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Congregation B'nai Israel Cemetery: Frequently Asked Questions

The passing of a loved one is a traumatic experience that can be compounded by the stress of arranging a funeral without any prior preparations or instructions from the deceased.  Here are some Frequently Asked Questions, so that CBI members can consider their own preferences to instruct loved ones if planning to be buried at the CBI Cemetery.

Where is the CBI Cemetery?
The cemetery is located on North King St, Northampton, approximately 1.2 miles north of the intersection of Bridge Road, King Street, and Damon Road.  It is on the right-hand side of the road.  You can either park on the street or drive into the cemetery.

Who can be buried in the CBI Cemetery?
- Jewish members of CBI
Jews who are family members of CBI members
- Jews who are not connected to CBI membership in any way
- Non-Jewish individuals who are members of CBI and part of a family that includes or included a Jewish adult. These individuals are buried in the Interfaith section of the cemetery, and Jewish members of the family can be buried with them.   

What is the current cost for CBI members to be buried in the CBI Cemetery?
An Individual Member in good standing for 5 years or more is entitled to a single plot in the cemetery at no cost. With a Family Membership an adjacent site is reserved at no cost for a spouse or partner. Members of fewer than 5 years pay a prorated fee found in the fee schedule.
In the case of adult or child dependents within a Family Membership, space is reserved for member parents in the case of burial for a child.

What is the current cost for a site if I am a member but want to have a non-member Jewish relative buried in the cemetery?
There is a $4,000 fee for each plot.

What is the current cost for the site if I am Jewish but have no connection with CBI and wish to be buried in the CBI cemetery?
There is a $10,000 fee for each plot.  

What if a former member wants to be buried in the CBI Cemetery?
There is a former member fee listed in the schedule.

Are there additional costs?
There is a cost of $1,200 for excavation (opening and closing of the site).  This is paid by the CBI Cemetery Committee and the direct cost is passed on and billed to the family after 30 days, along with any other costs due as described above. Weekends or frozen ground can add to that $1,200 fee, and whatever the fee from the excavator, is billed to the family.  A current one-time fee of $750 is billed for maintenance; this includes landscaping, mowing, plowing and all groundskeeping care at the cemetery.

Do I still need to contract with a funeral home?
The CBI Cemetery Committee is responsible for locating and preparing the site for burial, but a funeral home provides required permits, transport and a casket for the deceased. If you do not contract with a funeral home, you must comply with all permit regulations regarding burial in Northampton, as well as complying with Tahara (see below).  You must consult with the CBI Cemetery Committee.

How do I choose a funeral home?  What funeral home should I choose?
You can use a funeral home of your choice.  Ascher Zimmerman is a Jewish Funeral Home in Springfield.  It can advise you on various Jewish funeral-related issues, and it arranges for Tahara with the Springfield Chevra Kadisha. Some members use non-Jewish funeral homes in the area, which is fine as long as they will allow our Chevra Kadisha to come into their workroom to perform Tahara prior to burial.  See below.

Who prepares the deceased for Jewish burial (Tahara)?
The CBI Cemetery requires that all Jewish deceased be prepared for burial, called Tahara, by a Chevra Kadisha group. A Chevra Kadisha group from CBI will prepare the deceased for Jewish burial when the funeral home is local and non-Jewish.

Ascher Zimmerman uses a Chevra Kadisha in Springfield and has a charge for this service. They will also contract with a non-Jewish funeral home to provide this service.

At this time, CBI has separate male and female Chevra Kadisha groups, so that Tahara is performed by a group of the same gender as the deceased. If you choose a non-Jewish funeral home, they must agree to let our Chevra Kadisha into their workroom to conduct Tahara.

Can I reserve a specific plot?  Or do I have to take the next available space in the cemetery?
There is no cost to take the next in-line location along the row being filled.  There is a $500 fee, for members and non-members alike, to choose a specific plot in advance.  

What if I wish to be cremated?
Cremated remains cannot be buried in the CBI Cemetery.

If a loved one passes away, who do I call first to get the funeral/burial process in motion?
Call the CBI Office and call the funeral home of your choice. The office staff will notify the Rabbi who will contact you; and will notify a member of the Cemetery Committee, who will also contact you. The Rabbi will offer consolation and help you plan the timing of the funeral and Shiva.  The Cemetery Committee will explain logistics and discuss options for burial and the costs; if you don’t know what funeral home you want, the committee member can help you with recommendations.

How soon is the funeral after death?
As soon as possible, but this is determined in consultation with the Rabbi and the funeral home. Within Jewish tradition, burial should be within 24 hours of death, but given our modern realities of family travel and logistics, burial at CBI is typically within 72 hours of death.

Once the funeral has passed, what do I do to get a headstone put in place and when?
You can contact any monument company.  They need to follow specific guidelines that a member of the Cemetery Committee can give them. The Cemetery Committee has a list of monuments companies and their contact information.  A headstone is usually placed within the year.

What other obligations does the family have post-burial?
The Cemetery Committee provides perpetual landscaping.  If there is damage to the stone due to ground shifting, settling, etc., it is the responsibility of the Cemetery.  But if damage is due either to improper installation or other non-landscape issue, the family is responsible for the cost of repairs.

Who do I contact if I want to prepay my funeral and burial costs?
For prepayment arrangements, contact Carol Katz.  The Committee can collect your prepayment, provide you with documentation for your records, and document it in the cemetery records so that you will only have to pay the excavation costs at the time of the funeral.
For funeral costs, contact a funeral home to make arrangements.  Massachusetts funeral homes are allowed to establish funeral trusts, traditional or preneed insurance policies or annuities, or separate irrevocable bank accounts on behalf of those who wish to prepay their funeral expenses.

If a local non-member or a former member wants a Jewish burial locally, are there less costly alternatives?
The Hebrew Burial Society Cemetery adjacent to the CBI Cemetery is currently an option.  Also, some other Jewish cemeteries in the area are open to non-members. For more information on the adjacent cemetery, contact Bob Raymond at 413-627-9870. If a non-member chooses a cemetery other than CBI’s, they will not be able to receive support from the CBI staff or Cemetery Committee, and having a Rabbi conduct a service can be arranged separately and privately. 

CBI Cemetery Committee:
Ron Ackerman, Co Chair                     
Scott Barton, Co Chair               
Carol Katz, Sec/Treasurer               
Susan Mosler
Edward Allen
Lew Rosenthal
Kevin Hale

CBI Executive Director:
Emily Kieval

Memorial Plaques

Congregation B’nai Israel has a permanent large bronze display in the lobby with individual plaques in memory of former family and friends who have died. Each plaque contains as well a yahrtzeit light that is turned on at the anniversary of the person’s death.

If you have not arranged for a bronze plaque for a loved one, we invite you to do so now. The one-time cost is $500, which includes installation and perpetual maintenance. An order form is attached which you can complete and return to CBI. If you have questions about the Hebrew lettering or any other part of the form, feel free to contact the staff for assistance.

To order a plaque, please complete and return this form to the CBI office. Please direct any questions you may have to our office.

Mon, March 4 2024 24 Adar I 5784