“From dust you are, and to dust you shall return”. Genesis 3:19
Over the past few years, a columbarium was built outside our sanctuary, near our stained glass windows, in the George and Lorry Cohen Memorial Garden. A columbarium is a place for the respectful and public storage of cinerary urns (urns holding a deceased’s cremated remains). It is a structure with recesses in the walls to receive the ashes of our loved ones. Temple Beit HaYam welcomes you and your loved ones to a tranquil place surrounded with the warmth of community. The columbarium is inclusive, welcoming, and affordable, offering traditional, non-traditional and interfaith families the opportunity to lay their loved ones to rest.
Our membership now has the option of choosing to house their cremains just outside of our building in our Memorial Garden. Here family members can visit, pray and reflect in a sacred space.
Traditionally, Jewish custom frowned on cremation. This was in response to the elaborate funeral pyres observed in pagan cultures. Judaism also teaches the idea of “from dust we are formed and to dust we will return,” meaning that it was not our choice as to how we came to be formed, nor should we act in our return to the earth. In very traditional circles, there was also the belief that in messianic times, the righteous would enjoy a bodily resurrection, and so the preservation of the body was mandatory.
In modern times, many choose cremation in lieu of a bodily interment. While this is not traditional, Reform Judaism respects an individual’s right to make the choices that are most appropriate for him/herself. Sometimes a loved-one may make choices that conflict with our sensibilities, and it is still appropriate to honor your loved-one’s wishes, even if they go against Jewish tradition.
A funeral home can arrange for cremation. When a loved-one is cremated, it is still appropriate to conduct a memorial service as part of the funeral arrangements.
In the George and Lorry Cohen Memorial Garden, niches are available for those who wish to reposit cremated remains.
Please contact Temple Administrator Noreen Tolman for further information.