Naturally Green Jewish Burial Rituals

Jewish CemeteryFor some people the idea of a green burial is still a fairly novel concept. However, many groups around the world have been practicing eco-burial traditions all along.

For some, natural burials are intertwined with their religion and a belief that the human body should return to the earth as quickly as possible. You’ve probably heard the phrase “ashes to ashes and dust to dust.” Adapted from Genesis, it speaks of returning to the earth without the use of toxic embalming chemicals.

How Jewish Burials are Naturally Eco-Friendly

  • Jewish funeral traditions require only the use of a simple casket. This practice serves as affirmation that everyone is equal in death.
  • No metals are used to make the natural casket. Wooden dowels replace the hinges, nails, or screws used in more modern burials, because Jewish custom mandates that the entire casket must be biodegradable.
  • If glue is used to make the casket, vegetable-derived glue is used instead of one that is animal-derived.
  • Because Jewish burial laws require that the body be allowed to become a part of the earth as soon as possible, caskets are often drilled with holes to speed up decomposition.
  • Jewish law requires the body be allowed to return to the earth as soon as possible. Therefore, the casket must be made entirely from wood, with several holes drilled in the bottom to hasten decomposition and the body’s return to earth.
  • Embalming of the deceased is not allowed according to Jewish law.
  • Cut flowers are not appropriate at Jewish funerals, thus eliminating the need for flowers to be grown using harmful fertilizers and pesticides.

Jewish traditions are not the only green burial traditions, also see Native American Burial Traditions As green burials become more and more popular many other traditions are likely to adopt similar practices.

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