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This may seem like a strange paring – after all, Jewish peoples believe in a God and Humanists don’t! But, along with the sorrow of death, there is a joy and celebration shared by both that is uplifting.
Humanism brings non-religious people together to develop their own views and an understanding of the world around them. Humanism developed from Rationalism, so originally there was no funeral – they believed that one moment they were there and the next They weren’t. Also that no particular attention should be given to the dead body – no ritual and no customs.
In practice, grief has led Humanism to develop many of its own rituals and practices in the last 100 years.
A funeral will generally be held at a crematorium or at a woodland cemetery. There is no religious ceremony, but the funeral is led by a celebrant who talks about the deceased along with words from friends and/or family members.
The Jewish way of death could be seen as wrapping up a life and ensuring that there are as few loose ends around as possible. A dying person should not be left alone, and their companions should find out what they want and help them arrange their affairs.
The dying are encouraged to make peace with adversaries and resolve any conflict. Particularly within a family. A rabbi will also support the dying in making a ‘deathbed confession’ and encourage them to make the Jewish declaration of faith.
The person most closely related to the deceased will spend seven days in the house sitting shiva. In this time, mourners will visit and sit with them. They will remember and tell stories about the deceased.
In practice, both creeds celebrate the person and their life. Death is an opportunity to talk about a life well lived and how the deceased helped guide the lives of the still living.
Sikhs and Ghanaians share the belief that our lives here on earth are just a step onward toward a better life.
The importance of family, and the belief that elders can protect us from death is prevalent in Mexico and Japan.
Swedes and Australians share a pragmatism that is reflected in the way they approach death.
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