News and Blogs

Death - A Nice Opportunity for Regret

E-mail Print

The New York Times
Published: November 9, 2012

Nothing focuses the mind, or stirs reflection on remorse, like mortality.

THOMAS ARNOLD KEMP was executed this past April through lethal injection. He stole $200 from a college student in Tucson in 1992 and then murdered him. It took seven minutes for Mr. Kemp to die. His last words: “I regret nothing.”


I have been thinking about Mr. Kemp and death and regret, perhaps obsessively. Regret incites us to review and reflect on our actions; when we miss the mark, regret  generates disappointment and grief. Regret would not have kept Mr. Kemp alive. But it might have kept him decent.

Regret is an essential part of repentance in Jewish law, and, as a rabbi and Jewish educator, I find myself thinking about regret each year before Yom Kippur. As part of my research into the subject this year, I handed out index cards to my students from age 18 to over 80, and asked them to list a small regret and a large regret.

Here is a random sampling.

Read the full article at The New York Times


How Thinking About Death Can Lead to a Good Life

E-mail Print

April 19, 2012

Thinking about death can actually be a good thing. An awareness of mortality can improve physical health and help us re-prioritize our goals and values, according to a new analysis of recent scientific studies. Even non-conscious thinking about death -- say walking by a cemetery -- could prompt positive changes and promote helping others.

Read the full article at ScienceDaily


The high cost of saying goodbye

E-mail Print

November 9, 2012

Money Magazine, November 2012

Funeral costs: Laying a loved one to rest typically costs $10,000 or more -- sometimes much more. That's due in part to tactics some in the funeral industry use to manipulate you into overspending.

"A significant expense, a vulnerable time, a real problem comparison shopping, which is the key to any good purchase -- it's the perfect storm," says New York City consumer affairs commissioner Jonathan Mintz.

Read the full article at CNNMoney


PDF File of Money Magazine Article

NFDA Calls Out Money Magazine, Funeral Directors Don’t Prey on Grieving Families

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 November 2012 12:10 )

The Online Funeral

E-mail Print

The Wall Street Journal
November 6, 2012

It would be a mistake ... to say that the webcast dehumanized or even sullied the experience.

My grandfather died on Halloween. Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, none of the New York family members could attend the funeral in Massachusetts. Fortunately, another option became available: The ceremony was streamed online, and so my wife, daughter and I gathered around a laptop in our living room to watch the live webcast.

The rabbi began by giving technology center stage, poignantly acknowledging that the virtual participants played an important role in honoring the deceased’s memory. After that, technology receded into the background for the Massachusetts crowd. My grandmother looked like a bereaved widow. Online coverage didn’t affect her demeanor—or anyone else’s.

At my house, however, things were different. The technology raised all sorts of problems and questions.

Read the full article in The Wall Street Journal

Thanks to ConnectingDirectors for alerting us to this article.


Funeral Trust Checks and Balances: Who has your back?

E-mail Print

Death Care Law Blog
November 2, 2012

In the days that followed the Wisconsin Funeral Directors Association being placed into receivership some of the WFDA’s sister associations were quick to point out they had ‘checks and balances’ that would protect consumers’ funds from the problems that tripped up the Wisconsin Funeral Trust. As we reported in our last post a crucial ‘check and balance’ missing from the WFT was investment oversight. The fact that a trust has a corporate trustee does not necessarily mean that fiduciary has responsibility for monitoring the prudence of the investments. Corporate fiduciaries often look to uniform trust codes for the authority to delegate investment responsibilities. If a grantor wishes to use an outside asset manager general trust laws will accommodate those wishes. The problem with preneed trusts (and cemetery endowment funds) is that there is more than one “grantor” to the preneed trust.

Read the full article at Death Care Law Blog


Page 18 of 159