Reprinted with permission from the Temple Beth Israel Chevra Kaddisha,42 W. 25th Ave., Eugene, Oregon 97405, 541-485-7218

New Jewish Cemetery Dedication

Sunday, June 30, 2002

            Members of Temple Beth Israelís Chevra Kadisha, and other volunteers, have been working for about three years to create a second Cemetery for the Jewish community.   This new area lies on a forested hillside within the Eugene Masonic Cemetery (EMC).  Rabbi Yitzhak will lead the ceremony to consecrate the new cemetery on Sunday, June 30, at 11am.

            TBI has had an excellent relationship with Rest-Haven Memorial Park for about half a century. We continue to maintain our close contact with Rest-Haven, where many members of our community are buried.  With the creation of the new Jewish section at EMC, we now have a choice between two wonderful - and quite different - cemeteries.

            There are differences in the landscape styles of the cemeteries and in the policy about who may be buried in each.  Rest-Haven is a lawn cemetery.  It offers a rolling sweep of smooth grassy slopes. The EMC offers a forested setting with many trees and wild flowers.  EMC permits us to bury without using concrete liners, which are mandatory at Rest Haven.  Also, at the EMC, burial can take place on a Sunday if needed.

            Rest-Havenís Jewish section, established in the 1950ís, honors the values and intentions of its founders.  This means that Jews only may be buried within the area.  Due to the changing demographics of the Jewish community, the increasing numbers of non-Jews in Jewish families, we have been using the borders of our Jewish section at Rest-Haven to accommodate those burial needs: the Jewish person buried within the Jewish section, the non-Jewish family member adjacent but technically outside the Jewish section.  It was the fact that we were running out of border spaces that stimulated the search for a second Jewish cemetery. 

            At our new cemetery at EMC, a member of a Jewish family - whether that individual is formally Jewish or not - may be buried within our section, providing they are willing to be buried under TBIís updated policy.   This policy states that any burial within the Jewish section of EMC must be officiated by TBIís clergy or clergy-appointed lay funeral leader, using Jewish or neutral liturgy.  It further states that grave markers may not display symbols of a religion other than Judaism.  For those families where the non-Jewish family member is actively observing another religion, there are ample burial spaces outside but near the Jewish section.

            In order to maximize our use of the Jewish area at EMC, the cemetery has made available to us grave sites that are slightly smaller than that elsewhere at EMC. (They are about the same size as those at Rest-Haven).  With the smaller size, the price of graves is diminished by 20%.  Currently the cost of a grave site in the EMC is $1,000, but in the Jewish section the cost is $800.  For the first 50 buyers, EMC is charging a special incentive price of $700.  TBI charges an additional nominal $50 fee, which is tax-deductible as a donation.  This money goes into a special fund, administered by the Chevra Kadisha, for the purpose of assisting with the funeral /burial costs for indigent Jews. This $50 fee will be charged on all gravesites sold at the EMC Jewish section, during the $700 special and later.  In the future, if the cost of gravesites at EMC goes up, we will still be charged a 20% lower rate for graves in the Jewish section.

            The Eugene Masonic Cemetery front gate is at 25th and University.  There are several other entrances to the south and east.  It is a short stroll to the new Jewish Section.  Please join us for the dedication service at the new section at 11:00 a.m. on June 30th. 

            For questions, feel free to call Libby Bottero or Irwin Noparstak.  For purchase of graves, come to the TBI office to initiate the process and to make the $50 donation. Once you have done that, call Kay Holbo (of the Eugene Masonic Cemetery Association).