Report on the 4th Annual JCANA Conference
The JCANA Conference held in New York City on June
3-June 5 was attended by cemetery and funeral directors from across the
United States and Canada, including California, Michigan, Maine,
Virginia, and Ontario. The sessions provided information and
opportunities for participants to share ideas and to network. Among
other subjects, practical topics included "Cemetery Accounting Best
Practices," "Ask the Lawyer" and "Maximizing Return on Cemetery
Investments." Topics specifically related to Jewish themes included
"Exploring Jewish History through Our Sacred Burial Grounds," "Jewish
Ethics" and "Historic Cemetery Preservation and Community Outreach." On a
field trip to Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Queens, participants had a chance
to meet with, and learn from, the dedicated staff which continues to
maintain this old, yet active, cemetery at a very high standard.
JCANA's mission is to create a community with common
practices and goals, partnering with peers to exchange information and
ideas towards the ultimate goal of creating and maintaining dignified
Jewish burial grounds.
We look forward to having representatives from even more organizations join us next year at our annual conference in Toronto.
For more on the conference, please visit our website: www.jcana.org
Let's Share Information...
How does your cemetery bury inter-married
couples? Is the non-Jewish spouse buried with the Jewish spouse? Are
they buried together in the main part of the cemetery or in a section
designated for this purpose? Please share your policy with other JCANA
members by e-mailing email@example.com. Your responses will be included in our next JCANA e-newsletter.
More than three generations of Jewish families, dating to 1918, have been buried in Clover Hill Park Cemetery,
located in Birmingham, Michigan. It may be said that the history of
Jewish Detroit can be traced as one walks through the gates of this
cemetery as well as those of Beth Olam Cemetery (aka The Smith Street
Cemetery), over which Clover Hill has guardianship, where graves date
back to 1848.
Clover Hill was founded by Congregation Shaarey Zedek, a
synagogue affiliated with the Conservative movement. Although Jews of
all affiliations are welcome, burials and policies conform to
Conservative Jewish practice. This includes the policy of having no
above-ground burials, and requires that blended families in which a
member is not Jewish according to matrilineal descent (or was not
converted to Judaism according to Conservative guidelines) are buried in
a specially designated area in the cemetery. Since Conservative Judaism
emphatically discourages cremation, cremains are buried in the earth in
a separate section divided by shrubbery from the rest of the cemetery.
Clover Hill does outreach to synagogues and Jewish
organizations in the Detroit area. Each year its staff hosts a Memorial
Day event for ninth and tenth grade students from the local day school.
Students come to the cemetery to meet with, and speak to, veterans of
World War II as well as the wars in Korea and Viet Nam and to place
flags on the graves of veterans throughout the cemetery. Clover Hill
also holds a pre-High Holiday service led by a rabbi who teaches from
the Torah, gives a sermon and leads prayers. All are welcome, those
whose loved ones rest nearby, and anyone else who wants to connect to
their past and to their heritage at this important time of the Jewish
Clover Hill's website (www.CloverHillPark.org)
is notable for its on-line listing of all the names and dates of death
of its occupants as well as its comprehensive description of Jewish
mourning and burial practices, a valuable resource for anyone interested
in the topic.
In the last issue of the JCANA
e-newsletter, we asked our members to share marketing strategies. Here
are some of their suggestions:
- Create affiliations with local synagogues. Visit and
speak about Jewish burial practices, end of life issues and
pre-planning. After a specified number of members of an individual
synagogue are buried by the JCANA member, make a donation to the
- Send postcards to those on your lists about pre-planning funeral and burial costs. Follow up with phone calls and appointments.
- Target the 55+ age demographic.
- Invite the public to see the grounds, pointing out special features of the cemetery.
- Use a designated part of the grounds for on-site
funerals and memorial services which has the benefit of introducing
visitors to the cemetery.
- Place ads and articles in local Jewish newspapers.
Jacob the Patriarch spent his last years
in the land of Egypt, having fled famine in the land of Canaan (later,
Israel) to the country in which his son Joseph was a viceroy in the
court of the Pharaoh. As his death neared, he blessed each of his twelve
sons and made them promise to return his body to his homeland
and bury him in his ancestral vault. This emphasizes the human need to
be buried with one's people and the Jewish mandate to be interred in
ground set aside for, and sacred to, Jews. JCANA members honor Jacob's
promise by burying his descendants in Jewish cemeteries consistent with
ancient Jewish burial rites, with the dignity all souls deserve.
JCANA's member organizations cross the
denominational spectrum. 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.
JCANA is committed to the identification, preservation, and continuity
of Jewish cemeteries as well as educating the community about Jewish
burial practices and end of life issues in a Jewish context.
Our 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.
For general information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For membership information, please contact: email@example.com
Make sure to visit our website: www.jcana.org