Bayside cemetery Queens, NY #usa


Richard Gilbert
 

You said in your post yesterday that 
 
"My mother told me that the reason Max was buried in what she referred to as Brooklyn was that religious rules or customs mandated he be buried across water from where the death took place.
 
I think what your mother may have been referring to is the Jewish practice of locating cemeteries on the outskirts of the communities where they live.  This is because whilst the rituals surrounding death are very important in Judaism, life and the enjoyment of life is even more so.  
 
This comes from Deuteronomy (Devarim) chapter 30 verse 19 where Moses tells the Jewish people:
 
"I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life …" 
 
As a consequence of which, Jews have historically not sought to have man’s immortality staring at them as they go about their daily lives.  Life if you like, is for the living.  As a consequence it is rare to find a Jewish cemetery within the confines of towns and cities at least when they are first opened, unlike grave yards attached to parish churches.
 
In London, where I am from, most of the cemeteries currently in use are to be found around the M25 or just within the green belt just outside Greater London.  
 
Bushey, the town I live in, was in the countryside just on the outskirts of Greater London.  When I was a child the town was only known in Jewish circles for its cemetery which opened in 1946. But 50 years ago a community was established from the handful of families who had moved there because house prices were cheaper.  Now, it is the second largest community in the UK. The cemetery has grown but remains on the outskirts of our community. Bushey is built along the lines of several hills.  The cemetery is at the bottom of one those hills.  For this reason, when I am asked about the Bushey Jewish community I refer to it as being “alive & kicking at the top of the hill”.
 
Of course, there are always exceptions. The Jewish cemetery in Prague is next to the  Altneuschul and in Ramsgate, Kent, The Montefiore Synagogue has the mausoleums of Sir Moses and Lady Judith Montefiore right next door.
 
Good luck with your research.
 
Richard Gilbert
Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire, UK
 

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