District of Columbia
Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Service Corporation International and Stewart Enterprises, Inc.; File No. 131-0163
The proposed agreement attempts to recognize the need of Jewish families seeking funeral services, by leaving one firm out of the acquisition. Unfortunately, the one chosen in the agreement is not a meaningful independent entity, lacking many services, in particular including most of the features required for a Jewish funeral that meets ritual requirements including, among others, arrangements for keeping the body guarded after death. THE ONE FIRM THAT SHOULD BE CHOSEN TO REMAIN SEPARATE IS HINES-RINALDI [H-R]. H-R provides all the services needed for a proper funeral that meet Jewish ritual requirement. Further, H-R has a standing agreement with the Jewish Funeral Practices Committee, a group which represents many of the Jewish congregations in the area. In this agreement H-R agrees to provide proper basic services meeting all Jewish ritual requirements at an agreed cost well below those of larger firms, to avoid actions that add extra charges neither needed nor desired in a proper Jewish funeral, and agrees to leave financial arrangements to be settled after the 30-day post-funeral period called "Shloshim" during which mourners are expected, under Jewish ritual practices, to not have to deal with financial or other business matters. We do not know of any other firm which offers these provisions to families seeking proper funeral practices that meet Jewish ritual and social requirements. Thank you for considering these issues. /s/ Richard A. Frankel Ph.D.