Beyond the Book: Background information when reading This Is Where I Leave You

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This Is Where I Leave You

By Jonathan Tropper

This Is Where I Leave You

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Beyond the Book

Sitting Shiva
The word "shiva" (pronounced SHIHvah) is derived from the Hebrew word sheva which means "seven." Sitting shiva means that the family of a loved one – usually reserved for the family of a deceased spouse, parent or child – gathers in that loved one's home for seven days. Friends and family visit to support the family as they take time to mourn, and to remember the life of the deceased. While they may not observe the more orthodox practices outlined below, many Jewish families retain the spirit of the tradition in the form of an extended wake, in which friends and family stop by to share memories and grieve together.

Members of the immediate family sit on chairs that are low to the ground – historically they used to sit on the ground – and wait as friends, family and acquaintances visit to pay their respects. A memorial candle is kept lit for the duration as a symbol of the deceased's eternal soul. Mirrors are covered to remove emphasis from the...

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