The Kehillah’s cemetery is a two-acre pastoral landscape atop a gentle rise in the northeastern corner of Markham Memorial Gardens. This sacred Jewish burial ground hosts 400 burial spaces facing Jerusalem.
The cemetery has a stone entrance-way and two exterior stone water vessels for hand-washing. In the near future, the Kehillah will be cultivating the cemetery with natural plantings, resting benches, a gazebo for private meditation, and memorial plaques.
Throughout the Jewish people’s history of dispersion and wandering, one thing has remained constant. Wherever new Jewish communities were formed, the community first set about consecrating land for a cemetery. The priority placed on establishing cemeteries reflects the importance in the Jewish tradition of caring for the deceased and supporting the bereaved. Death in Judaism is seen as a natural part of the lifecycle, and the body is considered sacred even after death. We bury our dead as an act of the truest form of loving-kindness, chesed shel emet, as it is the one thing we do for another for which we can never be thanked or repaid.
Shortly after it was founded, the Kehillah established a cemetery section of its own—at Markham Memorial Gardens. Markham Memorial Gardens was established in 1981 by Mildred and Harold Markham as a 30-acre memorial park. This land was part of a 150-acre tract owned by the Markham family for more than a century and included the Markham Tobacco Farm and Miss Pittypat’s Riding Stables, run by Mildred Markham. Today, Markham Memorial Gardens continues to serve the area’s need through Mildred’s daughter, Mona Crawford. Markham Memorial Gardens provides burial spaces and perpetual care.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can non-Kehillah members be buried in the cemetery?Yes. We recognize the need for a Jewish burial ground and offer spaces both for members and non-members.
- Can non-Jewish spouses be buried in the cemetery?In keeping with the Kehillah’s value of inclusion, we offer spaces to Jews and their first-degree Jewish and non-Jewish relatives. However, headstones may not contain any religious symbols of or allusions to other faiths. Please contact the office for information about burial of relatives.
- Who officiates at funerals?Our rabbi is available for member burials and may be available for non-member burials. When the rabbi is not available, other local rabbis may officiate. Religious leaders of other faiths may be present at, but may not lead, a burial service.
- Does the Kehillah provide tahara (traditional rites for preparing the body)?The Kehillah has a Chevra Kadisha (Burial Society) which is able to provide tahara for Jewish members who will be buried in the cemetery.
- May ashes be buried in the cemetery?Ashes may be interred in the cemetery. If you are interested in this option, please contact the rabbi.
- Whom do I contact about cemetery spaces?Please call Mary at the Kehillah, 338-2696 or execdir AT kehillahsynagogue DOT org.
What are the costs associated with burial?
There are three types of fees associated with burial:
1. Cemetery Fees are set by and paid directly to Markham Memorial Gardens and are not transferable. The fee ranges below are based on Kehillah membership, timing of the service, and type of stone chosen, respectively.
Spaces, $2,695 + a one-time 10% perpetual care fee
Closing & opening of grave, $1,095-$1,295
2. Kehillah Fees are based on whether the space was pre-purchased and all fees paid in advance of an immediate need. The funds help pay for landscaping and improvements to the cemetery, staff time, and administrative costs.
Member: No charge
Non-member: $3,000; Non-member immediate need $4,000
3. Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund Donation is paid when the rabbi officiates at the funeral.
Kehillah Members, $550
Non-Kehillah Members, $750