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Joint Committee Formed to Deal with Complaints on Jewish Funerals

For the first time in American Jewish history, a joint committee representing both Jewish religious organizations and funeral directors has been established to deal with any complaints of failure to conform with Jewish religious requirements in funeral procedures.

This was announced today by Moses I, Feuerstein, president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the national organization serving 3,100 synagogues throughout the United States and Canada. The joint committee will serve to further implement the pioneering accord on funeral standards entered into last June between the UOJCA together with the Rabbinical Council of America, and the Jewish Funeral Directors of America.

The Committee will also review the experience of the initial period since the adoption of the accord. This agreement, which was put into effect following an extensive study of funeral practices conducted by the UOJCA Joint Funeral Standards Committee, was the first such accord on a nationwide scale providing for increased cooperation between the rabbinate and funeral directors, aimed at ensuring that Jewish funeral practices conform with religious law and tradition.

Cutlining the basic principles of Jewish funeral practices, the UOJCA explained that Jewish religious law prescribes certain rites of preparation and burial and described the procedures to be followed. It declared that flowers and music have no place at the Jewish funeral service and that embalming and viewing are contrary to Jewish law.

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