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Monday, July 25, 2011

Amy Winehouse Funeral Expected Within 24 Hours Under Jewish Law

Amy Winehouse with her mother Janis after accepting a Grammy Award at London's Riverside Studios for the 50th Grammy Awards ceremony in 2008

Reports on Monday suggest that the funeral of Amy Winehouse is expected to take place within the next 24 hours , and possibly as early as today.

According to Jewish law, the body of the deceased must be buried as soon as possible (Deuteronomy 21:23: “You must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God's curse”), allowing no more than a day’s delay so that family members and mourners be allowed time to assemble for the funeral.

Winehouse, who was discovered dead in her London home on Saturday, July 23, was born to Jewish parents Mitch, a jazz musician and cab driver, and Janis, a pharmacist, sometimes wore a Star of David necklace and often mentioned her religion in interviews.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that after an autopsy is performed, the results of which may not be known for several weeks, the body will be released for burial.

Open caskets are forbidden by Jewish law as is cremation. Among the traditions put forth in the Torah, which details every step in the Jewish burial and bereavement process, is the call for a handful of dirt to be thrown into the casket by a family member, so as to put the body in closest contact with the earth. A eulogy is also recited graveside.

Following the funeral, relatives of the deceased spend seven days mourning in the home and receiving visitors, what’s called “sitting shiva,” the purpose of which is to focus on the life of the person who has died and his or her relationship to the family and friends in that room as well as comfort the mourners.

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