New Jewish cemetery for northern NSW

June 27, 2013 by Henry Benjamin
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A Jewish section will be consecrated next month at a cemetery in the NSW country town of Kempsey…and a Holocaust survivor who lives close by will know that when she dies she will be buried according to Jewish law.

The cemetery in Kempsey

The cemetery in Kempsey

In a remarkable twist of fate the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, working with former president David Knoll who is on the NSW Interim State Cemeteries and Crematoria Board, identified a need for a Jewish burial ground to accommodate a growing presence in the region north of Newcastle to the Queensland border. At the same time,  Kempsey Council was approached by the daughter of a Holocaust survivor who lives close to the town asking if arrangements could be made to find a cemetery housing a Jewish section where her mother could be buried.

As a result of the co-operative work between David Knoll and Jenny Colling of the Kempsey Shire Council, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, the Sydney Beth Din  and the Sydney Chevra Kaddisha (Jewish Burial Society) the Council has announced the allocation of a Jewish section at Frederickton Cemetery to serve the needs of the growing North Coast Jewish community.

Mayor Liz Campbell in making this historic announcement said “Last year, Council had received an enquiry on the availability of reservations in a Jewish section of Council’s cemeteries to allow families to bury loved ones in sacred ground. Unfortunately, the areas allocated back at the dedication of both East Kempsey and Frederickton cemeteries had been fully utilised and no vacant burial plots remained. Now, with the availability of a newly designated Jewish Section at Frederickton Cemetery, Rabbi Ulman on behalf of the Sydney Beth Din is inviting members of the community to be present at this historic formal consecration on Tuesday, 2 July, 2013 at 11.00am at the beautiful setting on Yarrabandini Road, Frederickton.”

The 88-yr-old Auschwitz survivor will attend the dedication.

David Knoll said “The Jewish community living north of the metropolitan areas is growing and is extremely grateful to the Mayor and Kempsey Shire Council for their initiative in providing for our burial needs. Jewish people cannot be cremated, and so the provision of adequate burial space is of vital importance to us. We acknowledge also the empathetic and indeed exemplary cooperation we have received from Mrs Jennifer Colling on behalf of the Council and the leave of the Dunghutti people the traditional owners of the land on which we are granted permission to bury.”
The section will then be opened, with room for approximately 70 plots surrounded by trees and gardens.

Jenny Colling told J-Wire: “At one time, 13 cemeteries in the are had space allocated for Jewish burials but other denominations utilised whatever was available.

David Knoll added: “The need for the cemetery was identified after a study of current statistics including information we received from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.”



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