Some people hold the firm belief that embalming a body is unethical. According to the PBS documentary, A Family Undertaking, some people choose to avoid embalming and funeral homes entirely. They compare embalming a body to assault and battery and prefer to hold home funerals by keeping their loved one's body on dry ice and treating the body with essential oils.
According to Jewish tradition, the deceased's body is sacred and is not to be tampered with. Embalming is seen as an intrusive process involving the removal of blood and body fluids and replacement with formaldehyde solutions to cleanse and preserve the body for viewing.
Jewish law does not allow viewings because the body is considered sacred, not an artifact to be put on display. The body is traditionally laid to rest in 24 hours making the need for preservation unnecessary. Also, embalming is seen as slowing the natural decomposition process. Jewish belief holds that the body must return to dust and the soul to God.