Regarding Rabbi Nechemia Schusterman’s July 25 article “A sad, beautiful funeral,” I’d like to add to the discussion. Recently, when my wife died, I went to a prominent Jewish funeral “home” and asked how much it would cost. They said $8,000. I said I could not afford it. They said, “Too bad.” This left a bad taste in my mouth since I knew there were places where Jews could get financial help but the funeral homes do not seem (not all of them of course) to care or to help like Chabad did. So where can Jews go for help?
• J-CAM, Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts with offices in Newton has a program for “indigent” Jews without heirs.
• CJP has a program or can direct you to one.
• Chabad (but of course, you have to be Jewish and no cremations).
• Local lending groups.
The problem is that when it happens, one is not psychologically prepared and also, what if you don’t have any heirs or they are far away or themselves are indigent?
Still there is help if you prepare ahead of time and people should get involved in pre-paid funeral programs. It will save you a lot of grief later.
Rabbi Jack Nusan Porter, Newton