How to save the Jewish mourning practice for the next generation (COMMENTARY)

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A scene from 'This is Where I Leave You,' a Warner Bros. production.

Photo courtesy of 'This is Where I Leave You' promotional site

A scene from 'This is Where I Leave You,' a Warner Bros. production.

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(RNS) As beautiful and meaningful as it might be, almost no one sits shiva for seven days anymore. Perhaps it's time for modern Jews to simply own up to the changed nature of modern life, and officially adopt three-day shiva as standard practice.

  • Alan lavin

    One reason I encourage people to maintain the full seven day period is out of concern for visitors who cannot easily change their busy schedules to come the first three days. Depending on the relationship to the mourner it might make sense to come later in the week when the intensity of grief is lessened.


    Instead of giving up on Shiva, why not make the effort to actually teach American Jews the real customs. In more traditional Jewish communities people DO visit during the day as well. Somehow, they make it work. And they all have jobs as well. Diluting Jewish practices has not led to any of them being observed more widely in the US. How about aiming for more knowledge, more relevance and this more observance. We can do better.

  • Larry

    Stevie, nobody wants to joint your silly little cult. Go away.

  • Stuart, Judaism’s cult practices cannot be continued in our modern world as the religion is basically racist as fundamentalist Jews in Israel show the world with their attacks on Palestinians. Rabbis don’t teach the truth about Judaism’s racist ideology, they don’t teach humanitarian concern when it means blocking Zionist racists in Israel, they don’t teach the real Celestial Torah because they don’t know it, don’t even know where the origin of the word “Torah” comes from which sorta makes Judaism a pretty phony religion despite all its hoary history and Wizard of Oz mumbo-jumbo not much different in purpose than the Catholics.

  • Fran

    When God’s kingdom or heavenly government (Daniel 2:44) soon puts an end to all sickness, disease, old age and even death (Revelation 21:3,4), there won’t be a reason to mourn any more by the human race. Even the animal kingdom will be at peace with one another (Isaiah 11:1-9) through Jesus’ millennial rule.

  • Fran, your Bible beliefs cannot be used as is for spiritual authority now that we know who wrote those stories and when they did. You and all Bible believers must take Jesus’ wisdom seriously and find the historical truth about the ancient Hebrew writers of the Bible stories. They told lies, Fran, great big fibs, about their origins, creating these preposterous myths loaded with supernatural events, gods and mighty men. In short, doing exactly what most every ancient ethnic group did, create myths of origin for themselves. Because Rome spread Christianity to Europe and around the world, and because Muhammad took the Bible stories literally too, we have this situation now in our modern times where we have billions of believers in utterly phony history of Jews. Please some day look at the work of Israeli archeologists Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman and learn that you cannot derive spiritual authority from liars and their lies, no matter how old and traditional those lies have become. Don’t be a paper and ink idol worshipers. Find out the historical truth to anchor you belief in God and the Christ. I did it and never lost my faith and found the Root Christianity that no earthly priesthoods can ever change or ignore now that it’s Back!

  • Stephen Lewis, I just don’t get you! Here you have one of the leading thinkers in American Jewish life, Rabbi Jeffery Salkin, making a serious suggestion about an important specific issue. And you have the chutzpah–the unmitigated gall–to try to co-opt the conversation with your own agenda (baseless, in my opinion, but that is not here nor there) that has nothing to do with the issue at hand. (As Tony Passalaqua and the Fascinators once sang) “Who Do You Think You Are?

  • I are a gen-u-wine Jewish Christian prophesy bearer in the Old Timey tradition, you, know Spirit of Elijah type that doesn’t give a rat’s behind about credentialed or famous phonies trying to continue Judaism’s bamboozlement of Jewish people with bad religion, and nonsensical religious beliefs and rituals based on what? borrowings from ancient pagans with no accreditation, e.g. yon kippur coming from Babylonian kippuru rites of pagan believers.

    Ok, I get down to it. There is NO spiritual authority derived from religious myths being taught as “real history”. The Torah/Tanakh stories are all myths of origin, never happened as archeology tops religious propaganda in truth and there is no archeological evidence for any of the ancient Bible stories, the writers were even in existence until a thousand years after “Abraham, a Hebrew..” is invented out whole cloth taken from Brahmin Hindu incense and spice merchant trade centered in the Kingdom of Sheba, the 7th and earthly Realm of Shiva, and where the word “Shabbat”, the 7th Day, originates. Now, do rabbis tell Jews this information? I think not, Like all organized religious priesthoods, they have their religious enterprise to protect and their jobs resting of bilking the public and keeping them misinformed about real history that shows their religions as frauds.

    I challenge you to find any rabbi who knows the origin of the word “Torah” and if rabbis cannot tell us the origin of the word “Torah” they cannot tell us anything of value no matter how old and hoary their religious Wizard of Oz googah laden mumbo-jumbo scrolls and rituals are. And hint, “Torah” is not a Hebrew concept at all so posting the Hebrew meaning and etymology is useless.

  • The challenge to rabbis to give the true historical etymology of the word “Torah” has been given before to rabbis and if given on a Jewish religious site the common response is to ban the questioner- – after regaling him/me with lots of accusations of being “anti-Semitic”, this pro-Semitic Jewish Christian activist supporting real Semitic peoples while those claiming to be “Semites” are at war with Semitic peoples.

    All Abrahamic religions are based on fraud, tricking believers into thinking they have spiritual authority based on ancient scrolls recording “history”. Hah! Recording political propaganda is more like it. And really, if rabbis do not know where their own special to Jews word of “Torah” comes from, just where is there any real spiritual knowledge in Judaism? Judaism as root of Abrahamic religions must go first in authentic historical discovery information as the writers of the Torah/Tanakh are proven by archeological evidence in the ground that Hebrews told whoppers, big fictions, evidently to bring three different Canaanite tribal groups together in one collective tribe. Three of the primary gods common to the region, Isis, RA, and EL, are then melded into “Israel”, and the joke slogan created, “Hear O Israel, Our God is One..” and because rabbis never tell the historical truth that wipes their authority, Jews never learn it and continue to believe ancient myths which acted upon in our times naturally lands Jews in hot water, I’m talking about trying to recreate Israel by destroying Palestine.

    “Even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees.” Bad religion only creates needless suffering, especially in children being made to pay for their parents bad ideas, like racial shunning of Gentiles, something logically bound to land Jews in hot water with majority Gentile societies. I won’t even go into the Masada/Jonestown/Waco child killer mentality of fanatical Judaism.

    But I am an equal opportunity critic of Abrahamic religions and Judaism is not my only beef with organized religions bilking their believers.