Frequently Asked Questions*
Where is the Or Shalom Cemetery?
The Or Shalom Cemetery is part of Mountain View Cemetery (MVC) in Vancouver. The Or Shalom area is on the southwest corner of the intersection of Fraser Street and 33rd Avenue, north of the Old Jewish Section managed by Congregation Schara Tzedeck.
Does Or Shalom own the cemetery?
No, Or Shalom does not own the cemetery. It is owned and operated by the City of Vancouver. Or Shalom’s agreement with the City designates an area for Or Shalom members to purchase rights of interment.
What is a right of interment?
It allows the purchaser the right to be buried in a lot (burial/grave site) in MVC.
Who can purchase a right of interment?
Due to the limited size of our area, the Or Shalom Board of Directors has established eligibility requirements. To purchase a right of interment, you must have been a member of Or Shalom for five years and be a current member in good standing, defined as having paid dues by June 30 of the previous fiscal year.
Do these eligibility requirements apply to other family members?
No. Only one family member must be an eligible member of Or Shalom.
How do I purchase a right of interment?
MVC requires certification of eligibility from Or Shalom before the sale of any lot in our area. To request a certificate of eligibility, contact the Or Shalom office: 604-872-1614 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. After eligibility is confirmed, a certificate will be sent electronically to MVC. You can then go to the cemetery office at 5455 Fraser St. from 9-3 weekdays to complete the purchase. It’s best to make an appointment with MVC: 604- 325-2646.
How many lots does the Or Shalom area contain?
Our agreement provides space for only 64 lots. However, each lot may be shared by two people, essentially cutting the cost in half. Two people sharing a lot need not be related.
How much does a right of interment cost?
Rates for purchase, not including preparation, casket, marker or interment (burial) fees, are set by the City. For current rates, see City of Vancouver Mountainview Cemetery Schedule of Fees. Or Shalom doesn’t own, maintain or sell rights of interment.
What does the purchase price include?
The purchase gives an individual a right of interment (burial). The cost also covers a maintenance fee for upkeep of the area by MVC staff.
Do I have to pay the whole cost at once?
No. You may enter a payment plan agreement with MVC. You must provide a minimum of 1/4 of the total cost as a down-payment and can then pay the rest over up to 24 months without interest. You can pay with a credit card. The full amount must be paid before MVC will allow interment.
Can I purchase one-half of a lot?
At this time the City does not allow purchase of half-lots. You can, however, purchase a lot together with another person. In the future, it may be possible to purchase a half-lot, pending a proposed change in the City by-laws.
What if I don’t have someone with whom to share a lot?
You may contact the Or Shalom Office and leave your name with our Office Administrator. The office will keep a list of those who are interested in a shared lot. However, these individuals must make the necessary agreement between themselves.
Do I have a choice of lots?
Yes, within certain limitations. MVC is selling rights of interment in our area in two blocks of sixteen grave sites each. Once rights to those lots are sold, MVC will make rights to the rest of the lots available for purchase.
Can I transfer my right of interment to someone else?
You can transfer your right of interment to a family member either during your lifetime or through your will. MVC does not allow private sales of interment rights. If two people share ownership of the interment right, both of them must agree to the transfer.
Do the eligibility requirements apply to two unrelated purchasers sharing a lot?
Yes. Both must have been members for five years and be eligible members of Or Shalom at the time of purchase.
What happens if one person buys a right of interment for individual use and later decides to share the lot with someone else? Does that individual also need to be an eligible member of Or Shalom?
Yes, unless the person is the spouse or a child of the purchaser.
What if I was an Or Shalom member for five years in the past but let my membership lapse and am not currently a member? Can I still purchase a right of interment at this time?
No. You must also be a current member in good standing. If you rejoin Or Shalom, you would be eligible to purchase a right of interment after the next June 30th.
Am I expected to maintain my Or Shalom membership after I purchase a right of interment?
It is Or Shalom’s intent that you will remain an engaged member of the community.
Does the Or Shalom Cemetery have an interfaith section?
Yes, our cemetery includes both all-Jewish and interfaith sections. Separation of these sections will respect Jewish tradition. You must indicate your choice when requesting certification of eligibility.
I want to be cremated. Can my cremains be buried in the Or Shalom Cemetery?
Yes. You can select a space within a portion of the area that is designated for that purpose.
Who will prepare the body for burial?
Jewish as well as non-Jewish individuals will normally be prepared for burial by the Schara Tzedeck Chevra Kadisha, which provides this service for most other synagogues in the Vancouver area. The Chevra Kadisha sets preparation fees. There will be slight variations in preparation for Jews and non-Jews. In special circumstances, Or Shalom’s Rabbi and Cemetery Committee may waive that requirement. The Chevra Kadisha will not prepare individuals who are to be cremated.
Is there an option for green burial?
Yes, a small section of the area could be used by those who prefer to be buried with no marker; the lot will be covered only by plants or grasses. Jewish burial by definition is green, with embalming generally not allowed. All individuals will be buried in a biodegradable container– such as a simple pine or cardboard casket, reed basket or shroud– that conforms to MVC guidelines and Jewish burial customs. MVC does not require concrete liners.
Where could a funeral service be held?
A service could be held at Or Shalom, the Schara Tzedeck chapel in New Westminster, the Celebration Hall at MVC or at the graveside.
Who will officiate at the funeral?
Funerals will be officiated by the Or Shalom Rabbi, the Rabbi’s designate, or a rabbi of the deceased’s family’s choosing. Non-Jewish clergy may attend but may not officiate.
Can I choose a headstone/marker?
We plan to have uniform markers with an attractive design unique to Or Shalom. We are working with MVC on a style that minimizes cost and allows for easy maintenance by cemetery staff.
I want to be buried in the Or Shalom Cemetery but can’t afford it.
We hope to create a fund to which people can contribute in memory or in honour of loved ones. The money collected will be used to offset the cost of purchase of interment rights in appropriate circumstances. Together with the Rabbi, the Cemetery Committee will make that determination when necessary.
*Responses will be updated as new information becomes available.