Houston Jewish headstones typically feature the person’s name, birth dates, and death dates in both English and Hebrew, as well as some other traditional elements. Also, many families choose to add traditional or modern symbols to help honor their loved one. While there’s no limit to which symbols you choose, we have collected a list of common ones you might use for your loved one’s cemetery marker.
Common Symbols on Houston Jewish Headstones
Some common symbols to incorporate on headstones include:
- Star of David: This symbol is usually found on the Houston Jewish monuments for men.
- Menorah: This symbol is usually used on the headstone of pious or religious women.
- Candles: Candles are typically found on the headstones of women. Broken candlesticks may represent a woman’s life cut short.
- Kohanim Hands: These hands are usually added to grave markers for descendants of Aaron, the high priest and brother of the prophet Moses.
- Water Pitcher: This symbol represents descendants of the Levites, who would wash the hands of the Kohanim.
- Eternal Flame: This common symbol may be a way to indicate their loved ones will never forget them.
- Tree of Life: The tree of life may represent a return to paradise for the deceased.
- Broken Branch or Tree Stump: This symbol on a cemetery marker may indicate a life cut short, or someone who passed while still young.
- Books: Books on Houston Jewish headstones typically represent the Torah. This usually indicates that the person studied the Torah.
- Bookshelves: Bookshelves on a gravestone usually mean the person was a scholar or a rabbi.
- Tzedakah Box: This symbol on a grave helps honor a person’s charitable nature.
- Lions: Lions are typically included on the grave markers of descendants of Judah.
- Deer: Deer may symbolize a descendant of the Naphtali tribe or someone whose name relates to the Hebrew or Yiddish word for deer.
- Bears: Many include bears on headstones for those whose names relate to the Hebrew or Jewish word for bear.
- Birds: Birds might be on a grave for someone whose name relates to Hebrew or Yiddish words for birds. It may also represent the soul’s freedom after death.
Other Symbols You Might Find on Jewish Headstones
In addition to these common symbols, loved ones may also include symbols that represent the deceased’s interests. For example, including a musical note or instruments might indicate the person’s love of music. Or, for instance, if they were part of the Freemason fraternal organization, you might include that symbol on the headstone. Therefore, you can typically include any symbol you like in order to help memorialize your loved one.
Using Symbols on Grave Markers
Keep in mind as you’re designing your loved one’s monument that you can use one or more symbols to help memorialize the departed. For instance, you might include both lions and bookshelves. This can symbolize that the person descended from Judah and was also a scholar. Many people choose to use a mix of traditional Jewish symbols on headstones. Choosing different symbols can help you create a beautiful and unique headstone for your loved one. The key is to choose symbols that reflect the person and their life. Our design team can also help you determine placement and size of symbols on grave markers.
Headstone Design and Creation from Gaitz Memorials
At Gaitz Memorials, we’re here to help offer guidance and support during the difficult time of designing your loved one’s headstone. We’re here for you throughout the process, from designing the headstone to providing the completed stone. Our goal is to craft beautiful, lasting memorials for the Jewish community in Houston. Whether you would like to know more about the process or need to ask what a Jewish headstone costs, we’re your resource after a loved one passes. Call us at (281) 888-5522 to learn more and start designing a gorgeous memorial.