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Amy Winehouse Funeral Controversy


Jul. 26 2011, Published 8:10 a.m. ET

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By Amber Goodhand - Staff Reporter


- Senior Reporter

Amy Winehouse was laid to rest on Tuesday in London with a traditional Jewish ceremony but it's become a controversial topic given the circumstances involved.

Winehouse, 27, was cremated before she was buried and was covered in tattoos - typically two major violations of Jewish law.

According to Rabbi Naftali Silberberg, it is unequivocal that the dead must be buried in the earth.

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"As a deterrent measure, cremated remains are not interred in a Jewish cemetery. 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. However, is recited for such individuals, and it is certainly appropriate to give charity and do mitzvot in memory of their souls," the Rabbi writes of

Religious Jews do not traditionally believe in cremation because their faith tells them that they will be resurrected when the messiah comes, which would be impossible if they have no body.

The Jewish Community Center Chabad In Manhattan Beach, California explains why tattoos are forbidden in the religion.

"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.

Amy Winehouse
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"While Judaism forbids tattooing it does not place any stigma on someone who has a tattoo, they are no less responsible to fulfill Mitzvot than someone without a tattoo including the Mitzavah of not getting any more tattoos. Contrary to the popular belief, 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."

Tattoos are thought to be a "marking the body" and those with tattoos are not to be buried in Jewish cemetery, although in recent years a line of more progressive-thinking Jews have accepted both tattoos and cremation.

It's unclear who made the decision to have Winehouse's remains cremated or if she had been actively practicing her Jewish faith.




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