When 83-year-old Francine Stein passed away at a nursing home, the staff didn’t have any listed contacts for her. Stein had no living relatives.
Enter Rabbi Elchanan Weinbach, who is one of several people on call at the facility when there is no one to officiate a funeral. Weinbach was so disturbed at the thought of no one showing up to say goodbye that he turned to his daughter for support.
Just as heartbroken by the news, she took to Facebook, creating a post that asked if anyone would be interested in going to the funeral of Francine Stein with her. The post went viral, ending in a celebration of Francine’s life among kindhearted strangers.
Unfortunately, people die completely alone in nursing homes all over the country.
Unless all of these facilities start keeping detailed records of contacts and prior residences, people like Rabbi Weinbach will have to oversee funerals with few people, or no people, in attendance. For now, though, let’s be grateful for the wonderful attendees who sent Francine Stein off with love and dignity.