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Cremation or Burial? A Jewish View Based on the book, by Doron Kornbluth A Publication Sponsored by JewishDeathandMourning The presentation is a project.

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Presentation on theme: "Cremation or Burial? A Jewish View Based on the book, by Doron Kornbluth A Publication Sponsored by JewishDeathandMourning The presentation is a project."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cremation or Burial? A Jewish View Based on the book, by Doron Kornbluth A Publication Sponsored by JewishDeathandMourning The presentation is a project of the National Association of Chevra Kadishas Peacefulreturn.com, NASCK.org

2 Your Special Gift  At the End of Today’s Presentation Each of You Will Receive A Free Copy of Cremation or Burial; A Jewish View

3 The Problem: Shocking Statistics  The US cremation rate is 43%.  There are approx. 50 Jewish cremations every day. (a conservative estimate)  More than a third of Jews choose cremations.  In Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii and Maine: cremation is 70 percent.  Cremations are now a tradition for some Jewish families in successive generations. It’s become fashionable.  The cremation industry has a very strong marketing machine.

4 How Many of You Know Someone Cremated or Thinking of Cremation? If you think you know no one – think again.

5 The Solution is: Questions and Answers

6 Frequently Asked Questions  Is burial or cremation better for the environment?  What are Jewish traditions regarding burial?  If I am not traditional, why not cremate?  What are the costs involved?

7 Cremation or Burial Video  7FBPlOs2XQ

8 Environmental Questions

9 Burial Seems to Waste Land, Is that True?  Burial uses very little land.  If ALL Americans were buried it would take 10,000 years to use just 1% of America’s land.

10 Doesn’t Burial Pollute the Environment?  Environmentalists worldwide choose green burial (no embalming, no metal caskets).  Cremation causes pollution by releasing mercury and other toxins into the air and uses enormous amounts of fossil fuels.

11 Burial Scares Me. Isn’t Cremation Quicker and Cleaner? While decomposition isn’t a comfortable thought, it is the way of all living things. Burial respects the cycle of nature, and our bodies give back, in some small way, to the Earth. Burial is gentle.While decomposition isn’t a comfortable thought, it is the way of all living things. Burial respects the cycle of nature, and our bodies give back, in some small way, to the Earth. Burial is gentle. Cremation is not quick. It is a terrible process with very little oversight, control or closure. There are many news stories of organs being sold for profit and other unscrupulous activities. The body can wait in the crematorium for days or weeks. The body burns at 1800 degrees for hours, bones are removed and ground up to fit in an urn. There is no way to really know whose ashes are in the urns received.Cremation is not quick. It is a terrible process with very little oversight, control or closure. There are many news stories of organs being sold for profit and other unscrupulous activities. The body can wait in the crematorium for days or weeks. The body burns at 1800 degrees for hours, bones are removed and ground up to fit in an urn. There is no way to really know whose ashes are in the urns received. If you do not believe in the soul – why are you scared? If you do believe in the soul, burial is the safer bet.If you do not believe in the soul – why are you scared? If you do believe in the soul, burial is the safer bet.

12 What are Cremated Remains?  Ashes have no religious or legal significance.  There is no requirement to bury or show respect to ashes. Ashes are devoid of DNA and have no legal status as human remains.  For example; –Ashes are just ashes and can be put out with the trash. –A Cohen, by Jewish law can’t be in the presence of a dead body, yet is permitted to be in the presence of ashes.

13 Jewish Tradition

14 What do Burial and Cremation Represent?  We bury treasure. We burn trash. For more than 3000 years, Jews have avoided cremation and chosen burial.  Burial represents a calm acceptance of death, symbolizing an eventual rebirth.  Cremation ends life with a total violent and lack of respect to the body that gave us life.  No matter how religious you are, choosing burial means wanting to be remembered as a Jew.

15 Why is Judaism Opposed to Cremation?  The body is to be respectfully treated because it housed the holy soul that was created in the image of G-d.  Jews go to great lengths to bury soldiers’ remains, Torah scrolls, and other holy objects.  Burial is a commandment while cremation is a severe Jewish transgression - denying many fundamental Jewish beliefs.

16 Why is Judaism Opposed to Cremation?  The bible talks about burial often – including the patriarchs and matriarchs. G-d himself buried Moses.  For thousands of years Jews have gone to gravesites to pay respects.  A cemetery is called a Beit HaChaim – home of the living. The soul maintains a presence at the body’s burial site forever.

17 Why Should I Care if I am Dead?  We have no right to hurt or disrespect our bodies in life or death. Cremation is disrespectful.  At a deep Kabalistic level, burial provides comfort and cleanses for the soul.  Cremation causes anguish and great pain for the soul and hinders its return to G-d. “The dust returns to Earth as it was and the spirit returns to G-d who gifted it.” (Ecclesiastes)  Judaism holds that burial provides for the body and soul’s future resurrection. Cremation rejects these core beliefs.

18 You Might Not Believe all This.  But what if you are wrong?  Burial is the safe choice.  Burial provides closure to family and respect and stability for the continuity of family.  Burial plants roots for generations to come.

19 Why is Cremation Chosen?  Usually, cremation is chosen due to social or cultural influences based on misconceptions about the impact on family, our soul, the environment and our Jewish values and beliefs.  People often regret cremating their loved ones and making the wrong choice is the biggest burden of all. In its spiritual place, the soul very much wants to be buried - and although Jewish law usually requires following the deceased’s wishes, this is a clear exception.

20 Costs

21 Isn’t Cremation Cheaper?  Cremation is cheaper but cremation and burial are not equal choices.  Burial can be affordable with extended payment periods, pre-planning and family and community financial resources if necessary.  Important life events like marriage and having children affect our lives and family forever. End of life decisions are not to be made by the cheapest choice. The impact is eternal.

22 Jewish Burial Society – The Chevra Kadisha  1,000s of men and women nationwide volunteer their time preparing Jewish people for burial. Members are on call 24 hours a day to ensure that the laws and customs are followed properly.  Their greatest concern is the sensitive care, modesty and dignity of the deceased.  Men care for men. Women care for women.

23 Jewish Burial Customs  Shmira/The Vigil: Guarding the body, showing respect to the soul  Tahara: the body leaves the world the way it entered. A newborn is immediately cleansed and so is the deceased when it leaves this world to enter the next world.  Tachrichim/Shrouds: Every Jew is buried exactly the same in handmade white clothes with no pockets.  Wood Casket with in-ground burial as immediately as possible.

24 Jewish Mourning Customs  For thousands of years, Jews have prayed, studied, and done good deeds on behalf of deceased loved ones – deepening the soul’s connections to G-d and to those of us who remain on Earth. There are many ways to elevate the soul:  Shiva for seven days  Kaddish Recital for eleven months  Mishnah Study  Giving Tzedakah  Yizkor Recital

25 Burial Form : NASCK.org Available at

26 Additional Resources

27 Closing Video  8D2L7cF3rw&feature=youtu.be 8D2L7cF3rw&feature=youtu.be 8D2L7cF3rw&feature=youtu.be

28 Inspirational True Stories

29 Video – Robin’s Story 

30 Burial Is Better FOR YOU YOUR Family YOUR Environment YOUR Soul YOUR Eternity BURIAL IS BETTER

31 Questions


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