Donate to RNS


We should all mourn for the ultra-Orthodox

By Jeffrey Salkin — April 29, 2020

(RNS) — Jew-haters with guns are no longer the greatest threat to Jews. The new enemy is invisible.

Mideastern burial traditions clash with fears of contagion

By Qassim Abdul-Zahra, Samya Kallub — April 7, 2020

BAGHDAD (AP) — Mohammed al-Dulfi’s 67-year-old father died on March 21 after a brief struggle against the new coronavirus, but it would take nine days for his body to find a final resting place in the Shiite holy city of Najaf in southern Iraq. On two occasions, the family rejected remote burial plots proposed by […]

Grief hides in the church bathroom

By Kaitlin Curtice — February 20, 2019

(RNS) — We chose to grieve together in that moment instead of holding things together for the sake of others’ comfort.

This is no way to treat the dead

By Jeffrey Salkin — November 1, 2017

There’s a new way of disposing of human bodies. You don’t want to know…..

21 boys who died in Islamic school fire buried in Malaysia

By Jerome Socolovsky — September 16, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The pre-dawn blaze Thursday at a three-story ‘tahfiz’ school, where Muslim boys study and memorize the Quran, blocked the lone exit from the dormitory, trapping students behind barred windows.

Saints displaced and replaced

By Martin E. Marty — November 7, 2016

If one cannot handle the dust of the grave, there is comfort to be had, it is reasoned, in the designer urns to be mounted on the mantel at home.

Vatican to Catholics: Cremation can be OK, but don’t scatter ashes!

By Josephine McKenna — October 25, 2016

VATICAN CITY (RNS) New guidelines also forbid loved ones from dividing up the ‘cremains’ or keeping them in jewelry or on the mantelpiece.

Funerals held for slain police

By RNS staff — July 14, 2016

DALLAS — Thousands of police officers joined by ordinary citizens attended funerals for three of the policemen shot dead in a racially motivated ambush attack last week that intensified America’s long-running debate on race and justice.

How secular Americans are reshaping funeral rituals

By Simon Davis — December 17, 2015

(RNS) This may be the year that cremation surpasses burial for the first time in the United States, as a long-standing trend continues.

Two Israeli burial societies agree not to segregate men and women at funerals

By Michele Chabin — December 10, 2014

JERUSALEM (RNS) Until now, the burial societies in Israel have ignored 2013 directives from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the attorney general banning gender segregation in cemeteries.

Nazi ban * Blasphemy in Greece * Anti-gay Africa: Religious Freedom Recap: Jan. 20-27

By Brian Pellot — January 27, 2014

Israel considers a ban on Nazi symbols. Greece evokes its blasphemy laws to jail a man for poking fun of a monk on Facebook. And anti-gay laws are passed or challenged in Nigeria, Uganda and Malawi.

ShivaConnect helps Jews navigate the mourning period

By Ann Marie Somma — October 24, 2013

(RNS) The aim of the website is to avoid duplication and consolidate the many facets of Jewish mourning.

Godless funerals thrive in ‘post-Catholic’ Ireland

By Paresh Dave — May 21, 2013

DUBLIN (RNS) After 32 years as an interior designer, Patricia Wojnar went back to school for a master’s degree in bereavement studies, a hot commodity in Ireland’s “post-Catholic” economy that features growing markets for wedding and funeral officiants who aren’t associated with the scandal-scarred Catholic Church.

‘Death cafes’ normalize a difficult, not morbid, topic

By Janice Lloyd — April 15, 2013

(RNS) No one wants to talk about death at the dinner table, says Lizzy Miles, a social worker in Columbus, Ohio. But sometimes people need to talk about the “taboo” topic. Hence the birth of “death cafes.”

Page 1 of 1