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Halachically speaking, Can an Orthodox Jew attend a reform or Conservative burial?

  • What is reform or conservative about the burial? the deceased? the officiator? – Double AA Jan 11 '15 at 22:33
  • I'm no expert on the matter. Perhaps the burial itself, the service. Just like a reform wedding isn't valid so too a reform burial. – El Shteiger Jan 11 '15 at 22:35
  • Do you have any reason to think burials and weddings would be the same? (I don't. Weddings require kosher witnesses while burials do not.) – Double AA Jan 11 '15 at 22:36
  • So is it correct to assume that a reform wedding with kosher witnesses is a valid wedding? – El Shteiger Jan 11 '15 at 22:38
  • Whether it is correct or not it certainly should not be inferred from my words. – Double AA Jan 11 '15 at 22:41
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I hunted a few web sites regarding what differences may be performed at a Reform burial. The only difference I could find is that Reform Jews allow the dead person to be buried in his clothes, whereas others have the dead buried in a tallit.

As for other practices, see this article. In here, the only differences seem to be related to the funeral and shiva customs. There does not seem to be any difference in the burial, itself, other than what I mentioned, above. Perhaps, the mourners, congregants say fewer prayers, say them in English, etc. However, IMO, these rituals should not prevent anyone from attending the burial. From what I gather, everything else, is the same. The body is buried; it's in a casket (I have heard that in Israel, particularly, there are some that don't bury the body in a casket, and that's a specific minhag.), etc.

If you are aware of any specific rituals that make a Reform burial different, please cite them. In any case, contact a rav (one that's alive, obviously :-) about what to do.

  • This may be better adapted to judaism.stackexchange.com/q/52556/759 – Double AA Jan 12 '15 at 15:56
  • As far as specific rituals or customs, reform burials might make use of other than a plain pine casket and the funeral might also make use of viewing the body which is not done at orthodox funerals. But that should not make it impossible for an orthodox Jew to attend a reform burial. The question was specifically about burial, but do reform use cremation? – Dennis Jan 12 '15 at 16:23

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