Bereavement customs, grief and rituals among ethiopian immigrants to Israel

Nimrod Grisaru, Ruth Malkinson, Eliezer Witztum

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Scopus citations


    Based on clinical experience with Ethiopian patients referred to a Mental Health Center the authors observed a "double" cultural discrepancy: On one hand discrepancy between cultural and mourning practices as practiced by Jews in Ethiopia and Israel, and on the other between the professional team. and their Ethiopian patients. The article discusses social displacement related to death, mourning customs and rituals as experienced by Ethiopian Jewish immigrants. A number of culturally sensitive elements pertinent to professionals intervening with displaced and bereaved individuals and families are identified and elaborated. Mourning rituals and customs as practiced by the Jewish community in Ethiopia, in particular, breaking bad news and purity customs are compared with those practiced in Israel which often appear to be different, and at times exemplify cultural insensitivity. Case vignettes describing the Ethiopian community in Israel are presented to illustrate complications resulting from a lack of cultural sensitivity. The importance of introducing culturally sensitive procedures involving an Ethiopian Jewish community member or a cultural broker who will similarly arrange to break the bad news to members of the community is proposed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)111-123
    Number of pages13
    JournalIllness Crisis and Loss
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - 24 Dec 2008


    • Bereavement
    • Complicated grief
    • Culture sensitive interventions
    • Ethiopian jews
    • Mourning rituals

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health(social science)
    • Sociology and Political Science


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