The Times and Amy Winehouse's Jewish funeral


By Jennifer Lipman
July 27, 2011
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Following Monday's moan about the Mirror and its not-entirely-accurate report about Amy Winehouse's funeral, here's another.

The Times today dedicated the majority of a double-page spread to the "celebration of an 'angel' played out in public glare".

The reporters noted: "The day began with an Orthodox Jewish funeral service in a synagogue in Edgware: Winehouse, despite her feistiness and rebellion, was always a woman who recognised tradition."

Um. Right. Except it didn't. And I don't remember such devotion to tradition when she married Blake, either.

I noticed the – how shall we call it? error? – this morning, although I've seen plenty of people tweeting about it. I'll leave it to Rabbi David Mitchell, of Radlett & Bushey Reform Synagogue:

"Poor article in Times "the day began with Orthodox Jewish funeral service in a synagogue in Edgware" - it was a Liberal service at cemetery!"

Indeed.

Meanwhile, the Mirror removed the earlier comment about how tattooed Jews could be required to "cut" their markings off for a Jewish burial. Well done to them for taking action. In a cute note of caution, they offered readers a helpful how-to guide to Jewish mourning.

My favourite bit was this: "One of the oldest traditions after the funeral is that the community provide the first meal which is traditionally eggs or bagels to symbolise the continuity of life."

Eggs, certainly. But given the modern incarnation of the bagel is widely understood to have originated in melting-pot New York in the 19th century, I'm pretty sure there's no biblical precedent for the post-funeral bagel (Correct me if I'm wrong).

Still, bagels do feature at pretty much every Jewish occasion – a shiva is no exception – so points for trying.

Postscript: Twitter has been abuzz with people suggesting that cremation is not allowed in Judaism. That's true – but also not. Read more about that debate here.

COMMENTS

Inigo Montoya

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 14:23

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There's a custom to eat round foods to symbolise life - like eggs and Bagels!

See, eg, page 35 here: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ojc4Uker_V0C&lpg=PA122&ots=NOgKJvKHiH...

Also, the bagel is much older than the late 19th century, it's a traditional polish food. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagel

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