Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Rabbi Sues Over Pennsylvania Funeral Requirements

A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania rabbi has filed a federal lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Board of Funeral Directors and two other state officials seeking an injunction against interpreting Pennsylvania's funeral-director law as requiring licensed funeral director when a funeral is supervised by a religious authority and there is no embalming or fee-for-service. According to yesterday's Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Rabbi Daniel Wasserman charges that rabbis, funeral homes and grieving families are being pressured by the state funeral board.  The complaint in the lawsuit alleges:
Plaintiff -- unlike some clergy from other religions -- is now being threatened with civil action and criminal prosecution, including stiff fines and even imprisonment, for conducting religious funerals in place of licensed funeral directors who, under color of state law, interfere in purely religious observances for no other justification than personal profit.