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Sample List for Organizing a Shiva

Recruit support people

  • For each of the bereaved, including children

  • For close friends and neighbors who are strongly affected

  • To make a memory book

The funeral

  • Speak to the Burial society (Chevra Kadisha) regarding arrangements, time, and place.

  • Notify family and friends about the death and let them know the time and place of the funeral.

  • Arrange the religious aspects of the funeral.

  • Arrange speakers at the funeral.

  • Arrange transportation to the funeral for the family.

  • Help the family get ready.


  • Make a schedule of visiting hours and prayers for the shiva.

  • Have signs printed with the address of the shiva house and visiting times.

  • Arrange low chairs for mourners.

  • Arrange chairs for visitors.

  • Buy a week-long yarhzeit candle (ner neshama).

Dealing with the phone

  • Get important names and phone numbers from family members.

  • Explain how to best relay messages (remember to place a notebook and pen by the phone).

  • Arrange phone shifts.

Liaison for relatives

  • Organize transportation for them (to and from the airport, etc.)

  • Organize sleeping arrangements (some will be sitting shiva and some will not).

Liaison with the media

  • Appoint one person to serve as liaison.

  • Prepare a picture of the deceased for publication.

Food and household chores

  • Appoint shifts of people to be at the shiva house at all times to oversee and manage meals and to keep the house tidy.

  • Organize meals - post a list of who's bringing what and when.

  • Appoint a person to serve food and drinks.

  • Post a shopping list.

  • Delegate someone to shop and clean.

  • Arrange for cleaning and laundry.

  • Arrange care for infants and small children.