What To Know When Choosing Cremation
It's an intensely personal decision. Your choice of how to manage the body is one that should be discussed with the family in accordance with the wishes of the deceased. Cremation is an option for many people, for various reasons. Just as with traditional burial services, it offers the opportunity for a memorial service.
Questions around cremation are common, in particular about how cremation relates to Jewish burial traditions.
Is cremation allowed in Jewish Tradition?
It's a simple question with a complicated answer. Any discussion around cremation and Judaism is dangerous ground for a Jewish funeral home. For Feldman Mortuary, we risk offending the observant Denver Jewish community with which we have such close ties and supports us so much, or offending the general Denver community which feels this type of disposition is appropriate. Based on long consultation with members of the Denver community—followers of many faiths—we offer our perspective:
Cremation is not considered “proper” by traditional Jewish burial practices. That's because Jewish burial traditions are based on the idea of kavod, or respect. In this context, the burial process is in accordance with kavod ha’ met, respecting and honoring the body. Cremation can be considered disrespectful and hence, not allowed in Jewish tradition.
One of the rabbis of our local Chevra Kaddisha, Rabbi Edward Shapiro, explains it this way. “We were not created in the hour or hour and half it takes to cremate a body, but rather it is a natural process of creation that took nine months. That is what is proper and natural.”
While cremation is not technically allowed or encouraged, cremation has been chosen by some of our Denver Jewish community members. We believe those families should be served with the same compassion and sincerity by the Jewish funeral home and their Jewish clergy. There are rabbis and cantors of various movements in our tradition that will officiate at memorial services and celebrations of life where cremation is chosen.
Does Feldman Mortuary Offer Cremation Services?
Yes. We feel it is important to support all the families of our Denver Jewish community and families across the Denver metro area without judgment or critique of their disposition decisions.
However, we feel it is appropriate to discuss, educate and inform our families, and strongly recommend taking the time to understand this final decision. We encourage families to use local rabbis, the internet, responsa (Jewish literature on the subject) and commentary from various movements to make an informed choice. Below are links to articles and discussion about Judaism and cremation.
Please visit our FAQs for answers to frequently asked questions.
The death of a loved one is among the most difficult circumstances any of us will face. We’re here to help you through this challenging time. With compassion and deep experience, we’ll help you make informed choices and guide you through the many details of preparing for a funeral service or celebration of life.
If a death has occurred, call us at (303) 322-7764, anytime, day or night. For preplanning and other longer-term needs, use our contact form and we’ll get back to you quickly during regular business hours.