Funeral Practices Seminar

On April 22, 2010, the Board of Rabbis of Southern California of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles welcomed more than 70 rabbis, cantors, chaplains and students to the first-ever Jewish Funeral Practices Seminar today at the Federation's Goldsmith Center in Los Angeles.

The daylong seminar brought together executives from four leading Jewish mortuaries and cemeteries who explained the often nuanced practices of Jewish funerals in Southern California. Attendees were also treated to sessions helmed by rabbinic experts on such sensitive topics as tahara (the ritual cleansing of the dead), cremation and organ donation.

Clergy who attended the event said they were impressed by the breadth and depth of the information they received, and seminar organizers were taken aback by the apparent hunger for this information within the Jewish clergy community.

"One thing has become clear, and that is that you would like to have more of these seminars," Rabbi Sarah Hronsky, Treasurer of the Board of Rabbis and Funeral Practices Committee Chair, said to the packed crowd.

Presenters included:

  • Anthony Lampe, of Eden Memorial Park, who explained the difference between cemeteries and mortuaries
  • Morley Helfand, of Mt. Sinai, who discussed the covenant between rabbis and funeral homes and mortuaries
  • Randy Ziegler, of Malinow & Silverman, who gave a presentation about death certificates
  • Jill Glasband, of Hillside Memorial Park, who succinctly summed up the Community Burial Program available to indigent Jews in Los Angeles.

Rabbis Hronsky, Avi Navah, Stewart Vogel, Mark Hyman, Morley Feinstein, Judith HaLevy, Jason Weiner and Board of Rabbis President Rabbi Denise L. Eger were instrumental in providing their wisdom and expertise to the program as part of various panels and learning sessions.

"I was especially pleased by the large and diverse audience, especially new clergy in the field," said Rabbi Mark S. Diamond, Executive Vice President of the Board of Rabbis. "We continue to hear positive feedback from the colleagues -- rabbis, cantors, chaplains, students and mortuary and cemetery staff -- who joined us today."

Resources

Two pieces on Organ Donation:

"A Love Story" by Rabbi Mark S. Diamond

Ruling of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel

Information about the Death Certification Process:

Procedures in Deathcare Certification within Los Angeles County