Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Har Menuchot, Givat Shaul, Jerusalem, Walls of Graves

Yesterday I was at a funeral in Har Menuchot, Givat Shaul, Jerusalem. Unlike the usual noontime summer funeral, we didn't bake in the heat, nor get sunburned. After the ceremony in the airconditioned hall, we got into vehicles and traveled to the newly constructed graves.


 Yes, constructed; it's a building with wide, long corridors decorated by graves stacked four high. 


Each wall is labeled/coded to indicate which floor, section and level, so that the grave can be easily located. Yes, these are today's and tomorrow's graves. People can still request and pay more for an outdoor grave in more natural dirt, rather than the soil added by the Chevra Kadisha, but in a small country like Israel, where land is limited and expensive, these graves make more sense. If you believe in ecology and "saving the earth and natural resources," this type of cemetery is what you should request for yourself.


While walking down the long corridor, following a friend to her "final resting place," I couldn't stop mentioning how lovely it looks. As you can see in the photos, people have found ways to decorate and individualize the plaques. 

The older "stacked" section of Har Menuchot, Givat Shaul, Jerusalem is much less attractive. They remind me of "office drawers" in some archive. But this new section is actually lovely in the way that the Military Cemetery in Mount Herzl is attractive, though this one is indoors and Mount Herzl is a well-tended garden.


Apparently the administration of Har Menuchot, Givat Shaul, Jerusalem is constructing kilometers of buildings like these instead of wasting the Holy Land on the dead rather than the living.

2 comments:

Natalie Levine said...

Gee,requires a reset for burial. Reminiscent of Ikea square bookcases. Am familiar w option of being interred on top of, rather than next to, one's partner. But this feels radical. Can one witness burial in any way? Do all rabbeim consider it halachically appropriate? Thx, Batya - much to ponder. Best, Natalie

Batya said...

There were plenty of rabbis there.