JCANA Newsletter – Spring 2012

JCANA Newsletter – Spring 2012

Welcome to the new JCANA E-Newsletter!
Four yearly editions of the new JCANA e-newsletter will address issues of common concern to our members. To join our e-mailing list, please contact stankaplan@jcam.org.

An Introduction to JCANA
JCANA’s member organizations cross the denominational spectrum. They operate under the auspices of Orthodox, Conservative and Reform authorities. They are united in their goal of assuring each Jew a dignified burial in a well-maintained space. JCANA’s mission is to assemble, organize and share information which will ensure the preservation and maintenance of Jewish cemeteries across North America. Looking back, we are committed to preserving our sacred history by recording the locations of abandoned Jewish cemeteries. In the present, we are determined to prevent further abandonment and to educating the community about Jewish burial practices in accordance with Jewish tradition as well as about end of life issues. Looking forward, we anticipate new challenges to customary Jewish burial practices presented by Jewish acculturation into a secular society in a way never before achieved in Jewish history.

Why join JCANA?
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: rzuckman@cloverhillpark.org
For membership information, please contact: stankaplan@jcam.org

Let’s Share Information…
Do you have a marketing strategy to share with your peers? How do you market your cemetery to your community? Please send in your ideas to newsletter@jcana.org. They will be included in our next JCANA e-newsletter!

Save the Dates for the 4th Annual JCANA Conference
Sunday, June 3- Tuesday, 5, 2012 – New York City
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Jonathan Sarna
“Exploring Jewish History Through Our Sacred Burial Grounds.”

Dr. Jonathan D. Sarna, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University is also the Chief Historian of the new National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, Pa. In 2004, Dr. Sarna was included in the Forward’s list of America’s 50 Most Influential American Jews, and is recognized as a leading commentator on American Jewish life. In 2009, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Sarna will address the conference on American Jewish life, history and demographics since the great wave of immigration from Eastern Europe to North America from 1880 to 1920 as reflected in the cemeteries founded throughout the area by these immigrants.

Among other topics that will be addressed at the Conference are:
– Historic Preservation & Community Outreach • Jewish Ethics
– Maximizing your investments • Cemetery security initiatives

A visit to a local Jewish cemetery, Mount Hebron, is also on the program.
For more information and to register please visit https://jcana.org/conference.asp

This year’s conference is co-sponsored by JCANA and the Jewish Funeral Directors of America (JFDA), with additional funding generously provided by BNY Mellon Wealth Management.
Kosher dietary laws will be observed.

Spotlight: Mount Sinai Cemetery, Arizona
On 32 acres in the Arizona desert, Mount Sinai opened in February, 2005. All Jews are welcome, regardless of their denominational affiliation or lack of affiliation, including inter-married couples. Accommodations are made to respect different Jewish traditions and customs in the spirit of inclusivity.

According to General Manager Sandy Rife, Mount Sinai is a Jewish cemetery as it is “Jewish (privately) owned and operated, closed on Shabbat and all major Jewish holidays, graves face east-west towards Jerusalem, there are three washing stations and rabbis are consulted when necessary.”

One is first struck by the beauty of the physical space, surrounded by the Sonoran Desert, nestled in the valley created by the mountains. As a desert cemetery, with the specific challenges presented by sandy soil and a lack of water, Mt. Sinai is unique in design. Paved walkways in front of every grave provide the ultimate respect for the deceased as visitors can easily visit without stepping on a grave. Crushed granite ground cover and above ground granite monuments create a serene location in which to bury, and visit, a loved one. The outdoor pavilion at Mount Sinai provides a beautiful setting for a funeral or memorial service.

Mount Sinai has several sections. It has all- Jewish sections as well as a section for Jews and intermarried couples together. Another section is set aside for more “traditional” burials which follow all traditional burial practices and are officiated by an Orthodox rabbi. Mount Sinai does traditional side by side burial as well as companion burial- a double depth grave for two burials, one above the other. The cemetery has two private mausoleums but no community mausoleum. It also offers “estates,” spaces which are slightly set apart to provide something a little different from what is generally offered in other burial grounds. This affords a more private, unique setting in which there is room for a bench or yahrzeit lamp.

Ms. Rife strongly encourages pre-planning one’s burial arrangements in order to spare families the financial burden and difficulty of making these same decisions at a very stressful and emotional time. She considers pre-planning a “gift to one’s family.”

Toward that end, she is publicizing her relatively new cemetery in several ways, including having affiliations with eight local synagogues. She leads synagogue programs, submits articles to their newsletters and has an agreement that after a certain number of synagogue members are buried at Mount Sinai, the cemetery will make a donation to the synagogue.

To learn more about this JCANA member, visit their website, www.mtsinaicemetery.com

Bible Bit:
The first Jewish burial ever recorded is that of the matriarch Sarah’s, as described in the book of Genesis, chapter 23. Her husband, Abraham, weeps and eulogizes her, after which he purchases a “double cave” for her burial, the Cave of Hamachpelah ,from Ephron, son of Tzochar, in Hebron in the land of Canaan. This eventually becomes Abraham’s own grave site, as well as that of the other patriarchs and matriarchs, Isaac and Rebecca and Jacob and Leah. The midrash(commentary on the Torah) tells us that this is also the burial ground of the first couple, Adam and Eve. This sacred site can still be visited in Israel.