On March 17, 2019 a group of Kehilla congregants, family, and friends practiced an established ritual that for many Jews does not occur in their lifetime. We consecrated a Jewish burial site. This momentous event occurred at Plot 70 in Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, CA. where 45 graves have been purchased by members and two by Kehilla. Led and beautifully choreographed by Rabbi David Cooper, we circled our perimeter seven times, praying and pausing, chanting and reciting, offering tzedakah, and confirming our intent to make sacred this space where we will bury our dead. Hazzan Shulamit Fairman Wise and Julie Nesnansky offered their voices and energies as we traversed our section with communal effort. It was a profound and meaningful rite.
We celebrated with a delicious reception at Kehilla following the consecration ably coordinated by Ruth Minka.
Our thanks to Lea Delson who graciously volunteered her time to document this day. Also, gratitude to Bob Kelly who constructed staircases so we could safely walk our boundaries.
This has been a 4 ½ year odyssey of working with Mt. View, visiting other cemeteries as possible sites, and researching burial options. We want to acknowledge now and thank: Lisa Korwin for helping craft our questionnaire to the membership about burial desires, the Board of Directors and the SLPC/Spiritual Leadership for wise counsel and cogent direction, Jay Koch for adding his financial acumen to our negotiations with Mt. View staff, Michael Saxe-Taller for his positive and unfailing support, and our beloved Chevra Kadisha who encouraged and nourished us along the way.
Our deepest thanks to the Kehilla members who purchased graves to make this dream of a Kehilla final resting place a true reality.
With much affection,
Cathy Steirn and Jane Hoberman