Cremation and The Holocaust

In your column of Dec 31st, you explained the importance of burial vs cremation, with respect to the Jewish belief in the Revival of the Dead, the final reward when the body is reunited with the soul, something which may be lost on one who forfeits the body to cremation.
Unfortunately, there are so many of us eternally mourning all the victims of the Nazis, whose bodies were cremated en mass by no choice of their own. How does Judaism deal with those martyrs who never had a choice with respect to the final reward you discussed?

Cremation or Burial

My mother was recently put into hospice and for the first time she’s facing death as a reality. We’ve been discussing burial and her desire, and she has been leaning towards cremation so not to put any financial burden on our family. Something feels wrong to me about that; to me it’s worth a financial stretch to have her buried the traditional way, but I wanted to know if Jewish law is ok with cremation or is there a real reason to prefer burial?


As my mother has gotten older she has expressed a desire to be cremated. I have spoken to her about this and reminded her that she couldn’t be interred in a ‘Jewish’ cemetery (And asked her if 6 million Jews being burned wasn’t enough). She has resisted my arguments. I fear that if she dies, I won’t be able to attend her funeral. I could use some help here.

Coffins and Burial

A company is selling “a variety of eco-friendly, biodegradable burial products including Ecopod, a kayak-shaped coffin made out of recycled newspapers,” according to the newspaper story, it will also offer “fair-trade bamboo caskets lined w/bleached cotton” and “more traditional-looking handcrafted coffins made of wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. “Prices of the biodegradable containers start at about $100 for a basic cardboard box. “Biodegradable coffins are part of a larger trend toward ‘natural’ burials, which require no formaldehyde embalming, cement vaults, chemical lawn treatments or laminated caskets,” the article also says.
This all sounds very Jewish to me (for different basic
reasons, of course); I’d like to know if a traditional burial would be
kosher in a cardboard box or recycled newspaper coffin — since both cardboard and newspaper are basically made of wood to start with. Or might there be other elements in them to render such things unkosher?