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Jewish Cemetery & Burial Customs
The Procedure at a Cemetery for a Jewish Burial
The burial in the ground (k’vurah b’karka) is the most important part of the funeral. Therefore, everyone who is able should make every effort to “accompany the deceased” (levayah) to the cemetery. Upon arrival at the Jewish cemetery the casket is carried to the grave, accompanied by the family and friends, or "Pre-set" on the site. Once all have arrived the Rabbi conducts the service. At the appropriate time in the service the Rabbi will request the casket to be lowered into the grave. After lowering the casket, it is then appropriate for all present to participate in the actual burial by shoveling earth into the grave, as it is the primary responsibility of the family and the community. As different Rabbis have differing standards and procedures they follow, please take direction from the Rabbi. After the appropriate prayers have been recited, friends and family traditionally form two lines, facing each other, so the immediate mourners may walk between them to hear the first words of comfort after the burial, “ha-makom y’nachem etchem b’toch sh’ar aveilei tzion vi-rushalayim.”
Jewish cemetrries are considered holy and even have a special ceremony upon its opening. One of the first priorities of a new Jewish community is to establsih a cemetery. Jewish cemeteries are usually purchased and operated on communal funds. Jewish cemeteries can be referred to many different ways in Hebrew:
bet kevarot - house of tombs
beit almin or bet olam - house of eternity
bet chayyim - house of the eternal life
bet shalom - house of peace
Check out our page on local jewish cemeteries near you.
Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_cemetery