family members shovel earth into grave

Last weekend, reporter Berny Morson of the Rocky Mountain News was assigned to cover the funeral of a 3-year-old boy. He liveblogged it — that is, he posted about it online as it was happening. Subsequently, there was a cyber-outroar from horrified readers.

I did a bit of googling to find Morson’s Twitter stream where the funeral was covered. (Along the way, it was also discovered that the reporter spoke with the rabbi beforehand, and received his approval.) People were outraged by the idea of twittering a funeral, when people are, by and large, not outraged by reporting on funerals in the first place.

The starkness of his words, and the stripped-down feeling of everything but the barest details of the event, do what newspaper reporting (and even blogging) fails to do: it conveys the most basic, heartbreaking and permeating truths of a story.

rabbi recites 23rd psalm. 11:16 AM September 10, 2008 from txt

rabbi says we will always remember marten and he will live in our memory. 11:18 AM September 10, 2008 from txt

family member remembers marten. 11:20 AM September 10, 2008 from txt

family member says marten is with grandmother who died last year. ‘ marten we loved you,’ he says. People sobbing. 11:22 AM September 10, 2008 from txt

rabbi says marten loved to be tickled. calls the death a nightmare. no words can sooth us, he says. 11:28 AM September 10, 2008 from txt

Discover More

A Timeline of the Holocaust

From Hitler's rise to power to the Nuremberg trials, key events of the Shoah.

How to Make a Shiva Call

Because a shiva call requires total sensitivity to the needs of the mourner, the tradition mandates appropriate behaviors for the visitor.

Maimonides (Rambam) and His Texts

One of the greatest Jewish scholars of all time, he was both a traditionalist and an innovator.