Cremation Dialogues

 

WAYS OF PEACE has offered unique resources and guidance for facilitating Jewish conversations about cremation in CT, FL, IL, NY, PA and WA, along the lines of the articles below.  For more information, please contact us.

 

 

"It's vital that we take this conversation to another level."

 

The Forward, 5/18/12
By Regina Sandler-Phillips

  

At first glance, the two sides of the Jewish cremation dilemma seem clear. Opponents deplore what they see as a violation of Jewish law, desecration of the body and callous indifference to the memory of the Holocaust.

 

Proponents claim that cremation is less costly and more ecological, and that it saves land for the living. Yet a closer examination reveals a much more complicated picture. We need a Jewish conversation that speaks to the realities of both cremation and burial. This conversation is difficult because it involves facing death — not the illusory death of movies and computer games, but real and inevitable mortality — and what it means for our lives.

 

Levayah, the Hebrew word for “funeral,” actually means “accompanying.” Whether we bury or burn, our willingness to accompany is usually quite limited. Between medical pronouncement and final disposition, our dead are typically wrapped up and taken away to preparations of which we have only the vaguest knowledge. It’s much easier to focus on the details of a product — an urn or a coffin, a memorial plaque or a headstone — than on honoring and protecting a body in transition. (...) READ MORE

 

See also The American Jewish Way of Death