I work in a Jewish cemetery with colleagues who are also not Jewish. I’ve learnt many things (mostly words) about traditions regarding the burial/ grieving process but I’m not sure what responses, if any, I should be giving in return.
For example, someone came in recently to bury a new family member and told us that their late aunt had done them a massive mitzvah sorting out all the paperwork for the family gravesite before passing. I feel like I should have said something which has the feeling of respect for the deceased aunt but I wasn’t sure what to say, if there was anything to say.
Another example, someone called in to get the yahrtzeit of a relative so that they could say kaddish. This relative ended up being the same age as me and passed right before the end of WW2 and I wanted to say something comforting to the person calling in, as I resonated with the deceased on a personal level, but I didn’t know the appropriate words and didn’t know if thanking them would be appropriate.
Things or suggestions like this would be very helpful as we have a huge mix of families here, from hasidics all the way to reformed or those who are jewish in blood but not practice. Any suggestions welcome.
I definitely have never insulted anyone with my ignorance but I want people burying relatives to feel comforted after our interactions.