• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Dying is a social as well as physiological phenomenon. Each society characterizes and, consequently, treats death and dying in its own individual ways—ways that differ markedly. These particular patterns of death and dying engender modal cultural responses, and such institutionalized behavior has familiar, economical, educational, religious, and political implications. The Handbook of Death and Dying takes stock of the vast literature in the field.

The Jewish Way of Death
The Jewish way of death

The Jewish thanatology literature places inordinate emphasis on life, as it does on honoring and respecting the deceased. Preserving life, mitigating pain, being sensitive to the self-determining decisions of the patient—all are to be valued and respected. This chapter discusses a number of significant themes facing family members, friends, and the larger community when an individual's demise is imminent and death has been confirmed. It explores the commonly accepted Jewish rituals and practices of mourning and bereavement and issues that have emerged more recently regarding the prolonging of life. It examines Jewish responses and literature on this emerging topic.

More specifically, it discusses the mourners' role prior to interment; the importance of the eulogy for the deceased; ...

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