The Mourners' Kaddish 


 

 

Summary of Traditional Observances Relating to the Kaddish

For whom Kaddish is recited
    Kaddish is recited for anyone for whom a mourner sits Shiva:  a parent, child, sibling, and spouse.  One may also elect to say Kaddish for other
      relatives and even friends.  It is customary not to say Kaddish for others while one's parents are alive.
    Adopted children are encouraged to say Kaddish for adoptive parents, but are not required to do so.
    Most authorities agree that one need not heed the request of a parent that Kaddish not be said for him.

Minyan requirement
   
The Kaddish may be recited at a public prayer service only if a minyan (religious quorum) is present.

For how long recited
   
For parents, Kaddish is recited for eleven months, and for other relatives for thirty days.
    A mourner who does not learn of the death of a parent until long after the burial is obligated to recite Kaddish only until the end of the eleventh month
      after burial.

Women and Kaddish
   
Although only sons are obligated to say Kaddish for parents, most authorities permit women to do so if they so wish.

Minors and Kaddish
   
Boys under Bar Mitzva age are obligated to say Kaddish for parents.  most authorities permit girls under Bat Mitzva age to do so if they wish. 

Second death in a family
   
If a mourner is saying Kaddish for a parent and another family member dies during those eleven months, the mourner says Kaddish for one additional
      month (a total of twelve months).

Kaddish during High Holiday period
   
The text of the Kaddish is slightly modified during the Days of Awe, the ten-day period from Rosh Hashana through Yom Kippur. *


                                                                           English transliteration                          Hebrew                                       Russian
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* all information was taken from The Jewish Mourner's Book of Why by Alfred J. Kolatch


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