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המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים
May the Almighty comfort you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. 

We understand that this is a very difficult time for you and the family, and want you to know we are here to support and guide you through the next few weeks and months.  Below you can find the next steps to take and we hope these practical guidelines will offer some comfort and support. We are here throughout, and do let us know if you would like to speak to someone about the below or would like to speak to our Rabbi or Ben Fromson, our Community Wellbeing Manager, for any spiritual or emotional support. 

First Steps

  • Please call the Synagogue ASAP so as we can support you during this difficult time.  Office hours: 020 7584 3953.  Out of office hours: please call the main office number above and press 9.  
  • If the deceased was alone at the time of death then the police would need to be called as well as the ambulance service.
  • If he/she dies at home then the Doctor/GP who last attended to the deceased should be called. If in a hospital then the hospital doctors will deal with the same.
  • If the death is sudden/unexpected, there may have to be an autopsy unless the person had been seen within two weeks of death. If an autopsy is required then it is feasible to ask for a scanned autopsy, to save time on religious grounds.
  • The Doctor/Hospital/Coroner’s office will have to issue a letter confirming death. 

Burial, Cremation and Shiva

  • In the meantime the funeral directors should be contacted.
  • For burials and cremations we recommend Ronnie King at Kings Funeral Directors on 020 8368 7453, who will arrange collection of the body. Ronnie King will act as liaison person between the Rabbi, family, crematorium and synagogue office.
  • For burials, Westminster Synagogue has an arrangement with West London Synagogue who are the owners of the burial grounds, whether it be Edgwarebury or Hoop Lane Cemeteries. Currently burials take place at the former, unless plots have been purchased/reserved at the latter. Plots can be purchased at either of the cemeteries though the cost for Hoop Lane may be substantially higher than in Edgwarebury. For burials where the person was on the Westminster Synagogue’s Burial Scheme, an arrangement fee will be payable.  For those not on the Burial Scheme, the non-member price of a plot will be charged.  You can find more information on our Burial Scheme here.  
  • For cremations, these will typically happen at Golders Green Crematorium in Hoop Lane. Westminster Synagogue has a Columbarium at Hoop Lane Cemetery. Members can purchase a niche in the Columbarium where the deceased's ashes can be placed and a commemorative plaque attached. You can find out more information on the Synagogue Columbarium here.
  • You may wish to arrange a Shiva service. At Westminster Synagogue, our tradition is to have one night of prayers, usually on the day of the funeral.  Evening prayers may also be held in our Synagogue Sanctuary, particularly if the funeral takes place on a Friday. All of these arrangements can be discussed with the Rabbi and guidance will be given.

Local Authority and Death Certificate 

  • Once the next of kin has obtained a signed doctor’s letter, this needs to be taken to the Local Authority i.e. the appropriate Borough Council at the relevant Town Hall in the Borough which the person died. The contact is the Registrar of Death, Marriages and Births from where it is necessary to obtain the Green Form and Death Certificate, so that burial/cremation can take place. It is the Green Form, which is needed for the Undertakers who will not be able to proceed to either cremation or burial without it. One must stress to the Council representative, that this is a Jewish burial and that time is imperative in order to fulfill religious beliefs regarding the funeral.
  • We advise for ten copies of the death certificate be purchased as these are needed for all authorities dealing with the estate, i.e. pensions department, banks, building societies etc.

Please call us on 020 7584 3953 (Out of office hours: press 9) and we can help guide you through this difficult time.

Wed, 19 June 2024 13 Sivan 5784