Germans ‘working on’ Jewish concerns over delayed burials

A Berlin law mandates a delay of 48 hours between death and burial, and clashes with Jewish law, which calls for quick burial within one day.

June 29, 2014 01:18
1 minute read.
Mourners at the funeral for Anat Even Haim, killed in a shooting at a Beersheba bank, May 21, 2013.

Anat Even Haim funeral 370. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Officials in the federal state of Berlin have said that they are searching for a solution to a dispute with the capital’s Jewish community over a law that mandated a delay of at least 48 hours between death and burial.

Jewish law mandates a quick burial – within a day – and Halanat Ha-met (Suspension the burial of the dead) is considering to be a sign of disrespect to the departed.

According to a spokesman for the group, co-director of the local Chabad hassidic community Rabbi Yehuda Tiechtel had been lobbying for an amendment to the local ordinance that would “allow burial within 24 hours, as required under the Jewish religious law, once a doctor’s approval for a natural cause of death is obtained.”

The rabbi and other local leaders have met with the State of Berlin Ministry of Health to discuss the matter, the spokesman said.

The rabbi said in a statement that “in the conversations we held with the Berlin Ministry of Health and with Parliament legislatures we found willingness to take our requests into account. In fact, in light of this current law, every case of death, including natural death, becomes automatically a struggle of the Jewish authorities for the release of the cadaver.”

“In all of our attempts to address the authorities, we always emphasize that the current situation violates the freedom of religion of the Jews and that amending the law will be the wise and just thing to do,” he said.

In an email to The Jerusalem Post a spokeswoman said that the ministry was “aware of the issue brought up by Rabbi Teichtal and we are working on it.”

The New York-based Anti-Defamation League came out in support of the Berlin community’s position, telling the Post that it was “supportive of efforts to provide a limited exemption from this law based on a claim that the delay for purposes of determining whether to conduct an autopsy is contrary to the religious belief of the decedent, unless the authorities can establish that there is a compelling necessity for an autopsy in a criminal investigation or imminent threat to public health.”

“We urge the German legislative and Health Ministry officials to adopt the limited exemption,” the ADL said.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery


Cookie Settings