I looked at the ad on the back page of this week's Jewish Journal, and saw that one of the major Jewish mortuaries in Los Angeles is offering a new service. It read, "Being with family and friends during one of the most difficult times is important. Now with Live Streaming loved ones are able to attend the service even if the distance is too great."
At first I thought that was pretty over-the-top. The Other Family Human and I joked about people responding to news of an impending funeral by saying, "Eh, no, I'm busy that day; I'll just TIVO it". Then I remembered a couple of situations of our own. A dear member of our family died last summer and circumstances made it impossible for us to fly the 3000 miles necessary to attend the funeral. Instead, we were able to set up a Skype call which allowed us to participate in the shiva minyan that evening. We had felt really cut off from the proceedings and this connection made us feel great. I also remembered that, about six years ago, I had officiated at the baby naming of a child whose uncle was 3000 miles away and unable to attend. This was before the days of Skype, but they were able to set up a webcam system that allowed him to see his niece's naming ceremony. The Other Family Human was taking pictures at the ceremony, and took one of every attendee, including one of the computer screen with the uncle's image on it.
There really are times when you want to be there but can't. So, you use technology to do the best you can instead. Not so funny after all.