Bereavement Customs, Grief and Rituals among Ethiopian Immigrants to Israel: Academic Article uri icon


  • 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 cultur...

publication date

  • January 1, 2008