Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL

Can A Jew Sit Shivah for A Non-Jew?

Dear Cyber-Rav,

As a convert to Judaism, I wonder what my responsibility would be, when the time comes, G-d forbid, that I am faced with the loss of a parent? Specifically, do I sit Shiva? Do I say Kaddish? Do I observe a traditional Yahrzeit?

My parents are non-practicing Christians.


The Cyber Rav Answers:

CyberRav Responds to Nancy:

When you became a Jew, you remained a daughter to your parents. Like anyone else, you are obligated to honor your parents during their lives and at the time of their deaths. You would attend any funeral rites they had arranged, whether those rites are in concert with Jewish tradition or not. You would not participate in any rite that would compromise your Jewish principles (e.g., partaking in a mass, etc.), but you would certainly be present as a daughter and a mourner.

Following the funeral, you would sit shivah since shivah is more for the living than the dead. You would cut Keriah (wear the black ribbon), refrain from parties for at least 30 days, light a seven-day candle for the shivah period, etc. You would also say kaddish for eleven months, a tradition which can be construed as for both the living and the dead. In other words, you mourn as a Jew.

I wish your parents long and healthy lives.

The CyberRav

Return to Cyber Rav ArchivesBack to Top