A good friend of mine’s mother died the other day and since she is Jewish, she is sitting Shiva this week. I am totally new to this and have never visited anyone sitting Shiva so I had to look it up to see what I should do to so that I won't be out of step with anything that was going on when I see her in a few days. I found a couple websites that explained what the custom is and what to do when you visit someone who is sitting Shiva. They were very helpful and now I feel much more comfortable about the whole thing. I know I will still be a little shy about it as I do with any new experience.
Shiva makes a lot of sense to me. The family is in mourning and it’s the community’s responsibility to take care of them. The family does not cook, does not clean, or do anything else because the whole time is devoted to reflection of the person who passed and concentrating on their grief and prayer. It seems a lot more involved than the Christian custom of visitation and burial with a luncheon afterward. Having recently lost my father, I would have liked to have more time to reflect on his loss rather than having one day to grieve with family and friends and then having to get back to work.