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Bucharest Jews can bury coronavirus dead on Shabbat to avoid cremation

In Romania - the Jewish community of Bucharest, received a rabbinical allowance to bury coronavirus victims on Shabbat. This follows an order from Romanian government authorities that coronavirus victims must be buried on the day of their death or cremated. Cremation is not allowed under Jewish law and a burial cannot take place on Shabbat. The community turned to Rabbi Yaakov Rojah of the Zaka volunteer community emergency response organization for the allowance, called a heter, and he identified a possible precedent that would allow a non-Jew to bury the body on Shabbat. According to Rabbi Rojah, he contacted Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl, the former chief rabbi of the Old City of Jerusalem and the president of the Rabbinical Council of Zaka who recently ruled that the Bucharest Jewish community would be permitted to have a Christian bury a coronavirus victim who dies on Shabbat to prevent the body from being cremated.

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