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Respect the Living

Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips was right to broach the taboo topic of cremation among Jews (“Confronting Cremation,” May 25). The horror of cremation is driven by the obsession of religious Jews. In Israel, nothing riles them up more than autopsies, archaeological diggings at doubtful Jewish graves and organ donations from the dead. They have held many violent demonstrations over them, yet I have never seen even one protest to promote life.

It is absurd to spend millions of shekels, which could have been used for social needs, on graves. It is absurd when Israeli soldiers must endanger their lives to retrieve body parts of a fallen comrade, or when Israel has to exchange, in a humiliating deal, the corpses of two Israeli soldiers for a cruel terrorist demanded by Hezbollah. Since when is there a priority of the dead over the living? Did not King David declare: “The dead do not praise God” (Psalms 115:17)?

We Jews disdain the Islamist suicide bombers because they preach the delights of paradise over properly living in the here and now. Yet certain Jews have an agenda that resembles a cult worshipping the dead. Finally, would it not show greater faith in an omnipotent God that He can resurrect the dead from ashes as well as from bones?

Jacob Mendlovic Toronto, Canada

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