by Cathy Steirn
Kehilla’s Chevra Kadisha has begun looking at securing a Kehilla (and/or greater Bay Area Jewish) section at a local or nearby cemetery for our congregation. While there are several Jewish burial options (this includes burying cremains ashes) in our area, none has a specific Kehilla section and may have conditions which prove difficult for some people: grave sites located on a steep hillside making accessibility hard, requirement for concrete liners, location requiring travel on congested freeways, or perhaps no further space available.
We recognize that thinking about a burial plot is often not first on someone’s list of pleasant things to contemplate, or even onerous chores. But it is so important. We will all need to consider this someday and a group area requires advance planning. Before we proceed, we need to know the wishes of our congregation. We need to consider the desires of as many of us as possible.
We will be sending out a survey soon to elicit this information in a SurveyMonkey format. It will be enormously helpful to us if you would complete this survey.
We will be asking about your wishes for burial (green and conventional) or cremation. For clarification, traditional Jewish burial is done in an unlined grave. Many cemeteries now impose the use of a five or six-sided concrete box surrounding the coffin – this is called a “liner.” We will refer to these concrete lined graves as “conventional.” A “green burial” is done without a concrete liner and may also allow placement of the body into the grave without a casket.
Currently, we have identified two cemeteries that have possibilities for Kehilla. Mt. View
Cemetery in Oakland currently has an area that would hold 48 contiguous graves; all require liners. Lone Tree Cemetery in Hayward has an area holding several hundred contiguous graves which could be dedicated as green. In both of these cemeteries the respective areas would be consecrated as Jewish.
Kehilla will not be subsidizing any purchases. We anticipate that each congregant would pay directly to the cemetery.
For more information on green burials: greenburialcouncil.org.
Please contact either Cathy Steirn 510-289-2363 or Jane Hoberman 510-333-1848 for any questions. Thank you so much.