(James Barron’s article appeared in The New York Times, 8/7; via Pam Green.)

Joan Rivers’s directions for her own funeral service were printed in the program the ushers handed out on Sunday at Temple Emanu-El on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

“I want my funeral to be a big showbiz affair with lights, cameras, action,” the paragraph-long directive said. “I want paparazzi and I want publicists making a scene! I want it to be Hollywood all the way. I don’t want some rabbi rambling on.”

So after reading from Ecclesiastes, Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson told the invitation-only audience of mourners that he was not about to be that rabbi. More than an hour of tributes and reminiscences followed from friends who occasionally found themselves turning to Rabbi Davidson, the synagogue’s senior rabbi, as if to say not “Can we talk?” — one of the phrases Ms. Rivers made famous — but “Can we talk like that here?” after uttering language not usually heard in a place of worship.


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