Thursday, August 11, 2011

New HFBA Videos

We're proud to announce the debut of two new HFBA videos.
Hope you enjoy. Please feel free to leave us comments.





Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Talleisim Needed


Dear Friends,
Due to the increase in people the Hebrew Free Burial Association has been called upon to bury this year, we currently have a shortage of Talleisim on hand.  Sadly, our numbers are up over last year's, and last year was our busiest year in the past 10 years.

If your synagogue has any Talleisim that are not being used and could be spared to help HFBA perform our important work, please send them to:

Mount Richmond Cemetery
420 Clarke Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10306

Please include a note with your name and address so we can properly acknowledge the donation.

Thank you for your continued support.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Don't Cremate

A recent article on msnbc.com asked the question, "Did Winehouse's funeral violate Jewish law?"  The answer sadly is that since Amy Winehouse was cremated, that was a violation of Jewish law and tradition.  Our bodies were born into this earth whole, and when we pass, they are to be returned to the earth whole as well.

What can we do to prevent more cremations from occurring?  The most important thing is to let our wishes be known, preferably in a legal document, that when we pass away, we want to be buried and not cremated.  Then, we need to discuss our choice with others, and let them know that we hold burial to be sacred.  Engage friends who may not know that cremation is against Jewish law.  Tell your children that cremation is wrong.

There is much work to be done on this front, but it is important to take sad stories in the news, and use them as teachable moments in the fight against cremation.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

On March 1, HFBA remembered the 22 victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire who were buried in Mount Richmond Cemetery.  A moving video was produced of the event which can be seen below.


To read media accounts of the ceremony, please visit http://www.hebrewfreeburial.org/TriangleFire.htm

On March 25, we're holding another ceremony, to coincide with the anniversary of the fire.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cemetery Clean-Up Project FAQ

Q:  What is the Cemetery Clean-Up Project?
A:  HFBA established the Cemetery Clean-Up Project to ensure that Silver Lake Cemetery, their first, is properly maintained.  Volunteers perform the mitzvah of chesed shel emet, doing a kindness that cannot be repaid, helping maintain the cemetery.

Q:  What do the volunteers do?
A:  Volunteers rake leaves, clear downed branches, and remove other debris from the cemetery.

Q:  I’m concerned about my children being in a cemetery.  Should I be?
A:  Not at all.  Another by product of the Cemetery Clean-Up Project is to properly educate students about Jewish burial rites, in an age appropriate manner.  We teach students that cemeteries are not intrinsically scary places, and that our history needs to be remembered and respected.  Over 1,000 volunteers participate each year in the program, with ages ranging from two years old to the mid nineties.

Q:  What supplies are needed?
A:  HFBA provides gloves, rakes, and bags.  If you wish to bring your own additional supplies, you are welcome to do so.

Q:  Where can I learn more about the Hebrew Free Burial Association and the Cemetery Clean-Up Project?
A:  Please visit our website, www.hebrewfreeburial.org to learn more.  You can watch our short video, as well as visit the volunteer section on the site.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Blessing Said at a Cemetery

The following blessing is said when one hasn't seen a Jewish grave in the past thirty days.


ברוך אתה יהוה, אלהנו מלך העולם, אשר יצר אתכם בדין, וזן וכלכל אתכם בדין, והמית אתכם בדין, ויודע מספר כלכם בדין, והוא עתיד להחיותכם ולקים אתכם בדין. ברוך אתה יהוה, מחיה המתים


Blessed are You, Hashem, our God, King of the universe, Who fashioned you with justice, nourished and sustained you with justice, took your lives with justice, knows the sum total of all of you with justice, and will restore and resuscitate you with judgement.  Blessed are You, Who resuscitates the dead.

אתה גבור לעולם אדני, מחיה מתים אתה רב להושיע. מכלכל חיים בחסד, מחיה מתים ברחמים רבים, סומך נופלים, ורופא חולים, ומתיר אסורים, ומקים אמונתו לישני עפר. מי כמוך בעל גבורות, ומי דומה לך, מלך ממית ומחיה, ומצמיח ישועה. ונאמן  אתה להחיות מתים 


You are eternally mighty, my Lord, the Resuscitator of the dead are You; abundantly able to save.  He sustains the living with kindness, resuscitates the dead with abundant mercy, supports the fallen, heals the sick, releases the confined, and maintains His faith to those asleep in the dust.  Who is like You, O Master of mighty deeds, and who is comparable to You, O King Who causes death and restores life and makes salvation sprout.  And You are faithful to resuscitate the dead.

This translation is from The Funeral and Cemetery Handbook by Rabbi David Weinberger and Rabbi Jacob J. Schachter and published by Mesorah Publications, ltd.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Honor Guard

Last week, HFBA buried a veteran of the United States Navy.  The man passed away without any family of friends.  When the Public Administrator authorized us to perform the burial, they insisted that the man be accompanied by a Naval Honor Guard.

With volunteers in attendance to make the minyan, the funeral took place in 2 stages, first the naval honors followed by a traditional Jewish funeral.  For those in attendance it was an amazing sight, to see how much dignity and respect the Naval Officers showed the deceased.  It is a true lesson for all of us, and should inspire us to maintain proper respect and decorum at all funerals that we will attend.