Jewish attitudes toward cremation range from strict rejection on the part of the most Orthodox to widespread acceptance on the part of Reform or secular Jews.
There are several objections to cremation for Orthodox Jews, who believe that the body must be buried in its entirety:
Among non-religious or secular Jews cremation is becoming as common as in other groups.
- the individual does not own his body, but rather like a car, his body is given for use in this life, hopefully for good, and must be returned to its ultiimate owner, God.
- Another key belief is that the body and soul of the Jewish believer will be re-united at the resurrection of the dead when the Messiah comes.
- Kabbalah teaching avers that the soul is actually present at the funeral, hearing the tributes and finding a last fellowship with the living. A part of the soul actually remains at the gravesite after burial, and the visits of loved ones and friends are a moment of communion with the departed. Cremation destroys this connection.
- An obvious objection, shared by Orthodox and more secular Jews alike is an abhorrance of the destruction of the body by fire, in remembrance of the horrors of the Holocaust.