When a member of Sinai passes away, the bereaved family should first call the undertakers (Adrian Benson at Bensons) on 0113 276 0077 to speak with Adrian to make the initial arrangements. Cantor Rachel Weston, or a member of the Sinai community, will contact you too, or you can call the Sinai office (0113 2665256).
(If the office is closed, you will hear a message providing appropriate phone numbers)
Everything which needs to be done will then be set in motion – informing the Chevra Kadishah, (the Burial Society), a group of male or female volunteers who prepare the body, according to Jewish ritual, for burial, organising the time of burial/cremation, conducting the funeral and subsequent shivah (mourning) services, according to the wishes of the family.
Sinai offers a well-structured, supportive service at this difficult time. If you require any other help or advice please contact Sinai’s office.
Sinai offers the choice of burial or cremation. We maintain our own congregational section in the Harehills cemetery and there is the possibility of double-depth burials, meaning that two side-by-side plots do not have to be paid for. If a non-Jewish spouse wishes to be buried with a Jewish spouse this possible in Sinai Synagogue’s dedicated “mixed faith” section at Harehills. In this case, a double depth burial is mandatory and the funeral service must be performed by Cantor Rachel Weston. If you are considering this option, it would be advisable to discuss it with Cantor Rachel Weston before the need arises. Please understand that the co-officiation of non-Jewish clergy is not possible in our cemetery.
Ashes may be interred or scattered at the Harehills cemetery. Interring ashes will incur costs in addition to the actual cremation as a half plot is required for the interment. Scattering ashes does not incur additional costs.
Burials which take place on a Sunday are more expensive as the council charges double time.
Those interested in the option of “Woodland burial” have the option of the location of Cheshunt near London or nearer to home in the cemetery of the Bradford congregation. A Woodland burial allows members to be buried in an environmentally-friendly way. The coffin can be made of plain wood, bamboo or wicker which will decompose naturally. For further information on this, please visit the JJBS website.
How the burial scheme works
All full members of Sinai must be in the JJBS, the Joint Jewish Burial Society, a UK wide burial fund (not an insurance plan) for progressive and independent communities. Payment is made as part of the membership subscription to Sinai, who then pay JJBS.
When a Sinai member passes away, JJBS pays a flat-rate sum to the entitled beneficiary, through the synagogue. The amount of money paid will depend on when the member joined the scheme. If a member joins after the age of 50 the rate will be reduced, however it is possible to make a one-time payment to cover the shortfall. In most cases, even when the full amount is paid out, all the costs of the burial might not be covered and members will need to make alternative provision to cover the shortfall such as arranging for it to be covered through their will. The cost of a headstone is not covered. Members wishing to ascertain the current level of their cover, or wanting to make the one-time payment if they joined after the age of 50, should enquire in the office.
Members of the burial scheme can transfer to another synagogue, within the JJBS scheme, with no loss of rights, providing there is no break in contributions. If a member leaves and does not join a synagogue which is part of the scheme, all benefits will be lost. Burial rights apply to the children, under the age of 21, of full members. After the age of 21 they must be members in their own right to be covered for burial or cremation.
Here is a link to the Jewish Communities and Records page for Sinai burials.
VIDEO GUIDE TO DEATH & MOURNING
Here is RJ's (Reform Judaism) Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner introducing Jewish traditions and practices concerning death and mourning.