Miss the funeral? Now you can download it

Tel Aviv [burial society] will provide online videos of funerals.

jewish cemetary 224.88 (photo credit: Michael J. Jordan)
jewish cemetary 224.88
(photo credit: Michael J. Jordan)
Tel Aviv cemeteries will soon offer an easy, "virtual" way of accompanying loved ones on their last journey. As part of a push to improve religious services, and another example of how technology is being used to bridge geographic barriers and time constraints, the Tel Aviv Hevra Kadisha [burial society] will provide online videos of funerals. Bereaved who are unable to make it to their loved ones' funerals or do not have the free time will be able to access via Internet an edited video clip of the eulogy, procession and burial at a cost of NIS 200. A hard copy of the video costs an additional NIS 150. "Within two months we should have the system up and running properly," said Yosef Zaruk, head of computer technology at Tel Aviv's Hevra Kadisha. The service is aimed at relatives and friends who are prevented from attending the live funeral, especially those living outside Israel. Currently, the Hevra Kadisha Internet site is only in Hebrew, but Zaruk said an English-language site will be launched within six months. Menahem Gsheid, spokesman for the Tel Aviv Hevra Kadisha, said that dozens of people a month have inquired about the online video service. He added that charges for the service are not meant to generate profits, just cover costs. Hananiya Shachor, director-general of Hevra Kadisha in Jerusalem, said he tried to offer an identical service several years ago. But due to a lack of demand coupled with high costs the service was discontinued. "Watching the funeral online is simply not a substitute for the real thing," said Shachor. "Most people feel that you either come to the actual funeral to show your last respects or you don't. The video is not a real option." Gsheid said in response that perhaps the service will have more of a demand now than it did a few years ago since people have become more comfortable using the Internet for various "virtual" activities.