To spare families the anguish caused by delay, Jewish tradition permits a person to make funeral arrangements on the Sabbath and Festival afternoons, even on Rosh Hashanah, though not on Yom Kippur. Funerals are not held on the Sabbath, on Festivals (Shavuot, and the first and last days of Sukkot, and Pesach), or on the Days of Awe.

The rabbi will meet with the family to review the service and to discuss the eulogies. It is appropriate that those who knew a loved one in life should speak in his or her honor. The role of the rabbi is to speak on behalf of those who feel they cannot do so. Tradition teaches us that we may not speak ill of the dead. By the same token, we do not exaggerate their merits.

In addition to the eulogy, the service (which may take place in the synagogue or in a chapel and partly at the graveside, or entirely at the graveside) generally includes a number of traditional and contemporary psalms, prayers and Kaddish. There is room for individual preferences, upon consultation with the rabbi.