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Easing The Mourning Process

Local businesswomen offer Shiva On Call

The mourning period after the death of a loved one can be a difficult period for any family. Roslyn resident Elissa Zodipoff, along with her business partner, Old Westbury resident Gayle Gelbard, are offering a new service, Shiva On Call, to help families of the Jewish faith deal with such sad situations.


The business, Zodipoff said, has been in existence for eight months now. It is being run out of her home in Roslyn, but Zodipoff hopes to expand it to a business center somewhere in the Garden City or Mineola area.


“We started Shiva On Call back in September to help individuals and families after they have experienced the loss of a loved one,” Zodipoff told The Roslyn News.  “Shiva is the Jewish seven-day mourning period following the burial of a loved one. As people can see on our website we are a full-service condolence company which coordinates all arrangements so that mourners can begin the healing process. Often, well-meaning family and friends offer to handle the arrangements but are not sure where or how to begin. We can create a dignified shiva or memorial service at a time when one is overwhelmed by grief. Our experience in the event planning business enables us to timely coordinate all details in a compassionate and professional manner.  


“We help set up the house after the cemetery, and can coordinate all meals for the family,” Zodipoff added. “We provide a wait staff, if needed, and have an online registry for those who wish to make a donation. We can arrange hotel accommodations for out-of-town family and friends, recommend bereavement counselors, and even take your pet for the week. Our clients will be comforted to know that every detail is attended to at such a difficult time.”


Other services, Zodipoff added, include preparing meals, serving various types of food, from bagels to delicatessen items, and car services. The catering is, of course, kosher, and includes a sandwich luncheon, a deluxe luncheon, smoked fish bagel platters, wraps and bagel platters, such accompaniments as pasta salads, plus a hot buffet entrée, including BBQ chicken, sesame chicken, chicken and broccoli, chicken marsala, London broil and meatballs.


Even though the business is young, Zodipoff has ambitious plans for it, as they hope to serve families “from Montauk to Manhattan.” In time, they also hope to serve families outside the Jewish faith.


For now, Shiva On Call has met with a strong reception from Long Island families. “There is a need [for what we do],” Zodipoff said. Indeed, testimonials have come in from families throughout Long Island. 


“Thank you, Elissa, for handling the arrangements for my husband Harry’s shiva,” wrote Yonna G. of Great Neck on the Shiva On Call website. “My daughters and I were far too emotionally drained to organize this on our own. We will never forget your kindness and professionalism at such a difficult time.”


“We knew within minutes of talking to you that we were in kind, capable hands,” added Caren and Larry Z of Huntington. “It’s as if my mother sent down two guardian angels to help care for our family.”


“After six weeks in hospice, our sister finally succumbed to her illness,” said Ellen and Bob of Lawrence. “I can only compare the mourning process to entering a dark tunnel of despair. Your service provided us with a ray of light by relieving us of the burdensome details. Knowing we were in caring and competent hands allowed us to comfortably begin the healing process.”

For information on Shiva On Call, call 659-7692 or 917-375-8130, or go to