Kohanim

Shamir And The Kohanim

07/03/2012

The death of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir over the weekend and the government’s decision to have his body lie in state inside the Knesset building presented a religious problem for the country’s kohanim. 

Generally, deceased Israeli leaders lie in state in the Knesset’s courtyard, but the summer heat necessitated that Shamir’s body be placed indoors, officials said. 

Yitzchak Shamir’s body lying in state in the Knesset. Miriam Alster/FLASH 90/JTA

The Role of Jewish Priests: A Matter of Life and Death

05/15/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Jewish priests (Kohannim) are prohibited from attending funerals or encountering the dead (unless it is a close relative). How can the leaders of society neglect one of the most important aspects of community service? Here we learn a value of humility, empowerment, life, and transparency.

Rabbi Yanklowitz is founder and president of Uri L'Tzedek, director of Jewish life and senior Jewish educator at UCLA Hillel.
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