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Chevra Kadisha (Burial Society) and Cemetery
Our tradition teaches that it is a great honor to care for the dead and their bereaved families. Temple Israel is fortunate to have its own Chevra Kadisha to carry on this age-old tradition of service and support. Presently, our Chevra includes approximately 20 members in the women's and men's groups. We also have both a Jewish Cemetery and an Interfaith Cemetery on Log Plain Road East in Greenfield. We are often asked questions about Jewish law and tradition concerning care and burial of the deceased.
Here is some information that we hope will be helpful. If you have questions, please feel free to call me.
Marc Kaufmann, President, Chevra Kadisha
(413) 625-9708 (Home), (413) 695-2838 (Cell)
Information Regarding Jewish Burial
- When a death occurs, contact the Rabbi or the Temple office (413-773-5884). The Rabbi will contact a member of the Temple's Chevra Kadisha. If neither the Rabbi nor the office administrator is available, call Marc Kaufmann (413-625-9708) or Phyllis Nahman (413-773-8535). Some people prefer to call the funeral home of their choice first.
- The Chevra Kadisha will perform the Tahara, the traditional ritual purification of the body, and will clothe the body in the simple white shroud customary for Jewish burial. This ritual is required for Jewish burial in both of our cemeteries. It is done as soon as possible after a death has occurred, preferably within 24 hours.
- The Tahara can be performed subsequent to organ donation.
- Jewish law prohibits autopsies in most circumstances. Contact the Rabbi before authorizing an autopsy.
- Neither embalming nor cosmetology is an appropriate procedure in Jewish burial.
- As a general rule, burial should occur as soon as possible after death.
- There is no public viewing of the body.
- The coffin must be completely wooden and is traditionally very simple in design.
- The coffin contains only the appropriately clad body of the deceased, free of jewelry or other objects.
- Temple Israel cemetery plots may be purchased from our Chevra Kadisha. (See below for costs.)
- Cremated remains may be buried only in the Interfaith Cemetery.
- Floral arrangements are not customary at a Jewish funeral service.
- No plantings are permitted at Temple Israel cemeteries.
- Monuments shall conform to the bylaws of the cemetery. (See Chevra Kadisha by-laws.)
Information Regarding Burial in Temple Israel Interfaith Cemetery
Any Temple Israel member of the Jewish faith and any near relative of that person may be buried in this cemetery. "Near relative" is defined as any parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or partner of a member of the Temple.
Any clergy may officiate at the burial of a non-Jewish person, in consultation with the Rabbi or spiritual leader of Temple Israel. We recommend that religious funeral services be performed at an appropriate house of worship or funeral home.
Jewish burials in the Interfaith Cemetery must follow the requirements listed above.
Burials are not permitted on the Jewish Sabbath or Jewish religious holidays that forbid work.
Cremated remains may be interred in the Temple Israel Interfaith cemetery.
Cemetery plots may be purchased from our Chevra Kadisha. (See below for costs.)
Only Jewish or non-denominational symbols and inscriptions shall be engraved on the headstone or footstone. These shall be reviewed by the Interfaith Cemetery Committee. Monuments shall conform to the bylaws of the cemetery; they must be in place within one year of burial. No planters, shrubs, statues, or any other decoration shall be permitted on a grave site.
Cemetery and Chevrah Kadisha Fees
- Member* Fee: $300
- Non-Member Fee: $700
Chevra Kadisha Services: Tahara
Traditional ritual washing/purification of the body, preparation for burial-required for all Jewish burials.
- Member Fee: $125
- Non-Member Fee: $250
Includes marking grave site and coordination with the funeral home regarding cemetery preparation for burial.
- Member Fee: $150
- Non-Member Fee: $300
* A "member" is defined a current member of Temple Israel.