Regarding the Papal Funeral
Regarding the upcoming papal funeral TorahWeb's Rabbinic Board (Rabbi Michael Rosensweig, Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Rabbi Mayer Twersky, Rabbi Mordechai Willig) would like to inform the public of the following.
In 1963 Rav Soloveitchik zt"l reacted to reports of Jews watching television coverage of President John F. Kennedy's funeral service. At that time the Rov was distressed and stated that, according to Halachah, it is forbidden for a Jew to watch such a religious funeral service.
We have been asked to provide perspective on the Rov's halachic ruling of November, 1963. Halacha, while championing human dignity and respect, eschews all forms of religious syncretism. The Rov's clarification of the halacha's position regarding a funeral mass is an example of such eschewal.
Our statement refers only to the propriety of Jews participating, even digitally, in such religious ceremonies. Our statement does not in any way detract from the tributes which have been offered this past week.