Miscarriage and Baby Loss
You Are Not Alone
At Jewish Family and Children’s Services, we honor and support those families who have experienced the death of a baby through miscarriage, neonatal and infant death.
Our clinical staff are sensitive and trained to respond to the unique needs of those suffering. We are here to support you and your family through the many stages of the bereavement process.
We can help with:
• The practical steps after a loss
• Rabbinic support in considering options for burial and memorializing
• Grief and bereavement support and counseling
We are here to help you. Please call JFCS to speak with a counselor or rabbi today: 415-449-1212
The Jewish Community Cares
Guided by the wisdom and rituals handed down over generations, the Jewish community is defined in large part by the ways in which it takes care of its members and supports them through good times and bad. While Judaism offers beautiful lifecycle traditions and rituals for those who are grieving, Jewish customs for pregnancy and infant loss are only now catching up with modern times.
Communal Response of the Past
Historically, when this kind of loss occurred, Jewish women—as well as their partners, families, and friends—were typically left without a clear Judaic path for rituals, support, and guidance in response to the gravity of their grief. This is because Jewish law does not consider a baby who dies before its thirtieth day of life to be a “viable” person. Thus, the baby would be buried in an unmarked grave, and the rituals that help families through grief were not available to them.
In contrast, if a child died after thirty days of life, the family would go through all of the rituals associated with Jewish burial and mourning. Jewish law established this time frame for human viability because of the high mortality rates that were common in past centuries and as a way to protect the mother from being in a perpetual state of mourning.
Communal Response Today
There has been an important and positive change in the Jewish community’s sensitivity and responsiveness toward women and families experiencing pregnancy loss. Over the last couple of decades, certain branches within Judaism have established norms and rituals that respect, acknowledge, and respond to the gravity of baby loss.
JFCS has trained its clinical staff to understand the complexities of miscarriage and baby loss and to appreciate the challenges parents might face when turning to the Jewish community for help.
JFCS offers comfort and guidance through this mourning experience and offers two sessions of bereavement support with its trained clinicians at no charge for those in the community who need it after a loss, including a pregnancy loss.
Please call a counselor today to find out more: 415-449-1212.
JEWISH COMMUNITY RESOURCES
Planning a Burial in the Bay Area
Jewish Funeral Home and Chevra Kadisha in the Bay Area
Jewish Cemeteries in the Bay Area
- Article on Memory Garden in j. the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, 2012
- Article on Memory Garden in The Potrero View, 2016
Planning a Funeral and Ongoing Bereavement Support
Jewish Resources on Miscarriage, Perinatal and Infant Loss
CONTEMPORARY LEGAL (HALAKHIC) RESPONSES TO MISCARRIAGE, PERINATAL AND INFANT LOSS
Jewish Books on Mourning the Loss of a Baby
Tears of Sorrow, Seeds of Hope, 2nd Edition: A Jewish Spiritual Companion for Infertility and Pregnancy Loss. Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, Jewish Lights Publishing, 2007.
A Time to Mourn, a Time to Comfort, 2nd Edition: A Guide to
Confronting the Loss of a Baby: A Personal and Jewish