Jewish Burial in Japan

Jewish Burial in Japan

Cremation in Japan is common in Japan. It wasn’t so before World war Two, people were buried. As a matter of fact, the emperor’s family do not cremate to this day. 


Jewish tradition prohibits cremation, since we come from earth and are destined to return to earth. The body is considered sacred as it is a loyal partner to the soul doing good deeds while it is in this physical world. Our body is given to us as a collateral to safekeep, so that after 120 years, of a full and meaningful life, the body is returned to its maker. The Torah teaches that we don’t have a right to burn what G-d has given to us as a gift. 


Recently, a 55 year old Jewish man in our community passed away suddenly. He lived over three decades in Japan. His family in Israel were very worried how they would be able to bury him according to Jewish law. Rabbi Edery, may he live and be well arranged all the paper work so that his body could be flown back as soon as possible to Israel. The Jewish law requires the family to bury their relative as close as possible to the time of death, as respect for the the person who passed on. Many of the local offices were closed due to corona, that did not deter Rabbi Edery from thinking of ways to overcome the challenges. The vice minister of Defense Yasuhide Nakayama, who very kindly connected us with Miyake sensei from the Ministry of Foreign affairs helped very graciously. 


Finally, the Jewish man was buried near his family in Tiberias, Israel. Hopefully, Moshiach will come very soon and he will be reunited with his loved ones.

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