When I was little I remember being confused when my Bubbie would say that she was going to “visit her mother and father” at the cemetery.
Before I understood what death meant, I actually thought that my great grandparents lived there, and I just did not have the opportunity to meet them, yet.
Eventually, I came to understand that my Bubbie was visiting graves to ensure that they were properly kept to honor her parents.
Honoring the dead is an important value in Judaism. A candle that burns 24 hours is lit on the anniversary of a loved one’s death as well as on specific holidays. There are points in the morning, evening, and afternoon prayer services to say a prayer in honor of the deceased.
In order to say this prayer, the tradition states that you need a quorum of 10 Jewish men. (Today in most Reform and Conservative Synagogues women are included in the quorum). My father goes to synagogue 6 times a week to ensure that there are 10 people in case anyone is in mourning can say the prayer. My dad often is the one standing reciting the mourner’s prayer for deceased loved ones who don’t have anyone else to say it for them.
During the most important holidays of the year, there is a service specifically for people who have lost loved ones.
Jews take the responsibility of honoring the dead extremely seriously by commandment and by custom.
One might ask, who cares if a Mormon baptizes a Jew posthumously. The person is dead; they don’t care.
To say nothing is to condone it, and this would be a violation of our duty to preserve and honor the memory of the deceased.
(Not to mention that it’s distasteful given the centuries of forced conversions Jews faced to avoid further persecution).
Instead of apologizing, the LDS Church should rescind the baptisms (if you can baptize dead people, you can unbaptize them, right?) and stop any future baptisms of Jews like Anne Frank, Daniel Pearl, and others who lived as Jews, died as Jews and whose memories deserved to be honored as such.
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