The following guidelines conform to traditional Jewish practices and are lovingly recommended to all families in mourning.

Location: 222 Leverett Road, Shutesbury, between Pratt Corner Road and W. Pelham Road.

The overriding principles of Jewish funerals are simplicity and unadorned alignment with the processes of nature, therefore an all-wood casket is recommended and any arrangements of cut flowers are not considered appropriate.

The family of the deceased may wish to use the services of the JCA Chevra Kadisha (Sacred Society), whose function is to perform taharah, the ritual washing and preparation of a body for burial, in a traditional manner. At the end of taharah, the deceased is clothed in a simple, white linen shroud. It is a Jewish custom that a shomer (watcher over the deceased) remain with the body until burial. Shomerim are available from the JCA at the family’s request. Family members are invited to serve as shomerim if they so desire.

Ideally, Jewish funerals are held within 24 hours of death when circumstances permit. Delays beyond that time should be kept to the minimum convenient for family members to arrive from out of town.

Rules: The following rules govern all JCA funeral services and the use of the JCA Cemetery. While exceptions cannot be made, the rabbi and the Cemetery Committee are ready to explain the rationale behind each rule. Our intention is to show respect to the deceased and comfort to the bereaved, in accordance with the traditions of our people and this community.

  • Embalming and cosmetology are forbidden, except when required by law.
  • Cremated remains may not be interred in the cemetery.
  • If the body is donated to medical science, the remains may be buried in either the original section or the proposed green lawn section of the cemetery.
  • At least a part of the body must be buried in order to have a Jewish burial service.
  • The synagogue has sacred books (i.e. old prayerbooks) that must be discarded respectfully. The repository is called a genizah (Hebrew for “hidden away”). The burial of sacred books with the body is allowed and encouraged.
  • Only Jewish funeral religious services may be held in the sanctuary of the JCA.
  • Non-Jewish religious icons are not permitted on headstones or in the cemetery.
  • There will be no public viewing of the body.
  • A uniform headstone no bigger than a “2 foot slant” (2 feet wide, 10 inches thick on bottom, 3 inches thick on top and 1 foot 4 inches high) is to be placed at the gravesite, within a year of the burial.
  • Permanent plantings on individual gravesites are not permitted at the JCA Cemetery. Annuals may be placed at the gravesite if properly maintained. The JCA reserves the right to remove any plantings not properly maintained. All annuals must be removed by October 1.
  • Placement of flags at gravesites requires the approval of the Cemetery Chairperson.
  • The Cemetery Committee will determine appropriate locations for benches, shrubs, and ornamental trees.
  • The Cemetery Committee has final authority in all matters pertaining to the JCA Cemetery, and when necessary may revise the guidelines, cemetery rules, and financial rules with approval from the JCA Board.

Financial Regulations

1)        Members in good standing (hereinafter members) who have paid their dues for the three (3) consecutive years immediately prior to the year of purchase (hereinafter the standard) may purchase a single burial gravesite, sometimes also called a plot.

2)        The current fee is $630 paid in full. The JCA Board of Directors may alter this price at any time. The cost of a plot does not include excavation of the gravesite, cost of grave liner, or additional costs of excavation during the winter.

3)        The member, at the time of purchase, may choose the location of the plot within the area of the cemetery designated by the Cemetery Committee as available for sale.

4)        Members may purchase gravesites for their own use and also for others in their immediate family. The immediate family is defined as “member(s) plus dependent children under the age of 25 years”.

5)        Members also may purchase single burial plots for extended family members. The cost for each of these plots is currently $2,500. Extended family includes parents, children over the age of 25, spouses of said children, siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren. Extended family for this provision does not include cousins, aunts, uncles, or their spouses, or any other family relationship or close friend.

6)        Non-members may purchase a single burial lot. The current fee for each lot is $5,000. Such purchase can be made before or after the time of death.

7)        Members who resign from the Jewish Community of Amherst have the option to keep their gravesite or sell it back to the Jewish Community of Amherst Inc. at the price they paid for it.

Cemetery records are maintained at the JCA office.