Tom Toale from Langhorne, Pennsylvania wrote:
The brother of two of my co-workers died yesterday. The funeral is at 1:30 Sunday. Is it appropriate for me (a Christian) to attend? Also, I'd like to send a basket of fruits and nuts. The sister (who we've worked with the longest) is married, while the brother still lives with the parents (whom I've never met). Can I send the basket to the sister? Where do I get such a basket? (they live in northern New Jersey). Also, is it appropriate for her Christian co-workers to visit during shiva?
Dear Tom Toale,
I think that it would be very appropriate for you to attend the funeral. Any gesture that shows you care for the mourners will help them through this traumatic time.
The same is true regarding the shiva - the seven day mourning period. However, it's generally accepted that only family and close friends visit during the first three days.
Many people bring food to the mourners, because mourners don't engage in activities, such as cooking, which detract from their sense of mourning. Obviously, the food should be kosher. I suggest you look in the Yellow Pages for the closest store that can put together a kosher basket of fruits and nuts.