Jewish Approach to an Unveiling of a Headstone

l. Select a psalm, poem or melody that speak to the occasion.

2. Remove the veil and quietly be with the stone, the place, the memories.

3. Invite sharing if that feels safe and appropriate.

4. Optional: chant or read the traditional prayer El Malei Rachamim

El malei rachamim God Who is Full of Compassion
Shokhein ba-m'roemim Who dwells beyond
(ed. note, I think of this as the God aspect which is like the eggshell is to the egg)
Ha'm'tzei m'nukha n'khona Locate a true rest
(ed. note, customized experience where the issues this soul bore on the embodied plane are no longer operative)
Al kanfei HaShekhinah on the wings of the Shekhinah (Ed. note: I sense our sages saw this as image of baby eagles warmly nestled together under a mother eagle's wing...........meaning properly parented, which often wasn't a person's case in embodied life.)
B'ma-alot k'doshim u'tohorim may this soul rise to the level of the holy, purest of intentioned beings
k'zohar ha-rakeeyah mzheerim who shimmer like the sky at its most stunning moments
Et nishmat................her first name Hebrew if possible or English
(For the soul of .........................)bat ...........................her mother and father's first names
(daughter of ................and ........................)
Sheh halkhah et olama who is on the path to her next world of being
B-ah-vore she anahnu mitpah-l'lim b'ad hazkarat nishmatah
for whom we are praying so that her soul will become a sacred memory
B'gan Ayden T'hay mnukhatah let her rest be Edenic
La-kheyn baal ha Rachamim therefore, Compassionate-Womb-like One
Yastireyha b'seyter knahfayv l'olamim secret her into the world beneath your wings
V'yitzror beet-tzror ha-hayim et nishmahtah keep her soul-ties alive ed. note, let her/us remain in touch
Adonai hi nakhalatah That Which is Becoming What It is Becoming is her inheritance .. (ed note, she is within Creation's process, as are we all.........ongoingly important are we to the Source)
V'tahnu-ahk b'shalom al mishkavah May she be resting in completion/peace .........(ie., may her soul not be restless and it accept this moving on)
V'nomar ameyn. And let us say, amen.........[amen can be seen as an acronym for El (God) Melekh (rules/continues) ne-eman (faithfully) ed note, i.e. trust the Process.........all is connecting and unfolding and we are loved and part of this, even when we can't figure it out because we are limited by being human.

5. Option to use the priestly blessing - chant or read, Hebrew or English

The Biblical Hebrew version is:

Y'vareh-h'ha m. y'varekh f. adonai [v'yish-meh-reh-kha m.] [v'yishm'reykh f.]
Yah-air pah-nahv [ey-leh-khah m.] [eyleykh f.]
[V'yee-hu-nekka m.] [v'yee-hu'neykh f.]
Yeesah Adonai pah-nahv [aylekhah m.] [ayleykh f.]
V'ya'saym [l'kha m.] [lakh f.] shalom.

An interpretive translation:

May the blessings of God rest upon you.
May God's peace abide in you.
May God's spirit illuminate your soul.
Now and forever more. (Some will recognize this as a verse from the Dances of
Universal Peace...others will note it comes from the Jewish priestly benediction.)

5. Everyone places a small stone on the headstone, the leader might say:

Dear (aunt, uncle, mother, father, nephew, niece, cousin, friend....) ______________:

Reader #1: Your memory is sacred to us.
All Together: We will never forget you.
Reader #2: May the ongoing journey of your soul be joyful.
All Together: We will never forget you.
Reader #3: We will tell stories of your life.
All Together: We will never forget you.
Reader #4: Send us blessings when you can.
All Together: We will never forget you.