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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 28, 2011 / 22 Adar II, 5771

Dearly E-Parted Deserve Better

By Mitch Albom






http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | My funeral will not be televised.

You can come, which would be nice. Or you can skip it, which is fine. But you can't watch it over the Internet. Enough of life is already done through a screen. For death, you're gonna have to put in some effort.

I say this in light of recent stories about the surging popularity in webcasted funerals. It's the new new thing in saying farewell. A camera, a tripod, a Web connection and presto -- those who can't (or don't) make the ceremony can watch via the Web, hear the eulogies, maybe even see the deceased if the camera angle is right.

"Our response has been unbelievable," I was told this past week by a nice man named David Techner, funeral director of the Ira Kaufman Chapel in Southfield, Mich. "Nearly every family we've served has chosen to have the Webcast."

That's nice for them. But not for me. Sorry. If I was worth a visit while I was here, I'm worth one when I'm gone. Just as I don't consider an e-mail a dinner conversation, I don't consider clicking on as paying your respects.

You want to say good-bye, please, come say it.

But no texting.

A TIME FOR TECHNOLOGY?

Of course, such thinking probably makes me a dinosaur -- but even dead dinosaurs require a little digging.

And so should a funeral. It's not that I don't empathize with people who are unable to travel or are stuck in a foreign country. But as the webcast option grows, I fear a larger majority of the absentees will be people who could have made it, but the plane was so expensive, could have asked for the day off, but why upset the boss, could have cancelled the fun plans they had, but why bother, when we can have both: Web funeral in the afternoon, party at night?

Human nature is human nature. The easier we make things, the easier we want them. We already send virtual birthday cards and e-blast family updates. Soon we will want to control the camera movement at these funerals, to pan the family, see who has shown up -- you know, in person.

In a recent Detroit Free Press story, a Detroit funeral director, Antonio Cole Green, noted the popularity of the Webcasting option.

"People are impressed with how easily you can access the site with just a click of the button," he said, "and many have remarked that the audio was much better than they expected."

I'll be honest. On the list of things I want people saying at my funeral, "The audio was much better than I expected" is hardly No. 1.

Besides, many funeral homes post the link to the ceremony, allowing anyone to join in. Don't you find that odd? There are Web weirdos around the world who love peeping other people's pain. If you wouldn't let them in your front door, why let them in a virtual one?

But here is the main thing. Last I looked, departing this world was still a big deal -- still worth interrupting your routine. And the people who claim Webcasted funerals "give me a chance to mourn" are missing the point.

A funeral is not about you.

A TIME FOR TENDERNESS?

In many ways, it's not even about the deceased. It's about the surviving family and friends. The weeping mother. The brokenhearted husband. The stunned children. You go to funerals to comfort these people, to give them a hug, to share tears.

Do you think they will feel better knowing how many "hits" they got?

Funerals are when we most need to feel connected to the human family. What comes after Web-viewing funerals? The e-mailed condolence card? The Web-ordered food platter? Maybe a Facebook site for tombstone suggestions?

It's not that it's so wrong. It's that, like much of the Internet life, it's too dang easy. You're not supposed to watch a family cry through a lens. You're not supposed to mourn through a screen at your kitchen table, in the same dirty clothes you wore to the gym.

Pretty soon, we'll "attend" weddings from our basement, Skype into our baby showers, and witness the birth of our first child by holding the iPad at just the proper angle.

Well, not here. Not at the end. I hope it's not for a while, but I'm being pre-emptive. I hereby declare my funeral a Web-free event.

After all, if I have to log out, shouldn't you?

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