The Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Cemetery is managed and maintained by the M.V. Hebrew Center as a consecrated ground for Jewish burials. Burial in the Cemetery is a benefit of membership in the Hebrew Center.
As a Jewish Cemetery, our aim is to adhere to Jewish law while supporting families in their wishes to stay together.
The Cemetery is supported by the membership of the Center, as the burial and perpetual care fees do not cover the cemetery costs.
Cemetery and Funeral Guidelines
WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU
The family of the deceased should consult with the Rabbi when death occurs. Call the office at 508-693-0745. If it is after hours there will be an alternate contact number on the answering machine.
There is one funeral home on Martha’s Vineyard, Chapman, Cole and Gleason. For those wishing a Hevra Kadisha (Jewish burial society) to prepare the body for burial according to Jewish tradi-tions, call the Rabbi for names of Jewish funeral homes off Island or for the phone number of an off Island Hevra Kadisha that can travel to the Island and work on the premises of the Island funeral home.
Funeral services led by the Rabbi may be held for members at the Hebrew Center or at graveside, at the Hebrew Cemetery or another cemetery on the Island. If the Rabbi is away, a qualified designee of the Rabbi will be available.
JEWISH FUNERAL CUSTOMS
We observe Jewish funeral customs in our sanctuary. Open caskets and/or flowers are not permitted. It is a Jewish tradition to give Tzedakah (charity) in memory of loved ones. We are encouraged to take any money that would be spent on flowers and give it to an organization that embodies the values of the person we are remembering.
Jewish law prohibits cremation and encourages a simple burial. GEN 3:19 “For dust you are and to dust you shall return.” If you have concerns about burial and are considering a cremation, you are welcome to discuss these concerns with the Rabbi.
If cremation is chosen, one can have a funeral service at the MVHC led by the Rabbi without the presence of the cremains in the sanctuary. If one chooses to bury the cremains, they can be buried in a special section of the Hebrew Cemetery without the presence of the Rabbi. The Rabbi may officiate at the gravesite once the cremains are buried.
Dues must be current. Family membership shall include one or two adults, married or life partners, one of whom must be Jewish, and may include minor and/or dependent children. On the death of the Jewish spouse the non-Jewish spouse may remain as a Member and be buried at the Hebrew Cemetery as a benefit of membership. If the non-Jewish spouse chooses NOT retain membership, they may still be buried next to their spouse, but would have to pay the non-member fee.
Ordinarily, one must be a member of the Hebrew Center for at least three years to be buried in the Hebrew Cemetery. Exceptions are sometimes made for compelling reasons at the discretion of the Cemetery Committee.
For a member, the right of interment fee is currently $2,000, minus a 10% reduction for each year of membership. After ten
(10) years of membership there is no fee for burial. Mandatory endowed care for the burial (“perpetual care”) is a one-time fee of $1,000.
Non-members may be buried in the Hebrew Cemetery at the discretion of the Cemetery Committee. The burial fee shall be $4,000, and the mandatory perpetual care fee is $2,000. All costs and fees are per burial, rather than for a specific plot.
Location of the gravesite is determined by the Cemetery Committee at the time of need.
A surviving spouse or family member who retains membership in the MVHC may request a gravesite adjacent to a deceased member by notifying the Cemetery Committee in writing within six months of the interment of the deceased member. Plantings other than in pots may not be placed at gravesites.
These must be supervised by a licensed local funeral director. Interment must take place between sunrise and sunset, not on Shabbat or holidays, as per Jewish tradition and laws. Religious services must be within the spirit of Jewish tradition.
We allow Green Burials also referred to as Traditional Jewish Burials and are welcome in the Hebrew Cemetery. Some of the guidelines include: no embalming or cosmetology is allowed; if a casket is used, it should be a plain pine box; shrouds must be biodegradable; cut flowers are not allowed; a biodegradable trundle may be used instead of a casket and cement liners are not used in a green burial.
MARKERS AND MONUMENTS
Immediately following interment, a temporary marker of non perishable material must be installed by the funeral director. A permanent grave-marker must be placed within one (1) year. The maximum height of a gravestone, including pedestal, will be three (3) feet and must be approved by the Cemetery Committee before installation.