Jewish cemetery for Byron Bay Shire

October 22, 2020 by J-Wire Staff
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A new Byron Shire Jewish cemetery section will be consecrated next month within the Clunes Cemetery 10 minutes west of Bangalow.

The land in the cemetery

The establishment of a cemetery for the Northern Rivers community which is home to over 1000 Jews including many Israelis was an initiative of Marianne McCormack.

She told J-Wire: “Over three years ago I saw a need for a Jewish cemetery for the Byron Bay Community and its environs.

Several local Jewish people I knew had died and been buried in a non-denominational section of the Mullumbimby and Alstonville Cemeteries.
One lovely old man from Nimbin died without family or a penny to his name.  Although my husband Simon conducted Tahara for him, organised a coffin, Tachrihim and a Tallit, he ended up having a pauper’s burial.
Those people or their family who had insisted on being buried in a Jewish cemetery were transported to the Gold Coast for Tahara by members of the Gold Coast Chevra Kadisha and were buried in the Gold Coast Southport Cemetery.
After three years and with help from a friend, Orit Ben Harosh, my husband Simon and my eldest son Josh, the Byron Shire Council unanimously voted to offer us a Jewish section in the Clunes Byron Shire Cemetery.

Marianne McCormack

We have incorporated as the ‘Northern Rivers Chevra Kadisha’ and today held our first meeting and Tahara lesson.  Twenty-five people attended the lesson and many more are interested but could not attend due to work commitments, so we will soon conduct another lesson.

Today it felt as if all our efforts have been worthwhile for the 400 families who live in our Shire, and this number is ever-growing.
So hopefully, there will be no more burials on the Gold Coast, or in a non-Jewish cemetery.
No more paupers burials either as the Chevra Kadisha will be able to secure funds for people who die with no money or relatives.”

The new cemetery will accommodate 60 plots.

Two different burial sites have serviced the Northern Rivers community.

During COVID, the cemetery at Gold Coast is not available. Another cemetery was consecrated a few years ago at Kempsey.

Now the site has been properly fenced and arrangements are underway to consecrate the new burial ground within the next few weeks.

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