Shalom Aleichem JCANA Members,

First of all, I want to take this opportunity to applaud JCANA's outgoing and founding chair, Ralph Zuckman, who helped launch JCANA in 2008 and who set the course for JCANA's growth and development.

My first project as your new chairman was to propose a JCANA Code of Ethics which the Board of Directors voted to approve on July 12, 2012. This 12-point Code can be found on our web site ( Adopting the Code of Ethics is not a precondition for membership in JCANA, but we strongly encourage that these standards be affirmed to enhance member credibility and trust. A new “seal of quality” logo, which may be used on member literature and advertising, identifies JCANA members that pledge to uphold this important set of standards for cemetery management.

For more details on the JCANA Code of Ethics program, please contact Ralph Zuckman, Membership Chair, at

Let us work together to build on the past and chart a bright future for JCANA.

Kol Tuv,

Let's Share Information...

Are cremains buried or stored in your cemetery? Where and how? Please share your policy with other JCANA members by e-mailing Your responses will be included in our next JCANA e-newsletter.

As Toronto's Jewish population continued to grow during the twentieth century, its dozen cemeteries, the first dating back to 1849, were quickly filling up. In the late 1960's, visionary community leader Sidney Freedman concluded that soon there would be no more room for Jewish burials without investing in land for a new cemetery.

Mr. Freedman purchased the land that would become Pardes Shalom through funding obtained privately, as well as from a consortium of Jewish organizations, and a loan from the United Jewish Welfare Fund. Later, Pardes Chaim, was added, creating burial grounds for a total of over 120,000 graves. Board members were, and are, committed to providing a dignified burial to any Jew in an aesthetically attractive setting, believing that, as Executive Director Howard Mammon remarked, quoting Mr. Freedman, “A cemetery is not only for the dead, it is for the living as well,” a place to provide solace through the natural beauty of the landscape.

The entire Toronto-area Jewish community is represented in these cemeteries and plots are sold to synagogues, benevolent societies and other organizations including such disparate groups as the Bet Yosef Sephardic Congregation, Chabad Lubavitch, the Iraqi Jewish Association and the Jewish War Veterans of Canada. Rights to interment are also sold to individuals and after these costs and the actual interment fees are paid, there are no extra charges for grave maintenance except for monuments or flower gardens placed on the grave site. This has the effect of ensuring that all graves are kept in uniform, pristine condition.

Any Jewish soul may be buried in these sacred grounds as long as their Jewish status complies with the requirements of the Vaad Harabonim of Toronto (Orthodox) or the Toronto Board of Rabbis (Conservative and Reform.) Adhering to strict Jewish tradition, there are only in-ground burials, no mausoleums and no cremains are accommodated. Currently, 14,500 graves are full and about one half of all Jews who die in a given year in the greater Toronto area are buried in these Memorial Parks. William Draimin, President of the Board of Directors, emphasized that no deceased Jew is denied burial because of the inability of an estate or family to pay. In fact, this non-profit cemetery agency is so well managed that over the years it has been able to provide funds to the Jewish community for education, senior adult programs and other projects.

The Memorial Parks have a “L'Chaim Room” for on-site funerals and for collations following burials or unveilings. A Memorial Garden, founded in 2005, was dedicated in memory of a young man who was lost in a climbing incident, and whose body was never found. It is s a quiet spot to sit, grieve and remember. In the Garden, families can also purchase plaques to memorialize their loved ones who are buried elsewhere or for whom there is no known burial site.

The physical size of these cemeteries, the commitment to the physical beauty of the site, as well as the sense of responsibility to the entire local Jewish population makes Toronto Memorial Parks unique and worthy of imitation.

To learn more about this JCANA member, please see their website:

In the last issue of the JCANA newsletter, we asked our members: How does your cemetery bury inter-married, blended couples? Is the non-Jewish spouse buried with the Jewish spouse? These are the answers we received:

  • Spouses are buried side by side in the main part of the cemetery.
  • Spouses are buried together in a special section designated for this purpose.
  • Non-Jews are not buried in the cemetery as a matter of policy.

Although suicide is a prohibited among Jews, there are accounts of suicide, and assisted suicide, in the stories of two biblical leaders.

In the Book of Samuel, two differing narratives about the death of the Israelite king Saul are described. In one account, during his last battle with the Philistines, Saul does not want to be humiliated by being killed by his enemy so he kills himself by “falling upon his sword.” In the next chapter, David is told about the death of Saul by a young man who escaped the battle and who claims that, finding Saul in pain as a result of a self-inflicted injury, he, at Saul's request, inflicts the fatal blow.

In the Book of Judges, we learn that the great hero Samson caused his own death as he perishes along with his enemies, by bringing down the pillars to which he is chained, causing the building to collapse upon all who were inside, including himself.

Save the Date!
Please join us at the 2013 JCANA Conference, June 2-4, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario!

JCANA members are part of a large network of Jewish cemeteries, each of which faces similar challenges. By sharing information about common concerns, such as management issues, financial matters, government regulations, marketing strategies, relationships with local Jewish organizations and Jewish burial practices, we help each other maintain the most efficient and effective cemeteries to meet the needs of the Jewish community. Our members are experts in their field and their experiences can be drawn upon for illuminating and instructive perspectives. Your input, too, is valuable and JCANA's resources can make your job easier.

JCANA is reaching out to independent Jewish cemeteries throughout North America to join JCANA's ranks for the identification, preservation and continuity of Jewish cemeteries. We hope you'll join us.

For general information, please contact:
For membership information, please contact:

Make sure to visit our website: