> Did burying your father that way and by cremation
> conflict with your Jewish beliefs that the dead
> are to be buried rather than cremated?
My father was not Jewish [well....he actually probably WAS Jewish according to Jewish law, but he certainly didn't know he was Jewish, even though he very likely was], and I come from a family (both sides) which is strongly pro-cremation (even though plenty of my relatives on both sides were buried, for all kinds of reasons which seemed compelling at the time).
I, personally, am strongly pro-cremation, and assuming that my wishes have anything to do with what is done with my body, then my body will be cremated--along with an increasing number of other Jews.https://forward.com/news/158218/more-jews-opt-for-cremation/
There are now other ways of dealing with dead bodies, such as body donation, and body composting, and I am in favor of these as well for those who choose these new/newer options.
> My last favorite rabbi who has since retired to
> Israel gave an entire sermon on the subject. About
> why it is a Jewish belief and custom to bury the
> dead rather than cremation.
For me, I do not accept Jewish beliefs on this subject, either in theory or in practice. I understand the historical reasons why many Jews reject cremation (including the more recent objections because of what happened during the Holocaust), but this is an area where I (along with those increasing number of other Jews) differ.
> I understand the cost difference, which is huge.
> And that alone can be a deal breaker for many
> families if it's the single deciding factor. But
> where cost may not be the only factor, wouldn't
> religious rite be the overriding factor where it
> is not only because of a tradition, but because of
> a theological position that makes it mandatory in
I, personally, have no need for religious rites after my death--religious rites which I, personally, do not believe have any effect at all on where I "go" next. If I had children, or grandchildren, or observant Jewish relatives, then I would probably let them do what they felt they needed to do, because the emphasis after my death would necessarily be on THEM, and what THEY need, rather than me. If I had family who needed to go through the traditional Jewish mourning process, I would give them permission to do what they felt they needed to do. In real life, I do not have any such Jewish relatives, so I don't have to worry about any of my relative's emotional or religious feelings.
> I realize it's an intensely personal decision, but
> also a religious one. And that raises the question
> of conflict whether or not you dealt with that
> when your father passed on.
As I indicated above, my father--if he WAS legally a Jew, which there is a pretty good probability that he was--had absolutely not the slightest knowledge of this. He did give me very direct, and very easily understood, directions of what I was to do with his ashes: "Flush 'em down the crapper!!" (You'd have to know my father, especially my father when he was drunk, to get the full humor of what he was shouting out at me, because he was really serious as he was saying this.)
In the end, my father's ashes were added (by my sister) to a camp fire in North Carolina, and my mother's ashes were scattered (again, by my sister) into the Colorado River, from a bridge above, in the Grand Canyon. Both my sister and I think that both of our parents would have genuinely approved.
Slightly different focus: I have been studying some of the more advanced parts of Judaism (the parts that you used to have to be male, and at least forty years old, and married, and the father of children, in order to study), and I am possibly in the process of changing my thoughts about saying Kaddish (the Jewish prayer for the dead, which is said, on a specific schedule of days, for eleven months after that person has died).
A fairly good case is being made that saying Kaddish has some importance on a number of levels which are of importance to me, and I am thinking about the (at least) possibility of asking someone to say Kaddish for me after my death. (Paying someone to say Kaddish for someone who has died is an old Jewish custom for those who died without relatives to say it.)
No firm decisions yet, but I am turning the possibility over in my mind.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/10/2019 12:27AM by Tevai.