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Burial customs date back to the stories of Abraham and Sarah in the Bible. In Jewish tradition, proper burial in the ground is one of the main life-cycle commandments. A corpse is to be treated with utmost respect, regardless who the person is, since, according to traditional belief, the soul is about to enter eternal rest, and the bones begin to wait for the eventual resurrection in the messianic age. Trained Jews (See Hevra Kadisha) purify the body and dress it in a simple white linen garment. A pious Jew stands by and recites Psalms. In Israel, no coffin is used, except for soldiers fallen in battle. In the Diaspora, a plain pine coffin is preferred, so as not to distinguish between rich and poor. Families often purchase a burial section in a Jewish cemetery for their members. A funeral service consists of prayers, a eulogy, and a Mourner’s Kaddish recited at the graveside. Mourning lasts for seven days (sitting shivah), and a memorial is erected before the end of the first year from the time of death.

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