Also read: Who Controls the Remains Upon Death
View catalogue of urns
Before you decide upon cremation, please read the following:
Because cremation is being chosen by more families today than in the past, Star of David Memorial will provide the service should families request it. But we feel it is our responsibility as a Jewish owned and operated funeral home to make sure that those families requesting it are not doing so based upon common misconceptions and inaccurate information regarding its supposed ecological and environmental benefits and/or its financial savings.
Two things that you should know before choosing cremation are:
- The cost to the environment is much greater with the cremation process than it is with earth burial. The energy required to fuel a crematory along with the smoke created by the process and spread into the environment is significantly worse for our planet than earth burial in a wooden casket.
- If financial considerations are the reason you are considering cremation rather than burial, it need not be as, in many instances we can provide earth burial for the same cost as cremation. Please contact us to discuss.
For those so inclined to consider the reasons why the Jewish faith forbids cremation, please read below:
Things to consider before a Jew elects cremation over burial:
- The Bible and Jewish tradition are clearly and consistently pro-burial and anti-cremation, considering the burning of the body a terrible violation of the person’s memory and God’s image.
- Jews and the Jewish State make enormous sacrifices to provide proper Jewish burials to all.
- When Torah scrolls are damaged beyond repair, they are lovingly buried. Our bodies, partners to our souls throughout our lives, are holier than scrolls and deserve burial as well.
- Burial emphasizes, and cremation downplays, the importance of the individual.
- Burial symbolizes the acceptance of the cycle of life, a peaceful return to nature, returning what we have received. Cremation represents one last assertion of violent control, denying death’s natural process, and wishing to do away with the unpleasant ordeal as quickly as possible. Bury the pet versus burn the garbage.
- Burial rarely creates family discord. Cremation often does and cannot be undone.
- Healthy societies need cemeteries to remind us of our mortality, connect us to our families, and teach us of the community of history.
The Cremation Process
The following is a graphic description of the cremation process. Please be advised that it is rather gruesome and may change your mind about electing cremation. It was written by W.E.D. Evans in The Chemistry of Death
The coffin is introduced into the furnace where it rapidly catches fire, bulges and wraps, and the coffin sides may collapse and fall, exposing the remains to the direct effect of the flames. The skin and hair at once scorch, char and burn…the muscles slowly contract, and there may be a steady divarication of the thighs with gradually developing flexion of the limbs…Occasionally there is swelling in the abdomen before the skin and abdominal muscles char and split; the swelling is due to the formation of steam and the expansion of gases in the abdominal contents. Destruction of the soft tissues gradually exposes parts of the skeleton. The skull is soon devoid of covering, then the bones of limbs appear, commencing at the extremities of the limbs where they are relatively poorly covered by muscles or fat, and the ribs also become exposed. The small bones of the digits, wrists, and ankles remain united by their ligaments for a surprising length of time, maintaining their anatomical relationship even though the hands and feet fall away from the adjacent long bones. The abdominal contents burn fairly slowly, and the lungs more slowly still…the brain is especially resistant to complete combustion of the body. Even when the vault of the skull has been broken and fallen away, the brain has been seen as a dark, fused mass with rather sticky consistency, and the organ may persist in this form for most of the time required for the destruction of the remains…Eventually the spine becomes visible as the viscera disappear; the bones glow whitely in the flames and the skeleton falls apart. Some bones fragment into pieces of various sizes while other bones remain whole.
The Ground or the Oven?
Some people are squeamish about burial. Certainly decomposition is not pretty to contemplate. Nevertheless, in light of the above, cremation hardly seems any better. Furthermore, decomposition is a natural process that occurs to all (formerly) living beings. Though not pretty, it is the natural way of the earth. Cremation, on the other hand is not peaceful, quiet, or calm. It is a harsh, smelly, loud act of violence committed against the body of a recently deceased loved one.
After the cremation, the ashes are returned to us by the crematory within 48 hours, sooner if required, in a plastic container. You may elect to take the ashes in this container or purchase an urn. There are many different types of urns to choose from. You may decide to keep the ashes, bury them, place them in a niche, scatter them, or have them sprinkled at sea. However you decide, you may choose from our selection of urns, purchase one on your own, or just utilize the plastic container they are returned in from the crematory.
View catalogue of urns
Urns come in all different shapes and materials and sized to hold the “cremains” (ashes). You may decide that some of the ashes are to be shared which might necessitate a “sharing” urn which is smaller than a standard sized urn. You might also elect to choose a “keepsake,” which could be a locket or pendant that can be worn. Clicking on this link will take you to our resource for urns. Please contact us with any questions you might have.