30 Strangers Show Up to Funeral for New York Woman Without a Family
Lifestyle| | By Lauren Boudreau
When Francine Stein passed away, she sadly had no friends or family to attend her funeral. But on August 17, thanks to some good Samaritans, her funeral was attended by almost 30 people. “I was amazed at the turnout and deeply touched,” Rabbi Elchanan Weinbach told Yahoo! News. It was Weinbach who officiated the ceremony and first learned about Stein. The director of the Hellman Memorial Funeral Chapel asked Weinbach to facilitate the ceremony, but unfortunately, only Stein’s name and age were known. Nobody knew anything else about her.
“I was struggling with how to lend dignity to a service where the only people who were going to be there were professionals who had no connection to the deceased and I knew nothing about her,” he said. “I discussed it with my daughter and she suggested that maybe she could get some of her friends out to the cemetery so this woman would not be completely alone at her funeral.” And so the campaign began. Weinbach’s daughter, Ora, put out a social media message on her Facebook page asking people to come to Stein’s funeral. Word spread and soon reached Marquis Home Care, which offered free transportation to the funeral. The turnout was pretty spectacular. Weinbach said that people even came from work during the middle of the day to attend. Bassie Friedman, Marquis’ director of business development said she thought it would be “so tragic” for Stein to be buried alone. “The outpouring of positivity, it was amazing. It was very life-changing. Anyone driving by would’ve thought that we were all gathered there for our aunt, sister or grandmother’s funeral. There were tears. This woman didn’t seem to have anyone and we felt a responsibility to get the word out there so she had a proper burial,” she said. After Stein’s funeral, Weinbach learned that Stein had been a teacher at the Julliard School and been in the care of Munsey Park Home Care Services for Seniors for 10 years before being transferred somewhere else. Munsey Park has now learned of her death and Weinbach hopes to hold another service for Stein where people who knew her can attend.
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