Or Shalom Cemetery Policies

Or Shalom Area Policies
Revised March 2, 2020

The Reserved Area Agreement with the City of Vancouver states:

  1. The City agrees to convert the Or Shalom Area for use for a maximum of 64 burial lots.
  2. Upon the conversion of the Or Shalom Area … the City agrees that all rights of interment in respect of all lots within the Or Shalom Area will be reserved exclusively for purchase by members of the Synagogue and that it will not sell any right of interment in respect of any lot within the Or Shalom Area to any person without the written approval of Or Shalom.

This agreement gives Or Shalom (OS) sole authority to approve purchase of interment rights in the Or Shalom Area (OSA) of Mountain View Cemetery (MVC). The policies below govern how the OSA will be managed.

Use: The OSA in MVC will be used exclusively for burial of members of Or Shalom, their partners and dependent children (A dependent child is either a child under age 19 or an adult child who depends primarily on an OS member for financial support). A lot may contain the remains of one or two individuals.

Burial sections: To be as inclusive as possible, the OSA will consist of two contiguous sections: one exclusively for Jewish burials and one for multi-faith burials. Non-Jewish members of Or Shalom, their partners and dependent children and Jewish members, their Jewish or non-Jewish partners and dependent children may be buried in the multi-faith section. Separation of these sections will respect Jewish tradition. Cremains may be buried in a designated section adjacent to the OSA.

Purchase of rights of interment (burial): An individual may purchase the right to be buried in the OSA directly from MVC once the Or Shalom Cemetery Committee has granted approval in writing. The specific lot location is chosen at the time of purchase. Or Shalom will not maintain or sell rights of interment or lots. If two eligible members intend to purchase a lot for their joint use, they will make financial arrangements directly with MVC. Effective January 2020, eligible members may purchase half-lots individually.

In the event that two unrelated individuals wish to purchase rights of interment in one lot, both must be eligible members of Or Shalom (defined below) at the time of purchase. In the event that an individual meets eligibility requirements and purchases burial rights for their exclusive use and at a later time decides to share the lot with another related or unrelated individual, the second individual must also satisfy Or Shalom eligibility requirements in order to be buried in the OSA of MVC.

Transfer of rights of interment: Transfer or assignment of rights of interment to individuals other than the purchasers will be subject to Or Shalom and MVC guidelines.

Eligibility: To purchase rights of interment in the OSA of MVC, an individual must be a member in good standing of Or Shalom at the time of purchase and have been a member in good standing for at least five years in total. According to the Or Shalom bylaws, a member in good standing is an individual who has been a member since the preceding June 30.

Graves: Uniform markers, as approved by the Or Shalom Cemetery Committee, will be used in the OSA. There will be some flexibility in the allowable text. Non-Jewish burials will conform to Or Shalom policies. Markers must not display non-Jewish religious symbols.

Preparation for burial: Jewish individuals will normally be prepared for burial by the Chevra Kadisha, in accordance with Or Shalom and Chevra Kadisha standards. Under extenuating circumstances, the rabbi in consultation with the Or Shalom Cemetery Committee may waive the requirement of Chevra Kadisha preparation. Preparation fees are set and paid directly to the Chevra Kadisha. (These fees may be pre-paid in advance of need). The Chevra Kadisha, the rabbi or the cemetery committee will assist in arranging the preparation of non-Jewish individuals by referring them to an appropriate funeral home.

Burial: Individuals will be buried in a casket or other biodegradable container that conforms to MVC guidelines and Jewish burial customs (e.g., simple pine or cardboard casket, reed basket or shroud). MVC does not require concrete vaults and these will not be allowed in the OSA. MVC is responsible for interment, marker placement and maintenance. Burial fees and marker placement fees are set and paid directly to MVC; maintenance fees are included in the purchase of the right of interment.

Funeral Services: Funeral services may be held at Or Shalom, the Schara Tzedeck chapel in New Westminster, the Celebration Room at MVC or at graveside. In the latter case, the funeral and burial service may be combined. All funerals, both Jewish and multi-faith, 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, at a funeral in the OSA.

Cemetery Committee: A permanent Or Shalom Cemetery Committee, appointed by the Or Shalom Board of Directors, will ensure these policies and guidelines are implemented and are current. It will resolve any conflicts arising from their implementation. The Or Shalom Cemetery Committee will determine eligibility and authorize MVC to sell interment rights to eligible individuals. The Or Shalom Cemetery Committee, in consultation with the Or Shalom Board of Directors, will have the final authority to resolve disputes.