterans discharge papers
  • Clothing if needed (unless a burial shroud is to be used)
  • Tallis (prayer shawl – if a family chooses to have a Taharah – only for a man)
  • Cemetery deeds and plot information
  • Death notice information:
    • Survivors of the deceased, children, grand/great children, brother, sisters, etc….
    • Family members who are predeceased
    • Any memberships or involvement in the military, fraternal organizations, synagogues, fire department, etc…
    • Any family statements that you wish to have included in the death notice
    • If you wish, an organization which donations in memory of deceased can be made
    • The location and hours of shiva/receiving, if you wish to mention this in the death notice


Is embalming required by law?

Embalming is not required and is contrary to Jewish law. Jewish funeral homes utilize refrigeration in lieu of embalming. Embalming is the process of removing one’s lifeblood, and replacing it with chemicals, and then placing make-up on the deceased. Sholom Chapels Mortuary does not provide embalming services or make-up on the deceased.

Is a pine box required for a Jewish burial?

No. If the casket is made entirely of wood, and not manufactured on the Sabbath, then it is considered kosher. The casket must be made completely of wood, held together by wooden dowels and kosher glue. Our prophets tell us “From earth you have come, and to earth you shall return.” Wooden caskets help with this process by disintegrating quickly. Metal caskets are not permitted by Jewish law. Sholom Chapels Mortuary has a large selection of kosher caskets in all price levels, from a traditional pine box to solid mahogany. This is a decision a family will decide on privately, and whatever casket is selected will be appropriate.

Is a casket needed for burial?

Yes. Even the most basic direct burial requires an alternative container. Sholom Chapels Mortuary offers a wide variety of kosher caskets, constructed under strict Jewish guidelines (i.e. wooden dowels and kosher glue in lieu of metal screws). More recently, a very limited number of cemeteries around the coutry are offering “green burial”, where caskets are not required, but a similar alternative. Please contact our mortuary to inquire about this option, and as to which cemetery offers this choice. When transferring a decedent to Israel for burial, caskets are not used in Israel. Instead, a special metal sealed container called a “ziegler container” is used for transport overseas. The deceased will be removed from the container in Israel for burial directly into the earth.

How is a cemetery selected?

Many times a family is faced with a sudden or unanticipated death with no cemetery plot already reserved. Sholom Chapels Mortuary can help you with making the necessary arrangements to purchase a grave. The selection of a cemetery should not be made without hearing all your options. There are many factors to consider before a final cemetery choice is made. Proximity to the family’s home, religious requirements, price of the graves, location in the cemetery, and future needs are all things to consider when choosing a cemetery.

Do Jewish people have calling hours or viewings?

Viewing the deceased is not a Jewish custom, and tradition teaches that it is disrespectful to look at a person who cannot look back. Therefore, a traditional Jewish funeral would have a closed casket at all times. The belief is that a person should be remembered alive and well, instead of the final mental picture of a loved one lying in a casket. Viewing by families for the purpose of identification is permissible. Sholom Chapels Mortuary will accommodate the wishes of the family, if they chose to say goodbye privately before a funeral is to take place.

Do funerals have to be held within 24 hours?

Jewish law requires that burial take place as soon as possible, preferable within 24 hours. Burial may be delayed for legal reasons; to transport the deceased; if close relatives must travel; or to avoid burial on Shabbat (The Sabbath) or any other holy day. Burial should not be delayed longer then necessary. Sholom Chapels Mortuary will coordinate a time for the service that allows for the family needs, as well as the time constraints of the rabbi and the cemetery.

Can a family choose cremation?

Cremation is contrary to Jewish law, and thus, is never offered as an option by Sholom Chapels Mortuary.

Funeral Costs

How much does a funeral cost?

A funeral can be broken down into three main costs:

  1. Funeral Home Service Charge (i.e.: costs associated with services provided by the funeral home)
  2. Merchandise (i.e.: casket, burial vault, register book, burial shroud, etc…)
  3. Cash Advances (i.e.: third party charges that appear on a funeral statement. These are items the funeral home makes no profit on. We charge families exactly what we are charged. They include the cost for the cemetery, newspapers, death certificates, rabbis honorarium, Chevra Kadisha, etc…) These cash advances or third party charges will be the same no matter what funeral home in Los Angeles County the family chooses.

Cost can vary greatly from funeral home to funeral home depending on the facility, its location and quality of service provided. Sholom Chapels Mortuary encourages families to shop around and compare. The best way to do this is to ask a funeral home for their General Price List. Think of this as a menu at a restaurant. It will show you the services the funeral home offers and their prices. By law, every funeral home is required to give you a price list when asked. Please fill out the secure pre-need form and we will be happy to provide you with the price for our services. The more details provided the more accurate figure we can provide pre-need pricing.

How can a funeral be paid?

Sholom Chapels Mortuary accepts payment through family funds, insurance, pre-need burial trusts opened either through our firm or through another funeral home, or by credit card.

Why Choose Sholom Chapels Mortuary?
  • Local Ownership –We are proud to state that we are family owned an operated since 1952. Sholom Chapels Mortuary is committed to returning local dollars spent at our funeral home back into the Jewish community we serve.
  • Price – Sholom Chapels Mortuary was opened as an alternative for the Jewish Community. Acknowledging that the Jewish population is quite large, and reconciling the enormous cost of funeral facilities to this population size; it becomes apparent that it is not cost effective to spend millions of dollars to purchase or build a Jewish funeral home. It is because of this need to provide traditional, dignified, low cost Jewish funeral services, was the primary reason for the establishment of Sholom Chapels Mortuary.
  • Personal & Professional Service – The staff at Sholom Chapels Mortuary will provide the highest quality of professional service to the Jewish families we serve. We will be open and fair, and will honest to our commitments to the Jewish traditions, and adhere to the highest ethical standards. We will serve families as we would our own, with tenderness, dignity and respect. We will help families celebrate a life, and mourn the loss of someone they love, in a traditional or unique way. Personal service is the most important aspect of every funeral. It is what separates us from the large funeral home chains.


Pre Need

What should I look for in a pre-paid burial trust?
  • Is the burial trust portable? (i.e.: can be transferred to another funeral home of your choosing)
  • Can you receive a yearly statement?
  • Does the funeral home charge for setting up the pre-arranged funeral and its associated burial trust account?
  • Will today’s burial trust pay for a funeral in the future?
  • Do you know where the burial trust is established and maintained?
  • Is the burial trust 100% insured?


Should I pre-pay a funeral?

Absolutely yes! Pre planning & pre need funding of funeral services are extremely important and wise. Not only are all decisions made without the emotional overspending that occcurs at the time of need, all prices are 100% locked in to current day cost, guaranteed not to increase at the time of need.

How does Sholom Chapels Mortuary handle their burial trust accounts?
  • There is no charge for setting up and maintaining a pre-arranged funeral and its associated burial trust.
  • Our burial trust accounts are 100% insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
  • The financial institution where the funds are invested issues a statement every January.
  • The burial trusts can be cancelled at any time. 100% of the principle is refundable. There is a 10% cancellation penalty out of the accumulated interest only.
  • We offer a pre-need price guarantee.
Are the laws governing pre-paid funerals the same throughout the country?

No. Laws very greatly from state to state; some states provide little or no protection and your pre-paid trust account can be in jeopardy. California State is very regulated and protects both the consumer and the funeral home equally.

Who Can Get Survivor Benefits?

In each case of death, where we are the primary funeral home involved, we initiate the application process to Social Security for any possible benefits. At present, we perform this function by filing with our local office; form SSA-721 (Statement of Death by Funeral Director). This alerts them of the death and whom they should contact.

Here is a list of family members who usually can get benefits:

  • Widows and widowers age 60 or older.
  • Widows and widowers at any age if caring for the deceased’s child(ren) who are under age 16 or disabled.
  • Divorced wives and husbands age 60 or older, if married to the deceased 10 years or more.
  • Widows, widowers, divorced wives, and divorced husbands age 50 or older, if they are disabled.
  • Children up to age 18.
  • Children over age 18, if they became disabled before age 22.
  • The deceased workers parent’s age 62 or older, if they were being supported by the worker.

A Special One-Time Payment

In addition to the monthly benefits for family members, a one time payment of $255 can be paid to a spouse who was living with the worker at the time of death. If there is none, it can be paid to:
  • A child or children eligible for benefits.

This payment cannot be made if there is no eligible spouse or child.

How Do I Apply for Benefits?

You can apply for benefits by telephone or by going to any Social Security office. You may need some of the documents shown on the list below. But don’t delay your application because you don’t have all the information. If you don’t have a document you need, Social Security can help you get it.



  • Your Social Security number and the deceased worker’s Social Security number.
  • A death certificate (Generally, the funeral director provides a statement that can be used for this purpose.)
  • Proof of the deceased worker’s earnings for last year (W-2 forms or self Employment tax return).
  • Your birth certificate.
  • A marriage certificate, if you are applying for benefits as a widow, widower, divorced wife, or divorced husband.
  • A divorce decree, if you are applying for benefits as a divorced wife or husband.
  • Children’s birth certificates and Social Security numbers, if applying for children’s benefits.
  • Your checking or savings account information, if you want direct deposit of your benefits.

You will need to submit original documents or copies certified by the issuing office. You can mail or bring them to the office. Social Security will make photocopies and return your documents.

If you are 65 or older, disabled, or blind, ask the Social Security representative about Supplemental Security Income (SSI) checks for people with limited income and resources. If you receive SSI, you may qualify for Medicaid, food stamps, and other social services.

For more information, write or visit any Social Security office, or phone the toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213. You can speak to a representative weekdays 7 AM to 7 PM.

If the deceased was receiving Social Security benefits, any checks which arrive after death will need to be returned to the Social Security office. If Social Security checks were being directly deposited into a bank account, the bank needs to be notified of the death, as well.
The staff at Brighton Memorial Chapel will notify Social Security when a death occurs, and your loved one’s number will be retired.

Click here for the U.S. Social Security Administration website.

Veterans Benefits

Does Medicare and/or Medicaid Provide Any Funds Towards a Funeral?

No. Medicare and/or Medicaid Do Not Provide Any Funds Towards a Funeral. They both allow you to set up a burial account, (with some restrictions) BUT the funding for those accounts must come from an individual’s personal assets, prior to the death. A common misconception is that Medicare and/or Medicaid contribute funds towards a funeral – THEY DO NOT.


Do I Qualify For Veterans Benefits?

There may be veterans benefits available at the time of death; they are subject to change without notice and can vary from county to county; below we will briefly outline them. Benefits offered may include:

  1. A flag
  2. A stone (Grave Marker)
  3. A veteran’s grave (family must pay for in local cemeteries)
  4. Monies – amounts vary

Critical dates are:

  • WW I 04/06/1917 to 11/11/1918
  • Korea 06/27/1950 to 12/31/1955
  • WW II 12/07/1941 to 12/31/1946
  • Vietnam 08/05/1964 to 05/07/1975
  • Persian Gulf 08/02/1990 to ??/??/????
  • Vietnam 12/22/61 if in Country

Benefits may also be available if the veteran received an expeditionary medal for service in:

  • Lebanon 06/01/1983 to 12/01/1987
  • Granada 10/23/1983 to 11/21/1983
  • Panama 12/20/1989 to 01/31/1990

Place of Death:

  • While on active duty in the Armed Forces
  • In a V.A. Hospital

All others
Receiving Compensation or Pension from the Veteran Administration. In addition to this, it is essential that you have a copy of the individual’s Honorable Discharge or DD214 showing minimally:

  • The branch of service
  • The dates of entry and exit from the service
  • Service serial number

A discharge was issued through WW II – The DD214 was issued from the Korean Conflict and on.

Military Honor Guard:
An application for a Military Honor Guard may be made through Sholom Chapels Mortuary at the time of death. To facilitate this request a copy of an Honorable Discharge is required.


Click here for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs website

Medicare and Medicaid

Does Medicare and/or Medicaid Provide Any Funds Towards a Funeral?

No. Medicare and/or Medicaid Do Not Provide Any Funds Towards a Funeral. They both allow you to set up a burial account, (with some restrictions) BUT the funding for those accounts must come from an individual’s personal assets, prior to the death. A common misconception is that Medicare and/or Medicaid contribute funds towards a funeral – THEY DO NOT.


Miscellaneous Questions

Suicide and Judaism

A suicide is considered to be the result of mental illness and does not disqualify a Jew from burial in a Jewish cemetery. Based upon the rabbi’s knowledge of an individual who has committed suicide, the rabbi determines if burying the individual in a Jewish cemetery is appropriate.

Should Children Attend the Funeral?

This is a decision for the family to make. There is no set rule. If a child is old enough to understand the purpose of the funeral, and to know that people are upset, then generally that child should come to the funeral. Their presence aids in understanding the finality of death. Some children may be more frightened by what they imagine, then by what actually happens. A child ages 8 to10 on should be permitted to attend, but a child should never be forced. Allow a child to make their own decision after explaining to them what they will encounter. By witnesses the burial, a child may get the realistic answers to the questions “Where is my loved one now?” Children deserve the right to say goodbye and express their love to someone significant in their lives. It is important that an adult take time to explain what has happened, to listen to the child’s feelings and to dispel any mistaken conclusions they might have drawn. A rabbi is often willing to talk with a child before the service as well as share available resources. If a child chooses not to attend, perhaps writing a note to a loved one can serve as a goodbye. These notes may be placed in the casket.