Germany: Struggle Against Law That Delays Kevurah


teichtalThe Jewish community in Berlin is launching a struggle against current legislation obligating halonas hameis – suspension the burial of the dead – in the German capital. In the past weeks, Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, rov of the Jewish community in Berlin, addressed German legislatures and the Ministry of Health to find a solution to this legal problem.

According to this law, which is effective in the state of Berlin that comprises part of the German Federation, in any case of death one should wait 48 hours before burial, so examinations and at times post-mortum dissections of the body would be plausible. This inclusive procedural law creates a situation where in the majority of death cases which occur the state, the corpse should be delayed for two days before its burial, even if the initial scrutiny determined it is a natural death.

This situation is contradictory to halacha, which demands the most rapid burial possible after a person is deceased. According to halacha, only in exceptional cases, there is a heter to delay the burial for day or so. Postponing the burial for a longer duration is perceived as disrespecting the dead.

In the past few days, Rabbi Teichtal and other leaders of the Jewish community have been trying to promote an amendment proposal for the Parliament Law of the State of Berlin which will allow burial within 24 hours as required under the Jewish religious law once a doctor’s approval for a natural cause of death is obtained. As part of the efforts to promote the amendment for the legislation, Rabbi Teichtal and Bension Braun, chairman of the religious department of the Jewish community and a board member of the community, have both met with the CEO of the State of Berlin Ministry of Health in regard with the proposal. In addition, Rabbi Teichtal contacted the Moslem communities in the city which agreed to support the law.
“In the conversations we held with the Berlin Ministry of Health and with Parliament legislatures we found willingness to take our requests into account. In fact, in light of this current law, every case of death, including natural death, becomes automatically a struggle of the Jewish authorities for the release of the cadaver”, says Rabbi Teichtal and adds that “in all of our attempts to address the authorities, we always emphasize that the current situation violates the freedom of religion of the Jews and that amending the law will be the wise and just thing to do.”

{Gavriel Newscenter}


  1. Disturbing but not surprising. Why would any Jew who is Jewish enough to care about such a vital Jewish law still live in germany??? They are trying to destroy, together with the other world communities, the Jewish people in another manner, than the WWII nazis, by doing what the ancient Greeks tried to do by prohibiting the performance of the mitzvot and undoing Yiddishkeit. This is their war against Hashem! The Jews of Germany – leave, come home to EY.