When we invited Rabbi Steven Schwartz, of Beth El Congregation, to present on the topic of Jewish Views on the Afterlife at the October 2017 “We Remember Them: Finding Hope and Meaning After Loss” program, we had no idea how many people would be interested in the topic. As it turned out, he had a large group of people gathered to learn more.
We followed up with Rabbi Schwartz to get a summary and he said “Many Jews don’t realize how much Judaism has to say about life after death. The tradition understands that God plants a soul inside of us when we come into the world, and when we die God takes our soul back. In that sense, the souls we carry during our earthly journeys are eternal, and will continue to exist even after our physical bodies are gone.” Rabbi Schwartz emphasized to us that “a core idea of Judaism is that we don’t understand death as being the end, but transitional, from one state of being to another state of being.”
After a little more research we came to the conclusion that, as with many aspects of Judaism, belief in what an afterlife looks like varies across the board. Below are a few websites that discuss the Jewish view on the afterlife in depth and from different perspectives. We at Levinson’s do not promote any particular belief, but we understand this is an important topic and people are searching for more information. We encourage you to talk to your Rabbi, do a little more reading and come to your own conclusions on this deep and meaningful subject.
For the fourth year in a row, we are proud to announce that Sol Levinson & Bros., Inc. has been recognized among the 100 companies / organizations selected as a Top Workplace by The Baltimore Sun.
We are honored by the Levinson team’s commitment to our work on behalf of the community we serve. Selected from among 1,300 companies, this honor is especially fitting on the 125th anniversary of our family’s business of helping others. We thank our employees for everything they do on a daily basis to make this possible.
Are you a compassionate, detail-oriented and team-oriented individual? We would love to hear more about you. Send a resume to firstname.lastname@example.org and, if we don’t currently have an opening, we will be in touch when we find a fit.
Sol Levinson & Bros., Inc. is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against otherwise qualified applicants on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation or gender, marital status, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other basis protected under federal, state or local law.
In order to enhance our service to families, Sol Levinson & Bros. recently added the ability to receive annual yahrzeit reminders via email.
If you would like to receive annual yahrzeit email reminders from YahrzeitMemorial.com for your loved ones, please copy and paste the following form to email us with information:
Your email address:
Loved one’s name:
Hebrew date of death (if known):
English date of death (MM/DD/YYYY):
Before or after sundown:
We ask your patience as we process your requests, and that you please allow us several weeks to add you to the system. Once you are signed up to receive the emails, you will receive a reminder one week prior to the yahrzeit date. As always, if you need an updated 20-year yahrzeit calendar you may create one on our website. If you have any questions regarding the new email reminder service, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Join us on the evening of October 22nd as we light up the night in honor of those we have loved and lost, including those fallen heroes who have proudly served our country and community. This outdoor event will provide a time for reflection and remembrance and will embrace attendees in a warm, meaningful glow.
To register for the event, please contact Gilchrist Grief Services at 443-849-8251. Please register by Monday, October 16, 2017.
Sponsored by Gilchrist Grief Services, Sol Levinson & Bros. and Inner Arbor Trust, Inc.
*There is no fee to attend this event. If you would like to purchase a luminary to honor your loved one(s), there is a cost of $10 per luminary.
Day/Time: Sunday, October 22, 2017 at 5:30pm
(Registration begins at 5:00pm; the event will be held rain or shine.)
Location: The Chrysalis, Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods
Levinson’s is partnering with Jewish Community Services and Gilchrist Grief Services to present a powerful program designed to help people who are grieving the death of a loved one.
Grief specialists from JCS and Gilchrist along with Rabbi Steven Schwartz from Beth El Congregation will help participants understand their feelings of grief, recognize what to expect during the grieving process, and acquire new coping skills. The program is designed to help those who have lost a loved one come away with a renewed sense of hope and meaning.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
6:30 P.M. – 8:30 P.M.
Sol Levinson & Bros., Inc. Funeral Home
8900 Reisterstown Road, Baltimore MD 21208
We Remember Them: Finding Hope and Meaning After Loss
Free and Open to the Community
To Reserve a space please register by September 7, 2017
We recently sat down to make pre-arrangements with a woman who told us her children thought that pre-planning her own funeral was the strangest thing for her to do, but she knew it was the best gift she could give them. Once all the decisions were made and everything was taken care of, she knew that all her family would have to do is pick up the phone and call Levinson’s when the time came. She said it gave her peace of mind to know they would not have to worry about making decisions while grieving, nor about the financial aspect of the funeral, and they would then understand how much of a gift she had given them.
It may seem surprising, but several hundred people a year come in to plan ahead for their funerals, or the funeral of a loved-one. We hear an incredible amount of positive feedback from them, with comments such as “That was a much easier conversation than I expected,” or “I feel so much better having had this conversation.” People uniformly thank us for making the process so easy.
When you come in to talk to us there are no obligations and there is no pressure. We give you all of the options and information, allow you to ask any questions you may have, and put together a personalized Pre-Planning Guide with funeral information and valuable resources for your family.
Has a loved one ever told you they’ve “taken care of everything” related to their funeral? Do you know what they mean by that?
So many times we, as funeral directors, have taken a call from a family notifying us that someone has died and “they told me everything was taken care of” – and we have no record of them ever coming in to make decisions or to pre-pay anything. It turns out the person purchased cemetery plots and that is it. This is a horrible shock for the family at an already emotionally overwhelming time. Imagine believing the funeral has been paid in its entirety and finding out that is not the case.
If a loved one has told you “I took care of everything,” please ask them what they mean, and specifically ask if they have come to Levinson’s to review all the options. If they haven’t, consider bringing them in to sit down and have this – admittedly difficult – conversation. You will receive a personalized Pre-Planning Guide, which contains:
location of vital documents,
space to write down important information to be used in the eulogy,
resources for families to use at the time of someone’s passing,
and much more.
If they HAVE been in to discuss all the options, but it has been a while, we want to offer the opportunity to come in and get our new Pre-Planning Guide reflecting your selections. Please give us a call to come in and meet briefly with one of our funeral directors, who will review it with you and give you a copy. You don’t have to make any changes to your existing selections.
Introducing the new Levinson’s Pre-Planning Guide.
This comprehensive resource contains detailed information about the funeral selections, location of vital documents, space to write down important information to be used in the eulogy, resources for families to use at the time of someone’s passing, and much more.
If you would like us to put together a Pre-Planning Guide reflecting your selections, please give us a call to come in to meet with one of our funeral directors in our Pikesville or Columbia locations. We will review all the funeral options with you, provide you with all the information you may need, and give you your personalized copy of the Guide.
Planning ahead for yourself or a loved one is beneficial because it allows you to:
Ensure your peace of mind that your wishes will be followed
Relieve the burden on your family, to ease their financial and decision-making obligations
Control financial costs – by pre-funding today, you can prevent the financial burden on those closest to you and be assured that the money will be there to help cover tomorrow’s funeral costs
Reduce assets prior to applying for Medicaid (“Spend-down”)
Have you ever wondered why Jews leave stones at the graves of their loved ones? Our Jewish faith teaches us to respect, mourn, remember, and care for the dead. Leaving stones at your loved one’s grave is a way of doing just that, for long after they have left this world.
From the moment someone passes away, we go to great lengths to care for them. Not only in memory, by planning a respectful funeral that reflects the kind of life they lived, but also physically – as some opt for the ritual ceremony of Taharah (please see our previous blog post here) – and spiritually, by having a Shomer sit with them, ensuring they are never left alone. Visiting a loved one’s grave offers you time to reflect, meditate, and remember them. Leaving stones there commemorates those you’ve lost, as well as your visits.
So, why do we leave stones rather than flowers that you may see in a secular cemetery? There are two reasons for this. The first one being that the stone symbolizes permanence. We wish for our loved one’s soul to live eternally in the world to come. Flowers may be beautiful, but they do not last – their beauty fades, and petals fall – while a stone remains sturdy even against the elements. The second reason being that in life, flowers symbolize luxury, a prize or even status. Judaism tells us that in death, like in birth, we are all equal. We are all rocks against the elements to stand the test of time.