Funeral Homes Don’t Care Enough To Proofread Their Websites

I was surprised and offended when I visited Beth David Funeral Home’s website yesterday.  

Beth David prominently uses Catholic/Christian symbols to market to Jewish customers. 

This is a blatant disregard for the sensibilities of their primary Jewish clientele.

Beth David’s offense isn’t isolated; a cursory investigation revealed similar offending discrepancies at Eternal Light Cemetery, Beth Israel, and Levitt-Weinstein funeral homes.

I have no idea why Jewish funeral homes would think it’s a good idea to offend Jews, but yes…it is true – these funeral homes do it.  

For some reason, the Beth David, Eternal Light, Beth Israel, and Levitt-Weinstein websites use Catholic/Christian Icons to market to Jews. 

These establishments, ostensibly Jewish, seem to lack either the requisite sensitivity or basic knowledge about Judaism and the nuances of anti-antisemitism.  This oversight raises serious questions about their commitment to the values they purport to uphold.

A quick glance at the Beth David/Levitt-Weinstein website unveils this incongruence.  

Below is their advertisement for customizing a Jewish casket.  There are no Jews anywhere in the world who would not be offended by a picture of a cross in their coffin implying that they are Catholic/Christian. 

Open brown casket with the words "casket customization".

Or consider another image on their site: a quotation from the Book of Timothy (New Testament) in Spanish, complete with an image depicting the Virgin Mary or another Catholic saint.  Such representations are starkly un-Jewish.

Virgin Mary depicted under the caption "Custom Memorial Blanket".

This begs the question: how could these so-called Jewish funeral homes feature Christian/Catholic icons so prominently?

The roots of this issue are unclear.  I have no idea whether it stems from negligence, arrogance, intolerance, or anti-Semitism.  

Regardless, one thing is crystal clear: these establishments seem indifferent to the accuracy of their details, even at the risk of alienating their primary audience.

Their websites are riddled with mistakes that are not just errors but potential affronts to Jewish sensibilities.  Examples abound, like showcasing bagpipes in their “musical tributes” section – a glaring cultural mismatch – or featuring a distinctly non-Jewish casket in their “live video streaming” service for Christian/Catholic funerals.

These establishments are subsidiaries of Northstar Memorial Group, a Texas-based conglomerate and a major player in the United States’ death services industry with minimal Jewish affiliations.  

The names Beth David, Beth Israel, Levitt-Weinstein, and Eternal Light are mere marketing veneers; anyone can adopt a Jewish moniker, affix a Star of David to their logo, and feign Jewish identity.

Are There Other Similar Funeral Homes In South Florida?  Yes.  There Are 16 Funeral Homes and Cemeteries Owned By Northstar In South Florida

Here’s the fun part: Northstar owns 16 funeral homes and cemeteries in South Florida that are under common ownership, management, and control.

Below is the list of South Florida affiliates.  

  • Alexander-Levitt Funerals and Cremation (Tamarac)*
  • Beth David Memorial Gardens Cemetery (Hollywood)*
  • Beth Israel Memorial Chapel Funeral Home (Boynton Beach)*
  • Beth Israel Memorial Chapel Funeral Home (Delray Beach)*
  • Eternal Light Memorial Gardens (Boyton Beach)*
  • Ferdinand Funeral Homes & Crematory (Miami)
  • Graceland Memorial Park Cemetery – North (Coral Gables)
  • Graceland Memorial Park Cemetery – South (Miami)
  • Levitt Weinstein Blasberg Rubin Zilbert Memorial Chapels (North Miami)*
  • Levitt Weinstein Funeral Home at Beth David (Hollywood)*
  • Memorial Plan Branam Funeral Home (Homestead)
  • Memorial Plan San Jose Funeral Home (Hialeah)
  • Memorial Plan San Jose Palm Funeral Home (Hialeah)
  • Memorial Plan Westchester Funeral Home (Miami)
  • Memorial Plan at Miami Memorial Park (Miami)
  • Palm Beach Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home (Lantana)

*caters to the Jewish community

The problem isn’t confined to Jewish consumers; it affects non-Jews as well.  The core issue lies in the company’s apparent disregard for critical details, insensitivity towards its clientele, and misrepresentation of its identity.  It is ridiculous to believe that Northstar is culturally insensitive and careless with its Jewish customers but somehow is motivated to serve its Catholic/Christian customers.  In my experience, if an entity is sloppy with some customers, it is sloppy with all customers. 

The sales tactics employed by funeral and cemetery service providers often involve aggressive persuasion, urging families to overlook significant flaws.  However, the above issues are not just flaws but features of indifference to detail and sloppy management.  

And, they raise core questions of trust…can you trust these funeral homes to care for you or your loved one when you can’t trust them to proofread their websites.  

I advise finding funeral homes and cemeteries that try harder not to offend their customers.