For more than 4,000 years, we have assumed the sacred responsibility begun by our ancestors to provide a place for the burial of our departed loved ones.
At B’nai Jeshurun, this obligation began when our congregation was founded in 1825, with a small plot for burials on West 32nd Street. In 1851, with our sister congregations Shearith Israel and Shaaray Tefilah, we purchased 12 acres of Brooklyn/Queens land to found Beth Olam Cemetery. Many prominent people are buried at Beth Olam, including Uriah Levy (founder of the B’nai Jeshurun Education Institute and the first Jewish commodore of the US Navy), Emma Lazarus, Benjamin Cardozo, BJ Rabbis Morris Jacob Raphall and Judah Magnes, and Sam Spiegel, producer of On the Waterfront and Lawrence of Arabia. Alongside these and other famous people, many generations of BJ families are buried there. BJ is now able to continue this tradition, having just confirmed the availability of two new sections of land with more than 200 burial plots at Beth Olam (an extremely rare find in the five boroughs, where no new cemetery land will ever be approved).
In addition to the new plots at Beth Olam, a generous benefactor donated a section of King Solomon Memorial Park in Clifton, NJ, to BJ, more than forty years ago, allowing new generations of our members to plan ahead for the eventualities we all face.
To that end, we encourage our community to explore the options available and to make arrangements before being confronted by the grief of loss. As we plan for the legal and emotional exigencies attendant to the end of life, we hope that the purchase of burial plots will be part of that effort, and that doing so in the context of our BJ community will bring comfort.