<I like the kids' involvement for several reasons. It's a lesson in the fragility of life and coming face to face with death. Most importantly, though, it's a noble form of community service--not one imposed by a judge as punishment for getting busted at an underage drinking party.>If you believe in a Judge, please read this: Wendy, not to discount the meaning of your post, but I believe the judge referred to in the original snippet was one of the judicial kind, as in, human courts of law, not a more all-encompassing variety. I'm sure you agree that individuals who are volunteering for what they believe is a mitzvah (in whatever way they perceive that) will be more effective and compassionate than those who are simply serving out a community service requirement. My struggle is that in this economic and environmental climate, we need to understand the burden that social and religious requirements for the treatment of the dead have put on families and the environment overall. Most religions are very specific on the rites surrounding the dead, and what religion doesn't cover then different laws have evolved to handle them. For example, as mentioned, there are laws permitting whether or not cremation is an option in certain situations. One thing is certain: people are not going to stop dying anytime soon. However, how long before these regulations and traditions, combined with the "permitted" channels for each, combine to overwhelm the living beyond what they can afford, and distort the original meanings of these rituals altogether? GSF
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