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Topic: Tombstone, Unveiling

Name@Withheld from Merrick, NY wrote:
Dear Rabbi,

Please excuse me if I in any way insult or embarrass you or myself. I am of little means and have had no formal instruction in the Jewish ways. As a child I attended religious instruction in the Bronx, New York. For my Bar-Mitzvah I received some private instruction in the reading of the necessary prayers and portion of the Torah I was to read. That is the extent of my religious instruction.

The problem my brother and I face is that my mother died a year ago and we will be holding the unveiling of her stone soon. Neither of us are members of any congregation and have no access to a Rabbi. Equally important, after the cost of the burial and the cost of the stone we do not have $500 to "hire" a Rabbi for the unveiling ceremony. Are there some prayers we can read aloud at the unveiling so that we do not disgrace the honor of our mother? Please be so kind as to advise what we can do? I would be so very grateful.

Dear Name@Withheld,

There is no need for the services to be conducted by a Rabbi. You and your brother will do perfectly. Go to a Jewish book store and buy a small prayer-book containing the appropriate prayers and the proper instructions.

It would be good to bring to the ceremony another few friends (10 Jewish male adults including you and your brother). May G-d console you both, together with the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

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