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Temple Emeth of Chestnut Hill dedicates new Jewish cemetery

Posted by Leslie Anderson  June 8, 2012 01:27 PM

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Pat Freysinger
The Or Emet cemetery in West Roxbury will be dedicated Sunday.

The first traditional Jewish cemetery to open in Boston in many years will be dedicated during a consecration ceremony at 9:15 a.m. Sunday in West Roxbury.

The Or Emet cemetery, located on Baker Street near other Jewish burial grounds, is owned by Temple Emeth of Chestnut Hill, which has been working on making this project a reality for the past two years.

“This happened with the support of the temple and tremendous support of the Jewish community,” said Temple Emeth Treasurer Harvey Albert.

He said market research was done with the cooperation of area Jewish undertakers to make sure there was still a need in the greater Boston area for a traditional cemetery, where everyone buried at the site must be of the Jewish faith.

“The need is still there for a traditional Jewish cemetery,” Albert said. “We get many, many calls from people who want their families buried nearby.”

Temple Emeth owns and operates another traditional Jewish cemetery just down Baker Street that is filling up, so work was begun on the newer site to make it suitable for burial, according to Albert. He said the temple has owned the land for 60 years.

“There was an enormous piece of rock, it wasn’t a flat site where we just had to plant grass,” he said. “The rock was then crushed and mixed with soil and put back in the site,” he said.

It is now ready for burials, which can begin after the consecration is complete on Sunday.

Sunday morning's dedication, which is open to the public, will begin with a prayer by Rabbi Alan Turetz of Temple Emeth and will include music by Cantor-Educator Michael McCloskey and Sheryl Schwartz, a historical perspective given by Albert and Cemetery Building Committee Chairman Peter Shapiro and a dedicatory walk.

Stanley Kaplan, executive director of the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts, said this is the first conservative cemetery to open in Boston in many years.

Ellen Ishkanian can be reached at eishkanian@gmail.com.

cemetery2.jpg
Pat Freysinger
A great deal of site work was needed before the Or Emet cemetery could be built.

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