Western PA rabbi wins right to perform funeral rites

Written by The Associated Press | Dec 17, 2012 1:58 PM

(Harrisburg) -- A settlement between a western Pennsylvania Orthodox rabbi and the state government means religious groups are being assured of their right to perform funeral rites.

A court document filed today says the state Board of Funeral Directors and the Department of State will not apply the Funeral Director Law to clergy and others who are carrying out their religious functions and beliefs.

Rabbi Daniel Wasserman had sued in August, saying he faced an investigation and potential penalties for holding funerals and burying the dead without the presence of a licensed funeral director.

The memorandum of understanding says the state will train its workers on the agreement, and notify licensed funeral directors about its terms.

A Department of State spokesman declined comment on the filing.

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