Jewish Funeral Practices Committee of Greater Washington
Response to Funeral Homes
We welcome this declaration [see below] on the part of Danzansky-Goldberg and Stein, the self-styled “Jewish Funeral Homes”, after a decade of recalcitrance on their part to give us just such a declaration.
We urge them to add the following Halachic principles to their list of principles for Jewish funerals:
1. Modesty of expenditure, because all are equal before their creator. This is the same as the principle behind Tachrichim. Also, this preserves resources for the needs of the deceased’s survivors and others among the living.
2. Avoidance of receptions prior to the funeral. Such visiting should begin after the funeral, in the family home, at Shiva.
We urge Danzansky-Goldberg and Stein to publish a set price for Halachic funerals, such as the $480 contract price that our eleven congregations enjoy for such funerals with the Ives-Pearson Funeral Homes through December 31, 1985.
We urge Danzansky-Goldberg and Stein to explain to the community why they have made their pact only with the Orthodox rabbinate, when Conservative congregations are equally interested in Halachic funerals, and Reform congregations are interested in Jewish funerals which are modest and holy.
Rabbinical Council Services
From the Washington Jewish Week – March 28, 1985
The Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington and the Traditional Congregations of Greater Washington, in cooperation with the city-wide Chevra Kadisha and The Jewish Funeral Homes (Danzansky-Goldberg and ‘Donald Stein Chapels), announce the formation of “The Federation For Traditional Jewish Funeral Practices of Greater Washington.”
This Federation is committed to strengthening the awareness and practice of Jewish law and tradition with regard to Jewish funerals.
A Jewish Funeral should in every respect reflect the sanctity and dignity of life and be conducted as a solemn religious service. Jewish law requires:
Tahara -the ritual preparation of the deceased by the members of the Chevra Kadisha; the sacred society, who -perform this task with dignity and utmost modesty.
Tachrichim -Traditional white shrouds symbolizing that all are equal before their creator.
Shmeera -The watching over the deceased by an observant Jew or Jewess. The deceased is not left unattended at any time until the funeral service.
Oron -A completely wooden casket is in keeping with the Biblical teaching. “Dust, art thou and to dust thou shalt return.”
Kreah -The rending of .the mourners outer garments is a Biblical expression of their anguish and grief.
Kvurah -Actual burial in the ground and filling in the grave with earth. This is a religious duty and privilege. Kaddish cannot appropriately be recited at an open gravesite.
Embalming and viewing are contrary to Jewish law. Cremation has no place, whatsoever, in a Jewish funeral.
We are grateful to all parties of this Federation for their joining together to help restore the proper sanctity and dignity of the Jewish funeral and we look forward to continued efforts to bring this message to the Greater Washington Jewish community.