LONDON (Aug. 25)
The widow of Sir Jacob Epstein, one of the worlds greatest contemporary sculptors, explained today why her husband was buried yesterday in a Christian cemetery and without Jewish rites. The sculptor, who died last week at the age of 78, was the son of Jewish immigrant parents from New York’s lower East Side.
“He left entirely to me the choice of the cemetery where he should be buried,” the widow said in a statement. “I chose Putney Vale because of its trees. I did not want to affront Jewish people so I asked a rabbi if he would bury my husband in Christian ground bit according to the Jewish faith. He said he would not bury him in ground that was not consecrated Jewish. So we had what is called a non-denoninational service.
“Dr. Hewlett Johnson, the Dean of Canter bury and a great friend of Sir Jacob had offered to conduct a service, so we accepted. But it was not a full Christian burial. There was a blessing, a committal prayer and a reading from Ecclesiastans–the passage that runs ‘Let us now praise famous men…”