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Old 05-22-2019, 05:48 AM
 
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I brought this question up on another thread in which they were discussing the transport of a body from the state the person died in to the state where the burial is to take place, and the consensus was that funeral directors on each end arrange it.

My question is: will U.S. carriers accept a body that is not embalmed? If not, what then? And what about the requirement that the body be attended non-stop until internment, preferably within 24 hours? I imagine the body would be placed in the cargo hold, and I'm certain they would not permit people down there with it.

This is not a totally unheard of situation. Years ago, my (Jewish) friend's father died while on an overseas trip to a Middle Eastern country (not Israel). The family, of course, wanted him flown home immediately and the airline required embalmment. The only other option was to have the father buried there, alone, without family, and lying in eternity in a country historically hostile to Jews. They argued with authorities for well over a day, while the body began early stages of decomposition, and they finally relented and allowed for embalmment.

So, what would you suggest? How would Orthodox Jews handle this? (The family in the above story were kashrut-keeping conservatives, but definitely not orthodox.)
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Old 05-22-2019, 06:09 AM
 
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I have a friend who has a popular YouTube channel called "Ask a Mortician" and I could ask her for you. In the meantime, I found this online:

Quote:
As you might expect, the transport of human remains is highly regulated, complicated and expensive. Upon speaking with a few airlines in the U.S.A. about the domestic transport of human bodies, we learned that they generally require bodies to be embalmed. Since embalming is prohibited by Jewish custom, airlines have established alternate requirements to accommodate different faith traditions: bodies may still be transported by air if they have been appropriately refrigerated and packed in a ziegler or other approved container, sometimes with dry ice (i.e., solid CO2 – the amount of which is dependent on the body’s weight and other regulated limits). As dry ice sublimates to gas, it displaces the oxygen within the carrying compartment – a potentially dangerous situation for any live animals also being flown in cargo.
https://greenpetburial.org/2012/07/18/flying-home/

As for the proper accompanying of the deceased, perhaps a rabbi can say whether it would be enough to just have family members on board the plane as regular passengers?
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Old 05-22-2019, 06:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel NewYork View Post
I have a friend who has a popular YouTube channel called "Ask a Mortician" and I could ask her for you. In the meantime, I found this online:

https://greenpetburial.org/2012/07/18/flying-home/

As for the proper accompanying of the deceased, perhaps a rabbi can say whether it would be enough to just have family members on board the plane as regular passengers?
Thanks, Rachel, for that information. (And yes,...I'll ask my rabbi whether regular famiLy members can "accompany" the body, sort of, as regular passengers.)

The alternative arrangement with the dry ice is reassuring, but it's concerning that it could be harmful to animals.
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:07 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel976 View Post
The alternative arrangement with the dry ice is reassuring, but it's concerning that it could be harmful to animals.

I guess the airline would make sure they wouldn't be carrying any animals in their cargo hold if they had to transport a body that way. But even so, I don't think I'd ever want to transport my dog in an airline cargo hold anyway. I've heard too many stories about airline mismanagement involving the transportation of pets.
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:36 AM
 
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Can he body be frozen, under halachic law? If it can, that and some dry ice would seemingly solve the problem. I don't know if that's an option though.
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Old 05-22-2019, 01:38 PM
 
Location: US
27,991 posts, read 15,070,149 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel976 View Post
I brought this question up on another thread in which they were discussing the transport of a body from the state the person died in to the state where the burial is to take place, and the consensus was that funeral directors on each end arrange it.

My question is: will U.S. carriers accept a body that is not embalmed? If not, what then? And what about the requirement that the body be attended non-stop until internment, preferably within 24 hours? I imagine the body would be placed in the cargo hold, and I'm certain they would not permit people down there with it.

This is not a totally unheard of situation. Years ago, my (Jewish) friend's father died while on an overseas trip to a Middle Eastern country (not Israel). The family, of course, wanted him flown home immediately and the airline required embalmment. The only other option was to have the father buried there, alone, without family, and lying in eternity in a country historically hostile to Jews. They argued with authorities for well over a day, while the body began early stages of decomposition, and they finally relented and allowed for embalmment.

So, what would you suggest? How would Orthodox Jews handle this? (The family in the above story were kashrut-keeping conservatives, but definitely not orthodox.)
They could have had him shipped to Israel and buried there...
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Old 05-22-2019, 06:50 PM
 
Location: U.S.A
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I was both an a licensed embalmer and medical examiner/coroner for about 25 years, also did cadaver preservation for a medical school. Embalming is usually required for all human remains to be transported by air. The problem with aircraft is the pressure. As the plane goes up the various gases within a remains will expand within organs that hold fluid. It becomes very unsanitary. Embalming is generally considered a key to public safety. It's not as invasive as most people would think. It's a simple flush of the blood steam. I can answer every question anyone might have about it.
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:01 PM
 
3,417 posts, read 660,807 times
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Originally Posted by Jacob II View Post
I was both an a licensed embalmer and medical examiner/coroner for about 25 years, also did cadaver preservation for a medical school. Embalming is usually required for all human remains to be transported by air. The problem with aircraft is the pressure. As the plane goes up the various gases within a remains will expand within organs that hold fluid. It becomes very unsanitary. Embalming is generally considered a key to public safety. It's not as invasive as most people would think. It's a simple flush of the blood steam. I can answer every question anyone might have about it.
It's not that I think it's invasive, and it does sound like a relatively simple process. The problem is that it is against Jewish law, as we do not want to tamper with the body. (Autopsy is also prohibited, but state law overrides that if police require it due to a suspicious death.)
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:23 PM
 
Location: U.S.A
56 posts, read 7,330 times
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I also favor no embalming if the deceased is going to be buried immediately in a plain wooden casket/box or no casket with just a type of shroud. The earth is very good at taking care of these things. But when people use a concrete grave liner, like a vault that is sometimes required for a cemetery. Then it defeats the purpose. The Jewish community that I worked with was overwhelming pro-Cremation.

And of course we are just there to serve the public without judgment.

Embalming is very inexpensive by the way. I think we use to charge $100.00. In the case of Jewish decedents moved across state lines or other legal reasons. We would collect a pint of the blood in a bottle that would accompany the deceased. Every Jewish community has it's differences of what it does as a standard.
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:35 PM
 
598 posts, read 61,063 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacob II View Post
Embalming is very inexpensive by the way. I think we use to charge $100.00. In the case of Jewish decedents moved across state lines or other legal reasons. We would collect a pint of the blood in a bottle that would accompany the deceased. Every Jewish community has it's differences of what it does as a standard.
That's interesting about the pint of blood! I understand that sometimes amputated limbs have to be buried with the deceased, and I've always wondered whether those were embalmed if the owner was still living, or whether they were buried to await the owner's burial at some later date following death.

btw, this entire topic is fascinating! Thanks, my other Rachel, for posting it!
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