Questions are being raised about some aspects of Amy Winehouse’s funeral and if they violated Jewish laws.
Although the funeral in London on Tuesday was conducted by a rabbi, and the Winehouse family later sat shiva in accordance with Jewish laws, other elements of her funeral might not have been kosher.
For one thing, the 27-year-old singer was cremated, instead of being buried, which Jewish law prescribes.
According to Rabbi Naftali Silberberg, Jewish dead must be buried in the earth.
"As a deterrent measure, cremated remains are not interred in a Jewish cemetery,” he wrote in Chabad.org.
“Furthermore, we are told that many of the traditional laws of mourning are not observed after the passing of an individual whose body was cremated.”
Observant Jews hold that when the Messiah returns to Earth, the bodies of the dead will be resurrected; in the event of cremation, the body would no longer exist.
Winehouse’s fondness for tattoos also is controversial.
According to Web site of The Jewish Community Center Chabad in Manhattan Beach, Calif.: "A person is comprised of a body and soul which are intrinsically connected. Kabbalah teaches us that what happens to our body effects our soul as well. That is why we must be very careful to take care of our body because 'A small hole in the body creates a great hole in the soul,' When we change the look of our body synthetically by inserting a tattoo we are also affecting our souls.”
Regarding tattoos, Leviticus 19:28 in the Bible reads: "You shall not etch a tattoo on yourselves.”
On tattooing, the Jewish Community Center Chabad commented: “The human body is God’s creation, and it is therefore unbefitting to mutilate God’s handiwork. It is especially unbefitting for members of God’s chosen nation to mutilate their bodies. While tattoos may be wonderful art pieces, we believe that God, the greatest artisan of all, formed each of us in His image, an image that we must not change.“
The Jewish Community Center also said: "While Judaism forbids tattooing it does not place any stigma on someone who has a tattoo.”
However, the Center added, “There is no prohibition for a Jew with a tattoo to be buried in a Jewish cemetery and having tattoos on one's body doesn't change the laws involving their Jewish burial in any way."
Liberal and Reform Jews apparently don’t have any problems with either cremation or tattoos.
Ben Rich of the Movement for Reform Judaism in the UK told the media: "Physical resurrection isn't something that progressive Jews believe in, so that isn't a concern. We have therefore been happy to allow cremation for those who want it.”
Rich even referred to the Bible, which he said permits cremation.
"If you go back to Biblical times, it is normal and there are references to King Saul being cremated," he said.
Moreover, according to reports, Rabbi Mark S. Diamond, Executive Vice President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, said: “An increasingly significant number of Jews are choosing cremation. It’s not something I would encourage, but we live as a part of the world.”