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Burial Customs #general


Joseph Hirschfield
 

Infants were often buried in an allocated section of a cemetery. The back
section represents the least expensive plots in many cemeteries (poor
families couldn't afford better locations). If the child came >from an
indigent family, the plot probably would be located in the least expensive
area of the cemetery.

Often the tombstones were small and made of inexpensive sandstone. Sandstone
doesn't withstand weather and crumbles over time, so there may have been
tombstones at one time that are no longer apparent now. For boys who died
before their brit milah (at eight days old) and girl infants before a baby
naming, the tombstone would read, for example "Baby Girl Goldberg."

Joe Hirschfield
Portage, MI
HERZFELD, HIRSCHFELD, HIRSCHFIELD-Skwarzawa, Gliniany, Jaryczow
Nowy-GALICIA
MINOWITZKI, MINOWICKI, MINOFF-Brest Litovsk, Wysoko-Litovsk-BELARUS

In a message dated 5/29/2016 12:22:11 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
Gayle Schlissel Riley writes:
Earlier then 1930 my grandmother lost three sons, All are buried in the
back of the Jewish cemetery. With no tombstone. Why, no stone and in the
back of the cemetery? They had the RH factor, maybe not circumcised. My
father did not remember why in his later years but he did remember when
he joined the army. The burial was in an old Mt Sinai cemetery in L.A.

Can anyone help me understand why?


A. E. Jordan
 

From: Joseph Hirschfield
Infants were often buried in an allocated section of a cemetery. The back
section represents the least expensive plots in many cemeteries ...
Often the tombstones were small and made of inexpensive sandstone.
In the New York cemeteries (at least) you will also see sections set aside
for children within the society grounds. In part the grouping of children had
to do with the smaller size of the graves, so not to waste space they grouped
them or allocated smaller areas often to the back or the side of the main
burial areas. It also depends if the societies allocated areas to families or
if graves were by date or sometimes they would leave one space so spouses
could be together. In most of the society plots you will see they originally
also separated males and females with this custom being abandoned only in the
1910s or 1920s -- earlier if they were less Orthodox or trying to match the
assimilating culture.

Allan Jordan