Reburial, Jewish-Style; or, The Plot Schtickens

If Zayde had really wanted me to be buried in the same cemetery as him, he would have put a shroud on it.”  ~~Bubbe

My mother had a medical semi-emergency yesterday [a foot ailment which seems to now be under control], and as I was driving her to the doctor’s office, I saw a pamphlet sticking out of her purse titled “When Is Jewish Reburial Permissible?”  I thought to myself, “that’s a bit premature,” and continued driving.  I hoped to eventually find out why my mom had such a pamphlet.  When we finally seated ourselves in the doctor’s waiting room, she explained why.

My mom had recently been to a monthly discussion group led by her temple’s rabbi.  The topics discussed are the whim of the rabbi, and, based on the choice of the first meeting’s topic, I’m guessing they are going to be morbid, sensational or impractical.

So the rabbi (who is from New Jersey, which explains much) had a dead dad whose body resided in a cemetery that was becoming increasingly difficult for the rabbi’s aging mom to visit.  Now, because we Jews apparently have not had enough experience hanging out with dead bodies throughout the millennia, a scant few of us (that I didn’t know existed until now) still want to mess around with corpses.  And the rabbi took his mom’s ridiculous request seriously (I’ve heard of demanding Jewish moms, but this is crazy), and he researched the matter.  And he felt the facts were so compelling that he took an hour of a dozen elderly Jewish people’s time to regale them with the minutiae of Hebrew-jeebies body-snatcher rules.  I don’t remember the details, but I gathered that the rabbi was not allowed to move his dad to where his mom wanted, and there was also something about a 25-mile radius.  (Maybe that’s a New Jersey thing.  It’s such a densely populated state, both among the dead and the living.)

The post-mortem:  when the rabbi’s mother finally died, she was buried local to him, and her husband, or what was left of him (“this pile of dirt looks just like Morty”), was exhumed and re-settled by her side in the graveyard.  So, now she can visit him 24-7, on a molecular level, for all eternity.

I’m sure he’s thrilled.

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