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Jewish death and mourning practices are based on the principle that human beings are created in the divine image, and that people should therefore treat dead bodies with respect. Jewish legal thinkers consider the appropriate burial of the dead a major mitzvah. The rabbis of the Talmud called burying the dead an act of the highest degree of loving kindness, because the dead cannot reciprocate. It is also a mitzvah to comfort mourners. By being present and compassionate, family and community members, whether they are Jewish or not, participate in one of life's most meaningful psychological and spiritual experiences.