Toby Tabachnick’s thought-provoking Chronicle article, “Streaming funerals allow loved ones, friends to mourn virtually” (Feb. 2), suggests quite eloquently that streaming, skyping, and videotaping have now entered the realm of mortality.
The article cites several instances of grieving family members who were able to electronically share in the funeral services of their loved ones, and I do not for one moment question or contest their loving gesture. In fact, I commend them for it; it’s just that I have a much different take on this.
On a journey to Israel, I learned quickly that our homeland is no stranger to protests, and at the time the most prominent among them involved road and building construction. It seems that extensive landscaping was inevitably going to disturb the remains of the dead, which is greatly frowned upon in our faith. This was my first thought after reading Tabachnick’s piece.
Livestreaming funerals certainly does not rise to the level of bulldozing graves; nevertheless, it doesn’t feel like the next best thing to do in the event that you can’t attend a loved one’s funeral. The next best thing is to allow the departed’s spirit, heart and mind to enter your own and commend the deceased to your memory, not to technology, where who knows where it might turn up.
“Seinfeld” gave us many moments of levity. Among my favorites was one in which Jerry was dating a deaf woman. When George got wind of this, he plotted to use the woman’s advanced lip-reading skills to further his own devious schemes, to which Jerry responded, “She’s not a novelty act to be hired out for weddings and bar mitzvahs.”
Maybe it’s just me, but that’s how I feel about this.