A new burial ground consecrated

November 3, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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A Jewish section has been consecrated at the Moss Vale Cemetery in the Southern Highlands 130 kms south of Sydney offering the community the option lower plot costs.

The new burial land will be used to replace funerals currently held at nearby Bowral which is almost full. It was last used on the 15th of October for the burial of a member of the Sydney community who had resided in Birchgrove.

The burial ground in Bowral has been operational for almost 20 years.

The group involved in the consecration

The group involved in the consecration

A spokesman for the Chevra Kadisha told J-Wire that a burial plot in Moss Vale is expected to cost around $2,500 compared to almost $11,000 at the widely-used Rookwood cemetery which lies within the metropolitan area. The spokesman added: “We are aware that some people find the cost of a funeral at Rookwood too expensive. The Chevra Kadisha will not impose further charges to transport a deceased person to Moss Vale.”

The new cemetery was consecrated by Rabbi Chaim Ingram representing the Sydney Beth Din who joined a group driven to Moss Vale by bus to make up the necessary minyan. Following biblical traditions Rabbi Ingram walked the perimeter of the Jewish section as part of the ceremony.

In his address Rabbi Ingram said that the new cemetery will offer an alternative burial place for families who find Rookwood beyond their means.

The Moss Vale Cemetery

The Moss Vale Cemetery

He said: “Our Sydney Chevra Kadisha don’t expect thanks for the work they do – but still we have a duty of expressing gratitude and so we must say yeyashe kochachem, thank you in particular to you Alex, to R’ Mendel, to Robert and to others representing the Chevra Kadisha here today for what you do above and beyond the call of duty and certainly this beit ha-chaim did not acquire itself.   I understand the negotiations did need hard work, effort, patience and determination to see the project though. Thank G-D, you succeeded! The 400 silver shekels or their latter-day equivalent have been paid and we have a new beit olom for NSW.

I was looking into the source for the very unusual form of service that we conducted this morning, traversing as we did the perimeters of the cemetery seven times.  The source is in last week’s Torah reading where G-D tells Avrohom: “Arise and circumnavigate the land through its length and breadth” (Gen 13:17). On that verse, Ramban cites a dispute (Baba Batra 100a) where Rabbi Eliezer holds that perambulating its perimeter is the halachic mode of acquisition of land whereas the Sages say it’s just a symbol of Avraham’s acquisition.

What the Chevra Kadisha has done in acquiring this land for NSW Jewry has been done to benefit in particular those sections of our community who are not particularly well-endowed materially, who find themselves unable to afford a burial plot in Rookwood Cemetery. What the Chevra Kadisha has done is to once again make burial affordable for a considerable section of our community. Please G-D it will help to arrest the terrible temptations provided by the cheaper and allegedly simpler option of cremation which of course for a Jew can never be a legitimate option at all because haneshama lach ve-haguf shelach (Yom Kippur liturgy), our bodies, no less than our souls, belong not to us but to G-D.

And let me close with the earnest hope that, just as three times every day in every Amida prayer we follow the blessing of Magen Avraham (Shield of Abraham) with that of mechaye ha-meitim(Reviver of the dead), so too may our emulation of G-D’s directive to Avraham to “acquire the land” be followed very soon, indeed while this land still remains in its virgin state, by the techiat ha-meitim, by the day when “death will pass into life eternal” and we shall all be reunited with our loved ones.  Amen!”



3 Responses to “A new burial ground consecrated”
  1. Judith Thompson says:

    Hi, I wonder if you could help me. I have a relative who died 31.8.2015 – Eileen Mary Loveridge and the Bowral Newspaper states: Followed by internment at Bowral Cemetery. Her husband was Ken Loveridge and I can’t find his date of death but he predeceased her. She was age 91. I wondered if they are buried in your ‘new’ cemetery. Or if you have a way of find out for me where their grave is. They are long time residents of Bowral.
    Thank you for your time.

  2. Debbie Scholem says:

    The “…we shall all be reunited with our loved ones…”. Really ? As comforting as it sounds. No one has ever returned to report whether this is the case.

  3. Rabbi Chaim Ingram says:

    My semi-humorous reference to the 400 silver shekels will be readily understood by anyone perusing the Torah portion of next week where Abraham pays that amount to Ephron, chief of the Hittite tribe, for the Cave and field of Machpelah in Hebron in order to bury his wife Sarah. Incidentally here is a proof from the Bible cherished by 35% of the world’s population and acknowledged by a further 21% that the Cave of the Patriarchs (like Josph’s Tomb in Shechem and of course the Temple Mount, both similarly legally acquired) belongs to our nation!

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