Video: Sheldon Rubin Jewish Funeral and Readings

Sep 7, 2023 | 0 comments

Conducting a funeral for my father was my toughest assignment yet as a Certified Funeral Celebrant. But I got through it without breaking down, and it was a good goodbye.

Sheldon Rubin and Max

Sheldon Rubin and great-grandson Max in 2023

My dad Sheldon Rubin died at the age of 93 on August 29, 2023 at an in-patient hospice in Boca Raton, Florida. Decades earlier, he had purchased burial rights for he and my mom in King David Memorial Gardens in Falls Church, Virginia. The plots are right next to his parents and his sister and brother-in-law’s graves.

I helped get them to pre-pay for their funeral services ten years ago, when we made arrangements with the Hines Rinaldi Funeral Home. This is one of the funeral homes under contract with the Jewish Funeral Practices Committee of Greater Washington. This organization has contracted with local funeral homes to provide affordable Jewish funeral packages.

The funeral pre-need contract, put in place in 2013, saved thousands of dollars had my parents waited until 2023 to make these arrangements. The out of pocket costs from the funeral home were about $1,400, for transporting dad’s body from Florida to Maryland, the death notice in The Washington Post ($700!), and death certificates. There were other out of pocket costs for food and gatherings after the funeral, my services as a funeral celebrant (in place of a rabbi), and travel expenses for the family. I mention these items as costs that you need to consider beyond what you pay for a funeral, burial or cremation.

Here’s the video of the funeral:

Sheldon Rubin Funeral

Jewish Funeral Readings

The readings for this Jewish funeral included El Malei Rachamim (God of Compassion), the 23rd Psalm, the Song of Songs reading for a man conducted during the tahara ritual of washing and dressing the body, and the Mourner’s Kaddish. We started with the keriah ribbon-tearing ritual. I also included this reading by poet Bernard Barton:

The dead are like the stars by day,

Withdrawn from mortal eye,

Yet holding unperceived their way

Through the unclouded sky.


By them, through holy hope and love,

We feel, in hours serene,

Connected with a world above,

Immortal and unseen.


For death his sacred seal hath set

On bright and bygone hours;

And those we mourn are with us yet,

Are more than ever ours;


Ours, by the pledge of love and faith,

By hopes of heaven on high;

By trust, triumphant over death,

In immortality.

I hope my sharing of this video and reading can help you when you are faced with a death in the family.

A Good Goodbye