HALACHIC PRACTICES APPLYING TO JEWISH SECTION MENORAH OF NORT ATLANTA MEMORIAL PARK
Consecration of Cemetery
- A Jewish cemetery is consecrated ground. A special ceremony is used to consecrate a cemetery.
- A Jewish cemetery should be physically separated from other areas by a fence, shrubs or other physical boundaries.
Proper Conduct in a Cemetery
- No burials shall take place on Shabbat or major Jewish Festivals (the 1st, 2nd, 7th, and
8th days of Pesah, both days of Shavuot, the 1st and 2nd days of Sukkot, Shemini
Atzeret, Simhat Torah, both days of Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur).
- One should conduct him/herself with utmost respect for the dead while in a cemetery. One of the main concerns in Jewish law is loeg larosh, not “mocking the dead.”
- A cemetery is dedicated exclusively to honoring the deceased, so much so that even extending greetings to a friend within four cubits of a grave (7½ feet) is prohibited.
- One does not study Torah, pray or even expose one’s tzizit in a cemetery, as it mocks the deceased who are not capable of performing mitzvot.
- One may not eat, drink or smoke while in a cemetery.
- No personal use may be derived from anything growing on a grave (flowers, fruit, etc.).
- One may not walk over a grave, unless impossible to access another without doing so.
- There is a custom when visiting a grave that one leave a stone on the monument.
- There is a custom to tear some grass and throw it backwards after leaving a gravesite.
- After visiting a cemetery, one should ritually wash one’s hands before re-entering a private residence. It is customary that the vessel is not handed from person to person, but rather is placed on the ground or another surface.
- A widow(er) who remarries is interred next to the spouse from whom children are born. If children were born from both or from both spouse and both marriages were pleasant, he/she is buried next to first spouse.
- Only Jews, as defined by Halacha, are permitted to be buried in a Jewish cemetery. Converts according to Halacha are treated equal to born Jews. One who is in the process of conversion but does not complete it (e.g., circumcision but no immersion in a mikvah) is not buried in a Jewish cemetery.
Reopening of Graves
- Opening a grave is a serious matter and may be done only in limited circumstances.
- Only the Rabbi may determine if a grave can and should be opened. The family has no right to demand this without consent of the Rabbi.
- It is discouraged to place photographs of the deceased on a monument.
- The monument minimally should include Pey-Nun (“Here Rests”), Hebrew name and name of father, Hebrew date of passing and the Hebrew abbreviation Tuf-Nun-Tzadi-Bet-Heh (“May his/her soul be bound up in the bonds of eternal life“).
- Monuments should be humble in nature, in character with other monuments in the cemetery. One should not inscribe excessive praises on the monument.
- It is prohibited to derive any benefit from a monument (for example, sit on it, lean on it, etc.).
- One is not permitted to erase writing on a monument unless it is incorrect.
- If replacing a monument, the new one may not in any way reduce, delete or omit praise from the first one.
- One may erect a monument for a person whose burial site is not known.
- One may not plant flowers or trees over a grave.
MONUMENT & MARKER POLICIES
The design for all monuments and burial markers must be submitted to the Rabbinical staff for approval before the monument may be installed in the Jewish Section Menorah of the North Atlanta Memorial Park. No existing monuments or markers may be removed or altered without the prior approval of the Rabbinical staff.
All policies, rules and regulations of the North Atlanta Memorial Park must be followed by staff and its members in the use of the Jewish section of the North Atlanta Memorial Park. The following policies are within the rules of the North Atlanta Memorial Park and are applicable to the Jewish section of the North Atlanta Memorial Park:
- There are only two types of monuments that are used in the Jewish section. There is a flat grave marker and an upright memorial monument.
- There will be no flat memorial slabs covering the plot.
- Memorial/in honoraria benches may be purchased.
- There will be no curbs or copings allowed around the perimeter of a family or individual burial plot.
- A grave must always have a marker identifying the deceased. At the completion of a funeral, the funeral company will mark the grave with a temporary marker with the appropriate information. The temporary marker must be maintained by the family until a permanent marker is installed and unveiled. The prevailing practice is, after an appropriate amount of time of no less than 30 days and no more than one Jewish year (the first yahrzeit), a permanent marker must be installed by the family. Every grave must have as a minimum a flat bronze grave marker.
The prevailing practice in the United States Jewish community is to erect a monument before the first yahrzeit. Although an unveiling ceremony is not required, most people prefer to have one; this does not have to happen before the first yahrzeit.
FLORAL ARRANGEMENT POLICIES
Consistent with Jewish tradition, there are no flowers or flower arrangements placed at the gravesite.