Everyone has had the experience of attending a funeral where it is obvious that the officiant has no real knowledge of the deceased person. Such funerals seem inauthentic and even insulting to the memory of the one who has died.
The funeral/memorial service is an especially important time for family and friends to comfort one another, to express love and support and, most of all, to bid farewell in a dignified and respectful manner. Funerals really are for the living, to bring solace and closure. It is also a time to restore memories of the deceased person’s qualities and achievements from the times when they were at their best.. This is the way all of us would want to be remembered.
Rabbi Sternfield believes it is essential to meet in person with bereaved families in their own homes in the days before the funeral, to help create a service that will be comforting and a meaningful tribute to the deceased. He is entirely receptive to having family members and friends deliver eulogies and reminiscences, but insists that such remarks be well-prepared, and he is always willing to assist.