Or Shalom Cemetery Background

This Rosh Hashana 5778, Or Shalom can celebrate a major milestone for our community. The vision has become a reality: finally, we have a cemetery! We can now, truly, offer cradle-to-grave services for our members.

In March, after four years of discussions with the City of Vancouver, Or Shalom signed an agreement for a small area within the historic Mountain View Cemetery (MVC). Our area is located along the west side of Fraser St. extending south from 33rd Ave.

While landscaping is not yet finished, a dedication ceremony is tentatively planned for October 15 with a reception at MVC’s Celebration Hall.  Details will be announced soon.

The Or Shalom area contains 64 lots (grave sites) –128 if shared– for purchase by Or Shalom members. Two individuals can share a lot. Or Shalom does not own this area; all rights for interment (burial) are purchased directly from MVC, and rates are set by the City. Purchase can be made pre-need or at-need in the case of unexpected death. Burial preparation normally will be provided by Vancouver’s community Chevra Kadisha.

Due to the small size of the area, our Board of Directors has established eligibility guidelines that limit purchase to those who have been members for at least 5 years and are currently members in good standing. Members can choose lots within a portion of the all-Jewish or interfaith sections of our area, and space also will be provided for cremains.

Working with a municipal cemetery has many advantages for Or Shalom, eliminating the need to buy land in our region’s inflated real estate market. MVC, dating back to Vancouver’s earliest days, remains the only cemetery within the city limits. A visit to the grounds reveals a fascinating review of the city’s past 130 years, with graves dating from the Gold Rush era, through two world wars and other military conflicts, various epidemics, and the developing growth of diversity in the city’s population. With its eastern boundary along Fraser Street — just down the road from Or Shalom– MVC seems a perfect location for our cemetery!

Recordings of April 19 Teaching – Halacha related to the Or Shalom Cemetery:

Part 1 – Rabbi Hannah’s Teachings

 

Part 2 – Rabbi Susan’s Teachings

 

For a text version of these teachings:

Teaching – Halacha related to Or Shalom Cemetery April 19 (1)

For further study:

Cremation in the Jewish Tradition by Rabbi Morris M. Shapiro

Burial-of-Non-Jewish-Spouse-and-Children by Rabbi Kassel Abelson and Rabbi Loel M. Weiss