QR codes on tombstones? For Yom Kippur, we discuss the future of the death business

Mandy Benoualid's grandfather is buried on the West Island of Montreal—with a QR code on his tombstone. (Photo courtesy of Mandy Benoualid)

As the Jewish world prepares for Yom Kippur and Yizkor, The CJN Daily team has been thinking a lot about death and grieving—and how the pandemic upended many rituals familiar to Jews around the world.

Among those changes is how technology is changing the death business. One example has been Keeper, a company that puts QR codes on tombstones which link to virtual memorials for the deceased, somewhat like social media profiles pages for the dearly departed. It’s a dedicated online space where loved ones can post photos, comments, memories and family trees.

The entrepreneur behind the app is Mandy Benoualid, a Montreal native and former assistant funeral director who moved to Hamilton, where her husband, Jeremy Cohen, is a professor of religious studies at McMaster University. The couple also runs a popular educational website about death and dying called Talk Death, where they tackle touchy topics such as human composting, cremation and how a chevra kadisha works. Benoualid joins to discuss the latest trends in the Jewish funeral industry.

What we talked about:


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.