When Death Occurs
Perinatal and Infant Loss
When a perinatal or infant loss occurs—which includes a loss from miscarriage, stillbirth, or death of a newborn or infant—we encourage you to call Sinai at (415) 921-3636 as soon as practical and possible.
You can be assured that you will be in compassionate and caring hands. We are committed and sensitive to Jewish traditions and evolving practices regarding such losses, and we understand the emotional aspects of such a loss.
Circumstances Surrounding Your Loss
If your loss occurred outside of a medical facility (for example, at home), you should call 911. As soon as possible, a member of the family—or an attending physician—should contact Sinai by calling (415) 921-3636. We are available 24 hours a day.
If your loss occurred in a hospital, you should ask the hospital staff to contact Sinai on your behalf.
In either situation, a representative from Sinai will be available to bring your loss to Sinai Memorial Chapel, where we can begin to prepare the body according to Jewish tradition. We undertake this task with utmost care and respect. It is the first step in honoring our commitment to the tradition of k’vod hamet (respect for the dead).
We will also be available to counsel and support you as you make decisions about a possible service, burial, the grieving process, and any other issue for which you seek guidance.
What Sinai Does
For families who experience a perinatal or infant loss, there is generally no charge for Sinai services. This commitment reflects the view of the Sinai Memorial Chapel’s founders that such a loss is experienced by the entire Jewish community, and it is our duty as a community to support one another.
Sinai provides counseling for parents who have experienced a loss through our Mourner Care Program. Our counselors are available to support mourners and connect them with resources that can help them get through this experience. A perinatal or infant loss impacts all members of a family, and we are prepared to support all generations of the extended family.
Some of the ways we can help include:
- Transportation of the deceased to the funeral home
- Notifying authorities of the loss, as necessary
- Arranging all aspects of preparing for services and burial or cremation, as appropriate
- Making arrangements with the cemetery, if needed
- Arranging all aspects of the funeral or memorial service, if you wish to have one
- Coordinating schedules with your rabbi or the person who will officiate at the service
- Helping you select a rabbi or someone else to lead the service if you are not a member of a congregation
- Preparing and filing the death certificate, as well as any other necessary permits and authorizations
- Assisting with designing and purchasing a headstone, grave marker, or other memorialization monument for placement
The Memory Garden at Eternal Home Cemetery
Sinai Memorial Chapel understands the need to acknowledge losses occurring at any stage during pregnancy. With the leadership of two Jewish mothers who suffered these losses, Sinai is collaborating with the Bay Area Healing Center and the Jewish Community Federation to create the Memory Garden at Eternal Home Cemetery in Colma.
This effort also includes a commitment to create a comprehensive Jewish response to perinatal and infant loss, including providing education and outreach on this topic.
Resources for Parents
We have prepared a list of recommended resources for parents and family members, including a hotline, local support groups, and various readings.
In addition, Sinai has a library of resource materials that you are welcome to borrow.
If you or someone in your family has suffered a perinatal or infant loss, please contact us at (415) 921-3636.